Universal Credit prompts arrears fears
We're urging any of our tenants affected by Universal Credit to get in touch.
The warning comes after national media reports of additional hardship, and increased rent arrears, faced by those claiming Universal Credit.
Universal Credit replaces separate benefits, including housing benefit, with one single monthly payment made directly to claimants. There have been reports of delays in the first payment being made.
Our Income Manager Andrea Morley fears tenants could easily fall into arrears if they don’t ask for advice.
She said: “In places where Universal Credit has been rolled out it’s been reported that almost a quarter of claimants had to wait six weeks to receive their first payment. This means they fall behind on bills, resulting in debt, rent arrears and, in some cases, eviction. We want to avoid this.
“In August 2017, we helped 173 tenants with financial advice, but sadly we also made four evictions in that month. This is expected to increase as Universal Credit is rolled out further which is why we want to try and help people before they risk getting into difficulty.
“We offer financial support to all our tenants, from assisting with benefit claims to providing information around budgeting and prioritising debt. We’ve also been preparing and talking to other agencies and housing associations where Universal Credit has been rolled out, to take advice from them.”
Tenants who claim Universal Credit, can let us know here.