Finding support when you need it most

News Date: 
Wednesday, November 21, 2018

With Universal Credit live in Northampton for all new applicants, we'd like to share support that is available if you are struggling to pay your rent.

Many new benefit claimants of working age will receive Universal Credit over the coming months. The benefit brings together six benefits including job seekers allowance, child tax credit and housing benefit in one monthly payment.

Hear about NPH Tenant Jane’s story and the support she received from Support Officer Jonathan.

Jane first received Universal Credit when it went live for single applicants. She lost her job in caring and applied through her Job Centre Coach. To cover the wait for her first payment she also took out an Advanced Payment through the Government. The advance is paid back in stages each month out of the money you receive from Universal Credit. She quickly realised that the advance payments were leaving her with little money each month to pay the rent and her utility bills.

Jane said: “It was very difficult [time]. Just the basics were hard to pay. Things weren’t going too good. I got into rent arrears. I was borrowing money from friends and family. I felt embarrassed and quite depressed…”

NPH approached Jane to discuss the support available to her. This is where she met Jonathan, Support Officer who works in our Rent Income Team. Jonathan’s job is to support tenants who are struggling to manage their money. He does this sensitively and confidentially, helping people to budget and make sure they are getting the most out of the income they are receiving each month.

Jonathan worked closely with Jane throughout her claim for Universal Credit. He has helped her claim for Discretionary Housing Benefit to help pay the rent, reassess her housing and negotiated with the Department for Work and Pensions a reduction in her Advanced Payments so they are less each month, but drawn over a longer period of time. This has helped Jane relieve her initial troubles paying the rent, and budget for the payments each month.

Jonathan also helped reduce the energy tariff in her home by contacting the utility company on her behalf to negotiate a better deal. This has helped Jane to get her finances back on track and given her confidence to manage the regular payments.

NPH’s preparations for Universal Credit

We understand that making contact early on during the application for Universal Credit will be really beneficial for tenants who need this kind of help and support. We will be contacting every tenant to talk though any issues they may have with rent payments as soon as we are notified of a Universal Credit claim.

For every tenant having difficulties managing money, Our Rent Income Team made up of 15 people, offer advice to manage rent payments. This also includes Jonathan as part of our support team who are on hand for one to one support at home. Their support ranges from giving money advice, money saving tips and talking to bill providers on their behalf, if necessary. They will also apply on the tenant’s behalf for any unclaimed benefits they can receive.

Contacting our Rent Income Team

If you are worried about managing your money at home and paying the rent, please get in contact. Our Rent Income Team are here to help.

Phone us on: 0300 330 7003

Agencies you can contact for help and support

For more information on Universal Credit and benefits:

For more information on banking: