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When everyone has a home

028 9024 5640: Housing & Debt Helpline for Northern Ireland

ADVISER: Helping Ciaran keep his home after redundancy

Housing Rights adviser Amy recently helped 28 year old Ciaran. Ciaran struggled to meet his rent payments after being made redundant.

Sudden change in income

Ciaran lived in private rented accommodation, he had been working full time when he took on his tenancy and was able to fully cover the rent himself.

However, circumstances in his workplace changed, and unfortunately Ciaran was made redundant. Ciaran applied for jobseekers and housing benefit to help him with his living costs until he found new employment.

Housing Benefit didn’t cover the rent

Ciaran got in-touch with us after his Housing Benefit was awarded and he couldn’t understand why this was so low. Because Ciaran is single, and under the age of 35yrs, he was only awarded the shared room rate of Local Housing Allowance which is £42.15p/w. This was not enough to cover the rent on Ciaran’s home. This would mean the majority of his Jobseekers Allowance would go on meeting the rent shortfall to avoid eviction.

Income Protection in Housing Benefit regulations

As Housing Benefit regulations allow for an income protection element in the event of a sudden change of income, Amy queried the amount Ciaran has been awarded with the Housing benefit department at the Housing Executive. As Ciaran could afford the rent when he first moved into his flat, and he had not claimed Housing Benefit in the last 52 weeks, Amy argued that he actually should have received the full rent paid for under this income protection criteria for 13 weeks before reverting to the Local Housing Allowance Rate.

With Amy challenging this on Ciaran’s behalf, the Housing Benefit  assessor confirmed he had overlooked this element. Ciaran payments were subsequently updated to reflect this and it meant he received his full rent of £103pw instead of the £42.15pw.

Ciaran now has a few months where he can focus on securing alternative employment without the added stress of trying to meet his monthly rent payments, accruing arrears or facing the threat of eviction from his home.

Paying for your home in redundancy

It's important to plan your future if you're going to be made redundant.  If you're a homeowner you should speak to one of our advisers to find out what you can do to avoid running up debts on your mortgage or rent payments.  Start planning how to deal with your redundancy by using this tool from the Money Advice Service

You can call the Housing Rights helpline, Monday to Friday from 09:30 to 16:30.

Tagged In

Benefits, Regulation, Practical tips, Affordability, Adviser

Author

Frances McGrath