Advice For Moving House When On Benefits

moving house when on benefitsThere can be many reasons for moving home. It could be that you want or need to be closer to family members, or that you are moving because you need a larger property to house a growing family of your own. Alternatively, it could be that your financial position has resulted in a need to downsize, or that you wish to move to an area where you are more likely to find a job, or even that you are having to move because of your job. Whatever the reason, it could be that the person moving is also claiming benefits of one kind or another, and this in itself can add complications to the moving process. Here is our guide to moving house when on benefits.


How Moving Home Can Affect Your Housing Benefit

Official government statistics show that just over five million people claimed housing benefit in the year 2013-2014. It’s an essential payment that helps people who have low incomes, or who are out of work, pay rent and keep a roof over their heads. The amount of housing benefit paid depends upon the local housing allowance set down for each individual local authority, and is broadly based upon the market value of rental property in that area. Therefore, moving to areas where rent is either higher or lower will impact upon the amount of rent that you get paid. New legislation also means that the amount of people living in a property can be taken into account. This rule, commonly known as the bedroom tax, means that housing benefit can be reduced if the property includes unoccupied living quarters. For this reason, moving to a property on your own can also lead to a reduction in the housing benefit that you can claim.


Protecting Your Housing Benefit When Moving Home

If you receive housing benefit, it’s essential that you inform your new local authority of this fact as soon as the move takes place, or ideally before the move takes place. You will need to complete a change of address form, and supply proof of your new address and proof of your rental agreement; a signed tenancy agreement is usually the best way to do this. It’s always worth remembering that housing benefit does not necessarily pay all of the monthly rent, especially if you rent from a private landlord, as the local authority will assess the rentable value of the property as well as taking into account any dependants and the amount of income a claimant has. This is known as means tested housing benefit, so it can be worth checking with the new local authority beforehand how much you are likely to receive.


Moving House While Receiving Disability Benefits

Disability benefits are an essential way of ensuring that people are supported by the state if their particular disability makes it difficult for them to obtain paid employment. Whilst there has been pressure from the government to reduce the number of people claiming disability benefits, and a gradual replacement of Disability Living Allowance with the new Personal Independence Payment, there are still more than 3.2 million people claiming these benefits in the United Kingdom. These benefits can be essential to help a claimant enjoy an acceptable standard of living, so it’s important that any delay in receiving benefits when moving home is kept to a minimum. Once again, it’s essential to contact the Department of Work and Pensions before the move, giving them as much notice as possible. You may also be able to claim disabled facilities grounds if changes need to be made to the property to facilitate your particular disability. Further advice on this aspect of moving into a new home can be obtained from your local Citizen’s Advice Bureau.


Planning For Your Move

Thorough planning is always an important part of the moving process, but especially so if you’re moving house when on benefits. The most important thing to remember is that you should inform the local authority that you’re moving to, or the DWP, as soon as you have the address of your new rental property confirmed. Don’t wait until after you’ve actually moved in. There may inevitably be a short delay in receiving benefits caused by your move, so if possible try to save a little money to help you through this transitional period, or seek help from friends or family.