Are you eligible for Discretionary Housing Payments?

Photograph Jamie Forbes 16.10.14  East Dunbartonshire Council Headquarters 12 Strathkelvin Place  Kirkintilloch.
Photograph Jamie Forbes 16.10.14 East Dunbartonshire Council Headquarters 12 Strathkelvin Place Kirkintilloch.

Anyone struggling to pay their rent, and who is in receipt of Housing Benefit, is being urged to find out if they are eligible for Discretionary Housing Payments.

Welfare Reform changes have meant that from April last year, council and housing association tenants in receipt of Housing Benefit and deemed to have one or more spare bedrooms, have had their housing benefit reduced.

Discretionary Housing Payments are a temporary, time-limited payment that can be made to those in receipt of Housing Benefit to help them to adjust and manage their finances to be able to meet rent commitments in the future.

East Dunbartonshire Council leader Rhondda Geekie is keen for residents to seek out the support on offer.

She said, “Any of our residents who receive Housing Benefit and who can evidence that their financial circumstances make it difficult for them to make rent payments as a result of the changes in benefits, may well be eligible for the Discretionary Housing Payments that are available.”

Some residents have struggled to adjust to the changes in welfare benefits, however, there are various forms of help on offer from East Dunbartonshire Council and through organisations such as the East Dunbartonshire Citizens’ Advice Bureau (CAB).

Councillor Geekie says she understands the impact the changes are having on people and is urging residents to address their change in circumstances rather than getting into debt

She added: “It is really important that anyone who is struggling to meet their rent charge seeks help urgently to see what support is available.

“Discretionary Housing Payment is just one type of support and there are others in terms of Welfare Reform Advisers both in the council’s housing service and through other independent organisations such as CAB.

“We do not want people to ignore a debt situation which may lead to further action being taken. There is help available and advisers can talk through the options available to anyone who finds themselves in difficulty.”

For more advice you can contact the council’s customer services on 0300 123 4510 and CAB can be contacted on 0141 775 3220.

As well as being able to telephone the council and CAB, help can be arranged at:

Kirkintilloch Community Hub, William Patrick Library, Kirkintilloch

Bishopbriggs Community Hub, Bishopbriggs Library

Bearsden Community Hub, Brookwood Library, Bearsden

CAB Office, 11 Alexander Street in Kirkintilloch