With winter just around the corner, it’s good to get prepared for the colder weather. If you’re worried about being able to afford fuel throughout winter, there are energy grants and discounts available that can help. Take a look at our news story for more information.Read more here
We know that there may be times when you run into financial hardship or may simply need some support. Some of the free and impartial services we offer are:
You can get in touch with our dedicated in-house team at FinancialWellbeingTeam@moat.co.uk
Loan sharks are opportunistic, exploiting those in need and lending money with extremely high interest rates. Our team are working towards a partnership with the Illegal Money Lending Team (IMLT) and can help to identify and report loan sharks, so contact us if you are worried you or someone you know might be the victim of a loan shark.
You can also head to stoploansharks.co.uk to confidentially report any concerns.
With people facing loss of income or reduced hours during the pandemic, it's good to know what benefits and support are available to you. If you need help claiming Universal Credit, watch this handy video to get you started.
We've put together some of our frequently asked questions which you may find useful.
Universal Credit replaces six different benefits, (including Housing Benefit) combining them into one, single monthly payment.
Customers of working age who receive these benefits will be moved to Universal Credit eventually. It will be paid monthly in arrears to the customer from the start of the claim, usually into your bank, building society or credit union account. If the payment includes an amount for housing costs, you'll need to arrange for your rent to be paid to us. We will also ask you to set up a payment agreement to get your account back into credit over time, to comply with the terms of your tenancy agreement or lease. For more detailed information about Universal Credit, visit www.understandinguniversalcredit.gov.uk/for a step by step guide and tutorial videos.
We have a team of experienced staff ready to help and give guidance if you claim Universal Credit or simply want some more information. You can email firstname.lastname@example.org or give us a call. Watch this video on how much Universal Credit you may be entitled to.
Before you submit your claim for Universal Credit you should visit www.gov.uk/universal-credit and read through the guidance on the website.
Gather together information about your income and employment status as well as your housing situation, including details of anyone else who lives with you. We recommend you locate your most recent rent increase letter so you can upload your rent and service charge costs when you apply. Once you have completed your claim, this will begin your first assessment period. During this time you will be able to log on to your journal and discuss with your work coach if you might need an advance if you are suffering from financial hardship. Be aware you will have to repay this so you must make sure you can afford the repayments.
Your first Universal Credit payment will be deposited into your bank account exactly one month and one week after your claim. Please make a note of this date so you can contact Customer Accounts and set up a direct debit to pay your rent each month. For some customers, moving to Universal Credit can be daunting, so if you have concerns or need advice then please give us a call on 03003230011 and we will be happy to help.
If you have recently experienced a relationship breakdown and a partner has left the property then it can have an effect on how much Universal Credit will pay towards the Housing Costs.
If you have a joint tenancy but a single claim for Universal Credit then you can be affected by something called an ‘untidy tenancy’ where Universal Credit only pay 50% of your housing costs. This is something that can be easily rectified, you just need to let Universal Credit know that although you still have a joint tenancy you are still liable for 100% of the rent.
If you are unsure of what to do then please contact Moat and we can send you wording to upload onto your Universal Credit Journal and this should rectify the problem.
If you still receive Housing Benefit and are of working age you will be moved to Universal Credit if you have a change of circumstances or as part of a ‘managed migration’ programme by the DWP.
As Housing Benefit and Universal credit are paid in arrears you may be asked to set up a payment agreement to get your account back into credit over time, to comply with the terms of your tenancy agreement or lease.
If you are not of working age you should continue to receive Housing Benefit for as long as you are entitled. There are some other exemptions relating to severe disability premiums and supported accommodation which mean you can claim Housing Benefit so please contact us if you are unsure.
You may be entitled to claim certain benefits. The calculator at www.Turn2us.org.uk is a useful tool for working out the benefits you're due.
You will get Cold Weather Payments if you’re getting certain benefits and only if the average temperature in your area is recorded as, or forecast to be, zero degrees Celsius or below, over seven consecutive days.
You’ll get £25 for each seven-day period of very cold weather, between 1 November and 31 March, paid into the same bank account as your benefit payments, around 14 days later.
Get more info here: https://www.gov.uk/cold-weather-payment
You could get £140 off your electricity bill for winter under the Warm Home Discount Scheme, if you qualify.
There are 2 ways to qualify for the Warm Home Discount Scheme:
• If you get the Guarantee Credit element of Pension Credit
• If you’re on a low income - and meet your energy supplier’s criteria for the scheme
Your electricity supplier must be signed up to the scheme for you to apply and the number of discounts suppliers can give are limited.
The money is not paid to you - it’s a one-off discount on your electricity bill, between September and March. Your electricity supplier will apply the discount to your bill by 31 March 2021.
If you are a new customer and your rent account has fallen immediately into arrears this is usually because you are claiming housing benefit or Universal Credit to help cover the cost of your new home. Both of these benefits can take several weeks to be processed and will be paid in arrears. It is important that you submit your claims for these benefits as early as possible and notify the customer accounts team when this has been done.
If you cannot find the money up front to clear the rent that you owe please contact our Customer Accounts team, we may be able to make a payment agreement depending on your circumstances. Please do pick up the phone and call us on 03003230011 and we can help.
You may be able to join a credit union for savings and affordable loans. You can find your local credit union here: www.findyourcreditunion.co.uk
Please don’t be nervous. It is really important for our customers to engage with us. If you experience any change in circumstances which mean you are unable to pay your rent then please contact us as we are here to help. We can discuss options available to you such as applying for benefits and can even refer you through to our Financial Wellbeing Team for further assistance.
There is a lot of help and guidance available. Here are some useful websites:
https://www.turn2us.org.uk/ has a useful benefit calculator and a grant search page.
https://www.stepchange.org/ is great for debt advice and information.
https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/ is a resource for help with legal advice and support.
https://adviser.moneyhelper.org.uk/en is a government funded scheme to help refer people for debt advice in their local area.