More families with children will now be able to get help towards paying their rent, thanks to new changes to benefit rules Thurrock Citizens Advice Bureau said this week.
The CAB is urging parents who receive child benefit and rent their homes but who at present get no housing benefit to check their entitlement again.
It has worked out that a single parent with two children, for example, who previously just missed out on getting any help towards paying the rent could now be entitled to housing benefit of up to £21.58 a week.
The rule change also means some parents already receiving housing benefit will automatically see the amount they are entitled to go up, and more people will also become eligible for help in paying their council tax bills.
The extra money will be available to help all tenants with children, whether they live in council housing, housing association property, or private rented accommodation.
It comes about because from Monday 2 November income from child benefit will no longer be taken into account when it comes to calculating entitlement to housing benefit and council tax benefit.
CAB manager Mike Rawlings said: “We are seeing more and more families struggling to make ends meet and finding it increasingly hard to afford to pay their essential household bills, including their rent.
“Our calculations show that this change in the rules could make a huge difference to them. We would urge all parents in rented accommodation who are not at present getting any housing benefit to contact us or the council’s housing benefit department as soon as possible to find out if they qualify for this much-needed extra help.”
The bureau, a local charity, has advice sessions in Grays, Chadwell St Mary, Tilbury, Stanford le Hope, Surestart Centres and GPs surgeries throughout Thurrock.