Help for housing benefit claimants

People who claim housing benefit who have suffered from the recent changes in welfare reform are being urged to apply for a Discretionary Housing Payment (DHP).

East Dunbartonshire Council is now contacting eligible council and housing association tenants.

The move follows a decision at a council meeting on June 26, to ensure that everyone affected by the “bedroom tax” who applies for a DHP will receive full assistance for this reduction, in line with the Scottish Government’s revised approach.

The council previously applied financial assessment to applications to target DHP funds at those with greatest need.

That assessment is now being removed for all applicants affected by the removal of the spare room subsidy, and they will receive a DHP if they apply for one.

Around 316 East Dunbartonshire residents who are affected by this housing benefit reform, but have not yet received a DHP, have been identified and will be contacted to notify them of the change and to urge them to submit an application.

Councillor Rhondda Geekie, leader of East Dunbartonshire Council, is keen to ensure that no-one will lose out.

She said: “This payment is designed to help alleviate poverty, helping claimants through personal crisis and difficult times, so it’s crucial that we take a proactive approach to ensure that there is knowledge of this change in policy and what it means in practical terms.

“However, while we can raise awareness and provide advice and guidance, the application must come from the tenant themselves.”