BENEFITS EXPERT: Financial help may be at hand to support cost of moving home

Q. I am a lone parent with two children. I am moving house next month and I am worrying about paying for a removal van and other expenses that I know will creep up. I haven’t been able to save up as I only get Income Support and Child Tax Credit. Is there anything the Jobcentre can do to help me?

By Lance Fuggle
Friday, 8th July 2022, 6:00 pm
People could be eligible to apply for a Budgeting Loan from the Department for Work and Pensions Social Fund to help with the cost of moving home.
People could be eligible to apply for a Budgeting Loan from the Department for Work and Pensions Social Fund to help with the cost of moving home.

A. If you have been claiming Income Support for six months then you would be eligible to apply for a Budgeting Loan from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) Social Fund.

A Budgeting Loan can be paid for removal expenses, furniture and household goods and clothes, etc.

A budgeting loan is an interest free loan from the DWP.

You cannot owe more than £1,500 to the Social Fund and loans generally have to be repaid within two years.

The lowest amount you can borrow is £100 and the most is dependent on your circumstances – £348 for single people, £464 for couples and £812 if you claim Child Benefit.

Funds are limited so you may be turned down and there is no formal appeal process, but you can request the decision is looked at again, especially if you believe relevant information was not made at the time of the claim and this information may change the initial decision, for example health issues, you may be moving due to issues of domestic abuse, etc.

You should also see if assistance may be available from your local council, most local authorities will operate a discretionary housing payment scheme.

Typically this is used when you have a rent shortfall, for example a bedroom tax deduction and you apply for help to meet the additional costs due to an extra bedroom(s).

However, the schemes often offer help for removal costs, rent in advance, tenancy deposits, etc.

This will differ from local authority to local authority so it may not be available for your council but it is always worth checking as a possible form of additional assistance or if your Budgeting Loan application is refused.