Advice needed! (Housing) — Scope | Disability forum
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Advice needed! (Housing)

TylerB1984
TylerB1984 Member Posts: 1 Listener

Hey everyone!

I've never done anything like this before for one reason or another, but hopefully someone can spare some time to give a little advice as I really don't know where to make a start.

Basically I'm looking to see if it's possible I can get my own flat as I live with my Mother and her husband in what's a pretty toxic environment. I've put up with it for a long while now but I really feel I can't close my eyes and hope everything turns out okay any longer. I've been getting ESA and PIP benefits for a while now. I have a number of issues, and I'm also autistic, so I don't understand these things, how they work, very well to say the least. Is it possible for people on these benefits to even look for a place to live of their own? If so, where is the best place to make a start? I'm worried that if I don't do something very soon I'm going to end up homeless sooner rather than later. In the last couple of years I've lost my Father and both of my Grandparents, and don't have any other family that live anywhere close to the area I live, so I don't really have anywhere or someone else to fall back on.

If someone could point me in the right direction that would be very much appreciated. Obviously down the line I would like to work again, but know I have a long road ahead to try and deal with my health anxiety and panic disorder before I can even really contemplate earning a living for myself again. My mental health is in a pretty dark place at the moment and I'm really at the point where I need to try to do something to help myself before I really give up all hope.

Many thanks!
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Comments

  • calcotti
    calcotti Member Posts: 3,072 Disability Gamechanger
    edited June 10
    I cannot offer practical advice about finding and being accepted for a tenancy. However, if you do find somewhere to rent, be aware that if you want help with the rent you will need to claim Universal Credit. This would end your income based ESA. If some of your ESA is contribution based that would continue but would be deducted from your UC. PIP is not affected.

    The maximum amount of help you can get with your rent will, if you are renting privately, be restricted to the one bedroom Local Housing Allowance for the postcode
    https://lha-direct.voa.gov.uk/Search.aspx
    Information I post is for England unless otherwise stated. Rules may be different in other parts of UK.
  • mishelley3275
    mishelley3275 Member Posts: 3 Listener
    I would suggest that given the situation at home if you approached the local council and explain your circumstances they would be able to prioritise you for a suitable property. I am not sure if your age but most councils have bungalows suitable for the elderly and disabled likewise. With you being in ESA as I am you should receive full housing benefit and full council l tax benefit. I also get PIP and this does not affect these benefits. I am also able to get discount on my water rates under The Big Difference Scheme. 
    Hope this helps
  • Tori_Scope
    Tori_Scope Posts: 6,145

    Scope community team

    edited June 10
    Welcome to the community @TylerB1984 :) I'm sorry to hear about the difficult living situation you're in. Are you safe living with your mother and her partner at the moment? I appreciate that the situation is toxic, and that this will have had an impact on your mental health, so agree with you that it's important you get your own place. If you're in danger, there is help out there.

    Are you getting any support for your mental health at the moment?

    I hope that calcotti's advice on benefits will help. You can rent whilst on benefits, but you might need to take another look at the benefits you're on. Have you ever considered moving to universal credit?

    What's made you worried that you might become homeless? Is it because you don't feel as though you can stay where you are for much longer?

    You could apply for council housing, or you could look to rent privately. Have you had a look online for flats available in your area? Unfortunately, not all landlords will rent to benefits claimants, so that's something you might need to check with them if you go down the private rental route.

    This gov.uk page explains that
    You apply for council housing through your local council.

    Each council has its own rules.

    You’ll usually have to join a waiting list and you’re not guaranteed to get a property. Ask your council how long you’re likely to have to wait.

    You can apply if you’re 18 or over (some councils let you apply if you’re 16 or over).

    Councils decide who gets offered housing based on a ‘points’ or ‘banding’ system.

    Points and bands are based on housing need. For example, you’re likely to be offered housing first if you:
    • are homeless
    • live in cramped conditions
    • have a medical condition made worse by your current home
    Once you’re high enough on the list, your council will contact you about an available property.

    Do you feel able to look into the possibility of council housing?

    You'll also need to have a think about energy bills. Try not to worry about this too much for now but, when the time comes, you could benefit from accessing Scope's Disability Energy Support service.

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  • calcotti
    calcotti Member Posts: 3,072 Disability Gamechanger
    With you being in ESA as I am you should receive full housing benefit and full council l tax benefit. 
    New claims for Housing Benefit cannot be made unless it is Supported accommodation or temporary accommodation. That is why I have already advised that if help with rent is needed a claim for UC will likely be required - which will end income based ESA. 
    Information I post is for England unless otherwise stated. Rules may be different in other parts of UK.
  • mishelley3275
    mishelley3275 Member Posts: 3 Listener
    I am new to this so I am not sure how to reply directly to people but whether some Councils may differ as I have been advised that if I stay in the same area as my current housing situation I would be able to continue to claim for housing benefit at a new property under ESA but if I choose to move out of my current council boundary then I would firstly need to change into Universal Credit of which my housing benefit payments would be automatically attached. I was also advised by Universal Credit that changing over to them from my current ESA would be immediate as it’s not a new claim but a replacement of the existing one. I don’t know maybe I’m wrong. 
  • calcotti
    calcotti Member Posts: 3,072 Disability Gamechanger
    .. I have been advised that if I stay in the same area as my current housing situation I would be able to continue to claim for housing benefit at a new property 
    That's correct if you have an existing HB claim. You only mentioned ESA and PIP in your opening post so I inferred that you were not claiming HB (especially as you are living with your mother).
    mishelley3275 said: I was also advised by Universal Credit that changing over to them from my current ESA would be immediate as it’s not a new claim but a replacement of the existing one. I don’t know maybe I’m wrong. 
    If you did claim UC the income based ESA (and any HB) would stop two weeks after the UC starts. What they probably meant is that your ESA work capability status would transfer across from the start of the UC claim (subject to any administrative delays).
    Information I post is for England unless otherwise stated. Rules may be different in other parts of UK.

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