- Published: Friday, 14 February 2014 09:57
The District Council’s‘don’t struggle – ask!’ service hopes to help the increasing number of residents who are running into financial difficulties due to the changes in the benefits system.
Welfare spokesmen for the Council, Councillors Clive World and Tony Duff, say the authority is working to give struggling residents as much help as possible through these very difficult times.
“We are making changes to the way we process claims for a key housing grant – our discretionary housing payments, “ said Councillor World.
“Applications for these DHPs are normally dealt with by the Housing Benefits team but from November 11 we are going to enable other Council departments to process applications.
“By increasing the number of ways DHPs can be claimed we are hoping to speed up the processing time – a target of seven working days has been set.”
He said that claims for a DHP will be possible through the Landlord Service and Housing Options team, as well as through the Housing Benefits team.
Councillor Tony Duff added: “We are concerned that many of our residents who are struggling financially are not aware of DHPs or are put off by the time taken to get their application processed, hence this new campaign – Don’t Struggle - Ask !”
DHPs can only be claimed by people in receipt of housing benefit but there are no other fixed rules about who can apply or how they can be used. However, there does have to be genuine hardship and a need for assistance. The amount of DHPs which can be claimed is flexible and the help that can be given can range from help with moving to a smaller home through to helping to prevent homelessness. Applicants for the grant need to provide all the information in a timely manner in order to help speed up the application process.
To make an application residents are asked to
· Pop into a Council Community office in Richmond, Colburn, Reeth, Leyburn or Hawes
· Phone 01748 829100 for a claim form
· Apply on-line at Richmondshire.gov.uk and then follow the links to Service Directory – advice / benefits / local taxation - benefits