Benefits Advice and Advocacy

A low take-up rate of tax credits by the Chinese has been recorded by the UK Government. However, with proper advice and support, the ethnic Chinese can make choices and access mainstream benefits to help relieve them from poverty.

We can help you to apply for:

Housing Benefit

You may get Housing Benefit if:

  • you pay rent;
  • you’re on a low income or claiming benefits;
  • your savings are below a certain level – usually £16,000.

You can apply for Housing Benefit whether you’re unemployed or working.

Housing Benefit can pay for part or all of your rent. How much you get depends on your income and circumstances.

Council Tax Reduction

You could be eligible if you’re on a low income or claim benefits. What you get depends on:

  • where you live;
  • your circumstances (eg income, number of children, benefits, residency status);
  • your household income, including savings, pensions and your partner’s income;
  • if your children live with you;
  • if other adults live with you.

Your bill could be reduced by up to 100%.

You can apply if you own your home, rent, are unemployed or working.

Working Tax Credit

  • You could get Working Tax Credit if either of the following applies:
  • you’re aged from 16 to 24 and have a child or a qualifying disability
  • you’re 25 or over, with or without children

You must:

  • work a certain number of hours a week
  • get paid for the work you do (or expect to)
  • have an income below a certain level

You can apply for Working Tax Credit even if you don’t have children or you’re on leave or about to start a new job.

Child Tax Credit

You could get Child Tax Credit for each child you’re responsible for if they’re:

  • under 16;
  • under 20 and in approved education or training.

You don’t need to be working to claim Child Tax Credit.

You get money for each child that qualifies and Child Tax Credit won’t affect your Child Benefit.

Healthcare / Carer’s Allowance

You could get Carer’s Allowance if you care for someone at least 35 hours a week and they get certain benefits.

You don’t have to be related to, or live with, the person you care for.

You won’t be paid extra if you care for more than one person.

Pension Credit

Pension Credit is an income-related benefit that comes in two parts:

1. Guarantee Credit tops up your weekly income to a guaranteed minimum level

As long as you meet the eligible age, you may be able to claim pension credit if:

  • your weekly income is less than £155.60 if you’re single, or £237.55 if you’re a couple;
  • you have a severe disability;
  • you are a carer;
  • you have to pay housing costs like a mortgage.

2. Savings Credit is extra money if you’ve got some savings or your income is higher than the basic State Pension. (You won’t be eligible for Savings Credit if you reach State Pension age on or after 6 April 2016.)

Extra benefits come with Pension Credit, such as free dental treatment, help with the cost of glasses, council tax and rent, as well as an extra payment when the weather is cold.

Child Benefit

Only one person can get Child Benefit for a child.

You normally qualify for Child Benefit if you’re responsible for a child under 16 (or under 20 if they stay in approved education or training) and you live in the UK.

You’ll usually be responsible for a child if you live with them or you’re paying at least the same amount as Child Benefit (or the equivalent in kind) towards looking after them.

Universal Credit

Universal Credit will eventually replace six existing benefits: Jobseeker’s Allowance, Income Support, Employment and Support Allowance, Working Tax Credit, Child Tax Credits and Housing Benefit. It is designed to ensure people will always be better off in work and it offers better work incentives, allowing people to keep more of what they earn than the current system.

Universal Credit is being introduced in stages and it is currently offered in 90% of jobcentres.

Homelessness support

The statutory definition of homeless includes those in overcrowded accommodation or in temporary home.

We aim to assist the ethnic Chinese community who are traditionally marginalized.  Armed with linguistic capability, we reach out to a wider network of service users, especially those who are being threatened by homelessness.

We:

  • support clients who have unclear immigration status e.g. loss of ID and as a result unable to claim benefits or access local support;
  • assist victims of domestic and sexual violence who have escaped to secure accommodation at refuges, temporary accommodation and private landlords;
  • help clients get back to work – link up with business owners to provide training and employment opportunities;
  • support clients who were in financial hardship by applying grants and benefits for them; and
  • provide linguistic support, advocacy and representation to Chinese clients who face challenges when working with other homeless organisations in Westminster.

Asylum Seeker and Refugee Support

We offer ongoing social welfare casework and advocacy for refugees and asylum seekers of Chinese descent who are in destitute or with special needs, particularly minors, women and mothers with children. We mainly deal with destitute asylum seekers who need to access housing, asylum support and medical treatment.

The support project provides sign-posting, advice and support on all aspects of social welfare. We are one of the very few charities and the only Chinese speaking organisation dedicated to assist asylum seekers and refugees.

Our service extends to:

  • social welfare support and advocacy for refugees and asylum seekers, including accessing National Asylum Support service (NASS) and mainstream benefits, housing, employment and education;
  • sign-posting to other support services;
  • advising and assisting on voluntary return to their country of origin.

 

Last Updated July 2016