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Requesting direct payments
If you have received at least one Universal Credit payment, you can request that your Housing Costs are paid direct to Oak Tree HA. You can request this on your Journal.
You need to be aware that there may be a delay between you requesting this and payment being made. This will mean an arrear is showing on your account and we will expect you to make additional payments. You may also receive a Housing Cost payment in the meantime and you will need to pay this to your account.
Report rent increases
If you have a claim for Universal Credit you will need to report any rent increases on-line. You should log in and in the "Home" section click on "Report a Change" then click on "Housing". You will not be able to report it until after 1 April each year and the Association will send you a separate letter with details of how to report your new rent charge and the amounts when the increase is due.
Alternative payment methods
If you usually call the office and make a payment over the phone, you may want to look at other ways of paying your rent. This would allow you to make a payment when our office is closed.
You can still use your Allpay card in any of the usual outlets – if you don’t have an Allpay card please contact us for a new one.
You can pay online at www.oaktreeha.org.uk
You can download the Allpay app at www.allpay.net and pay with your smartphone.
Additional payments in your assessment period
If you are working and are paid weekly, fortnightly or 4 weekly and receive Universal Credit, you will find that there are periods when extra wages are received in the assessment period and this will affect your Universal Credit payments.
The website www.gov.uk has a tool that you can use to show you in detail how this might affect you.
Go to the website and enter “different earning patterns and your payments” into the Search box and then follow the links.
If there is a bank holiday, you may find that your Universal Credit payment is made into your bank account earlier than usual – depending on the due date and this could also affect future payments.
It is very important that you are aware of this and if you are worried that this will affect you, please speak to our team as soon as possible.
If you are not a pensioner and you are in receipt of Housing Benefit or Tax Credits and you have a change of circumstances then it’s likely that you will move onto this benefit.
A change of circumstance could be:
- You move house. Some tenants will remain on Housing Benefit so please ask us for advice if you are concerned about this.
- Someone moves into your household or someone moves out
- You are working and you stop working or your hours reduce
- You were in receipt of ESA and are assessed as being fit for work
We are working hard to help tenants deal with the changes and there are a number of organisations that can assist you make a claim and maintain your claim.
If you move onto this benefit, you will be responsible for paying your rent from the monthly payment you receive and you must make sure that you let the DWP know that you have “Housing Costs”. This is another name for your rent.
There are some very important differences between Universal Credit and the benefits you may have received in the past.
- You will need to wait at least 5 weeks for your 1st payment
- You can ask for an advance of up to 100% of your entitlement but you need to repay it from future payments.
- You can now ask for Housing Costs payments to be paid direct to the Association. You can do this after your 1st assessment period
- You can ask for your payments to be made twice monthly
The Association charges rent in advance so it is very important that we speak to you as soon as we know that you are going to be claiming Universal Credit to avoid arrears building up on your account.
We can make an agreement with you so that you can pay extra each month so that you do not fall into arrears and your account becomes in advance.
Our Housing Services staff will be able to answer any questions you have about Universal Credit and how you might be affected.
Being in advance with your rent account is very important as it will stop your account getting into arrears while you are waiting for your first payment.