Benefits Advice and Support
The financial inclusion team
What do we do?
The Financial Inclusion Team offers a service to all Kingston Council tenants who may be experiencing difficulties paying their rent and managing their money. The aim of the service is to reduce the breakdown of any tenancy by working closely with our tenants to maximise their income and encourage a rent first payment culture.
The team works with tenants to develop financial capability and independence by offering:
- The delivery of a proactive service offering an appointment to new tenants at the beginning of their tenancy.
- Free impartial advice and support on a range of welfare benefits and tax credits.
- Assistance with housing benefit disputes and back dates.
- Guidance and support when making benefit appeals.
- Advice concerning Universal Credit.
- Casework support with ongoing queries.
- Money guidance advice and signposting to specialist agencies when necessary.
How do we work?
Our service operates an open referral system for council tenants in rent arrears.The team endorses a preventative approach and contacts all new tenants in receipt of Universal Credit.
All referrals are allocated a financial inclusion expert who will undertake a financial assessment, focusing on benefit entitlement and budgeting. We work with the individual to address any issues that may impact on the ability to make adequate rent payments.
Who do we work with?
We work with any Kingston Council tenant in rent arrears who is referred to the service by a third party. This includes:
- care leavers
- hostel occupants
- people that are financially vulnerable and at risk of losing their home
- victims of domestic violence
- people with support needs, which may include mental illness, substance abuse or any kind of disability.
What to do if you need help
If you are experiencing difficulties paying your rent, you will need to be referred to the Financial Inclusion Team - self referrals are not accepted. We receive referrals from the following departments, as well as external agencies that may be offering tenants support:
- Achieving for Children
- Statutory and voluntary agencies
- The Income Recovery Rent Team
- The Council Tax and Housing Benefit Department
- The Older and Vulnerable Persons Team
- The Safeguarding Team
For more information and advice take a look at our managing your money webpages.
Tell us what you think about our service
If you have any feedback about the service or suggestions about what we could do differently, please contact the Financial Inclusion Manager at [email protected] or call 020 8547 5591.