DDC's Benefits and Money Advice team helps stop hundreds of tenants falling into debt

DDC's Benefit and Money Advice Team help tenants

Dover District Council’s (DDC) Benefit and Money Advice team has helped prevent hundreds of tenants from spiralling into debt. 

With their knowledge and experience of welfare benefits and support services, the advisors helped 1,213 tenants increase their income by more than £1 million in total in the past year, preventing some families from falling into debt or being referred to court. 

Due to their work and close working with the Council’s Income Collection Officers, the amount of rent arrears owed to DDC also dropped significantly from £427,812 to £297,765 in 2022/23. 

In that time, the team helped prevent court referral or eviction of 13 tenants and their families, saving tenants and the taxpayer money.  

Support from the advisors involves conducting benefit reviews to ensure families and vulnerable individuals are getting financial help where they can so they can pay their rent. 

They also help pensioners transition onto pension age benefits seamlessly, preventing worrisome delays, and support any with entitlement to Pension Credit or Attendance Allowance. 

They review Universal Credit (UC) entitlement, prompting and supporting tenants to review or claim the correct rate from the right date. They also offer advice on other services such as schemes to help people on low incomes with their bills or access to Healthy Start vouchers. 

The aim of this work by DDC is to make sure tenants can pay their rent without ending up in debt. 

A number of the council’s tenants are vulnerable and may struggle to update their benefits or fill in forms, and this preventative work not only helps them financially but signposts them to other support services. 

Cllr Pam Brivio, DDC’s cabinet member for housing, said: “Prevention is better than cure and this crucial work is helping hundreds of tenants access financial support which they didn’t know they were entitled to, reducing the number of people falling into debt. 

“We have had working families on the verge of being referred to court and our team has helped them increase their income and it’s kept a roof over their heads and changed their lives. 

“Many of these tenants have fallen behind on rent because they can’t pay, not because they are refusing to pay. This can often be due to a failure to update their Universal Credit claims or check their online UC journal, which is the go-to page on their account to get any updates. 

“We do everything possible to work with tenants to prevent eviction and as a result there have been no evictions due to rent arrears since July 2022. Our rent arrears have also reduced considerably. 

“The advisors are there to help and support our tenants, they are experts in their field, and they get a lot of positive feedback. During the cost-of-living crisis this service is more important than ever.” 

If you are in need of advice and support go to www.dover.gov.uk/Housing/Housing-for-Tenants/Rent/Money-troubles.aspx 

Notes to editors 

While this service is for DDC tenants, the council continues to support all residents during the cost-of-living crisis. 

Our communities team offers a wide range of support across the district, while also signposting residents to relevant services and visiting harder to reach communities in the Community Roots van. 

For details on local support during the cost-of-living crisis go to www.dover.gov.uk/Community/Cost-of-Living-Webpages/Home.aspx

Those in private rented accommodation at risk of eviction can also access help through DDC at https://www.dover.gov.uk/Housing/Housing-Needs/Homelessness/If-you-are-homeless-or-threatened-with-homelessness.aspx  

As part of its Talk Money Week campaign (6-10 Nov), the Government is encouraging people to look at their financial situation and take advantage of free support and advice offered through its MoneyHelper service.  

MoneyHelper is provided by the Money and Pensions Service and offers free, impartial guidance on a range of financial needs, from money troubles and benefits, to pension advice and budgeting. 


Posted on 08 November 2023

For media enquiries, Email: pr@dover.gov.uk