Welfare Reform

Welcome to the Welfare Reform section of our website.

Here at South Essex Homes, we want to help you through the biggest change to the UK’s benefits system in over 60 years.

UC logo

Discretionary Housing Payment

Discretionary Housing Payments (DHPs) can provide further financial assistance when the Council considers that help with housing costs is needed.

Whether you are granted a DHP, how much it is and for how long it is paid will be a decision for the Council and will entirely depend on an individual’s circumstances and the purpose of the DHP.

Who is entitled to claim a DHP?
Anyone who requires further assistance with housing costs and is currently claiming Housing Benefit, Council Tax Reduction or the Housing Element of Universal Credit.

What will a DHP cover?
Among other things DHPs will cover:
 - Reduction in housing benefit due to the bedroom tax if you are under-occupying your property

-  Reduction in housing benefit due to the benefit cap

- Rent deposits or rent in advance if you need to move home

What information do I need to provide?
You must provide any information that is relevant to your claim to help the decision maker fully assess your claim and come to a decision.

How do I make a claim?
Click here to visit the pages of the Southend-on-Sea Borough Council website that are dedicated to Discretionary Housing Payments.

Click here to go to Southend-on-Sea Borough Council web pages regarding DHP including online application form




Essential Living Fund

The Essential Living Fund (ELF) scheme is a grant system whereby residents can apply for emergency help to cover the cost of essential items such as

  • furniture - such as a bed, settee, armchair, wardrobe, table
  • furnishings - such as carpets, curtains, bedding
  • white goods - such as cookers, fridge, washing machines
  • household equipment - such as cooking utensils, small electrical appliances
  • fuel connection (or re-connection) charges
  • clothing and footwear
  • general living expenses - these are day to day living expenses such as groceries, nappies, toiletries, cleaning/hygiene products, money for pay as you go fuel meters.

If you are awarded the grant you will not be paid in cash or into a bank account. Instead it will be:

  • food or supermarket vouchers
  • AllPay cards
  • high quality recycled furniture from reputable charity
  • white goods from a reputable local dealer.

Click here to go to Southend-on-Sea Borough Council web pages re ELF including online application form

Money Advice Service

South Essex Homes is working with the Money Advice Service to provide you with access to useful tools and information to help you to prepare for welfare reform changes. 

Here are a selection of useful links that you can use to work out your finances:

Money Advice Website

Quick cash finder

How to choose the right bank account

Where to go for Help and Support

  • South Essex Homes’ Specialist Income Management Team are happy to help you to effectively budget your finances - which will be a useful skill to learn ready for when Universal Credit is introduced.
    Contact our friendly team on 0800 0234 057 or email incomemanagement@seh.southend.gov.uk
  • The Community Development Team at South Essex Homes can support you through the changes to benefits in a number of ways - including helping you to get online.  Call the team direct on 01702 212650 to find out more.
  • Southend-on-Sea Borough Council Housing Benefit/Housing Service. 
    Your local authority can help you to find out exactly how these changes will affect you.  Check out their website: www.southend.gov.uk
  • You can get more information about Housing Benefit at www.direct.gov.uk.  Directgov provides information on public services in one place.
    This website includes a benefit cap calculator so you can find out if the cap will apply to you.  It only takes a few minutes to complete.  Click here for a direct link to the benefit cap calculator.
  • The Citizens Advice Bureau provides a wide range of confidential advice.
    Southend Citizens Advice Bureau can be contacted on 0844 477 0808 or visit their website: www.southendcab.org.uk. Alternatively, visit the national CAB website at www.citizensadvice.org.uk.
  • Shelter offers confidential housing, welfare benefits and debt advice through a network of advice services; freephone Housing Advice Helpline on 0808 800 4444 8am-8pm Monday-Friday and 8am-5pm Saturday-Sunday and online at england.shelter.org.uk/get advice or www.shelter.org.uk
  • There may be other advice centres in your area, or your local authority may have a welfare rights service. Check the phone book or your local authority website – www.southend.gov.uk
  • There are several other organisations, which can provide debt help and advice.  Here is a selection of some of them:

National Debtline
0808 808 4000 

Consumer Credit Counselling Service (CCCS) 
0800 138 1111 

Community Legal Advice 
0845 345 4 345 

Essex Savers credit union 
01245 496314