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Maria is feeling ready for Universal Credit – are you?

There are a number of ways you can prepare for Universal Credit. Being prepared now will make the change easier, and our Welfare Advisors are here to help.

One of our residents, Maria, has already started planning for Universal Credit.

Looking at her circumstances, she is aware her benefits will change in September 2018 when her son starts school.

Rent First
She is topping up her rent account with £2 a week using her Allpay card to ensure her home will be protected. Continue reading

Universal Credit is here!

If you receive any of the following benefits, you will be going onto Universal Credit:

  • Job Seekers Allowance (income related)
  • Employment Support Allowance (income related)
  • Income Support
  • Housing Benefit
  • Working Tax Credit
  • Child Tax Credit

Roll out

Universal Credit is already live in Cornwall and the Full Digital Service is being rolled out from this December, starting with Liskeard, Launceston and Bude.

There have been some changes to the roll out dates:

May 2018 (was Feb) – St. Austell, Newquay, Bodmin and Truro

June 2018 (was March) – Penzance, Helston, Bodmin and Penryn. Continue reading

#HousingDay 2016 ‘Fresh Start’

Today, we’ve been celebrating #HousingDay on social media to try and raise awareness of the positive impact the Housing Sector has on people’s lives.

One of our Customer Accounts Advisors has put into words how she feels about her work:

melody-boyce“People often think of social housing as cheap housing for people who can’t afford the private sector.

What is missing from that is the tremendous amount of support that we offer to people to make their tenancy a success.

One of the aspects I find most satisfying is helping people through their first tenancy or with a fresh start. They may be walking away from abuse or just starting up and it can be terrifying. You don’t get that support in the private sector and seeing tenants grow and become happy in their new home is fantastic.

I am very lucky to meet people before they become Ocean tenants and work with them throughout the first few months of their tenancy helping with things like Housing Benefit, Universal Credit, benefits generally and budgeting.

Giving people the tools to turn their lives around and become independent is immensely satisfying and its lovely to speak to people a few weeks into their tenancy and hear that just having a new home has made all the difference.”

Thank you, Melody!

Budgeting Ahead

Banner Monthly Budget GC

The kids are back at school and Christmas will soon be upon us so now is an excellent time to review your finances and look at how to budget ahead more effectively.

One important part of budgeting is to ensure that your priority debts are paid on time.

Maintaining your rent payments is an essential part of managing your finances and helping you budget. Once these payments are made then it is easier to understand what money you have left over each month for your other outgoings.

To make things a little easier for you, we’ve put together a helpful guide listing ‘Ways to Pay’ – this will help you identify the best way for you to take control of your finances and make budgeting a little easier.

Click on it to enlarge.

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Income Management Team – What’s changing?

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Here at Ocean we pride ourselves on delivering excellent customer service and one of the teams currently doing this is our Income Management Team.

They work with our customers:

Allpay-Ocean-Payment-card-houses-icon to provide help and support when they encounter financial difficulties

Allpay-Ocean-Payment-card-houses-icon identifying additional benefits that they may be entitled to

Allpay-Ocean-Payment-card-houses-icon referring to support agencies

Allpay-Ocean-Payment-card-houses-icon working with them to help get them back on track with their rental payments.

Allpay-Ocean-Payment-card-houses-banner

So what is changing?

The team are fundamentally staying the same however; there has been a change to the team name and role titles.

“Our customers are important to us and are at the centre of everything we do, we feel that the new team name and team titles better reflect what we do”

The team’s new name is the

Customer Accounts Team:

The team members are:

Customer Accounts Manager

Debbie Goodreid

Customer Accounts Advisors

Amy Coad

Kerry Smith

Loraine Hoar

Melody Boyce

Michelle Allen

Customer Accounts Assistant

Helen Bellamy

Home Ownership Advisor

Scott Burrows

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As well as helping customers when they are struggling to maintain their rent payments we are also responsible for all payments including:

  • Service charges, repair charges and other such charges
  • Garage and parking spaces
  • Shared Ownership
  • Leasehold payments
  • Freehold Properties &
  • Commercial Properties

Welfare-Team-June-2016

Did you know that we also have a Welfare Advice Team?

The Welfare Advice Team can help customers who are in receipt of Universal Credit or are affected by Bedroom Tax or Benefit Cap.

The Welfare Advice Team members are:

Welfare Advice Manager

Gill Barnard

Welfare Advisors

Gemma Aldin

Julie Cartlidge

Susan McKnight


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My Ocean – our 24/7 service

At Ocean we are constantly developing new ways of being able to keep in touch with our customers.

Did you know that you can view your tenancy details on line 24 hours a day 7 days a week?

Once registered, you can log in to your secure ‘My Ocean’ account to view:

My Ocean – latest news & events
My Account – balance & transactions
My Repairs
My Planned Upgrades.

To register, just click:

My-Ocean-sign-in-sign-up


Talk to Us

You can also access information and help:

Icon online form sml Your Money general advice

Icon online form sml Talk to us

Icon Email sml Send an email 

Icon phone sml 01726 874450

 

 

 

 

My Ocean – FREE Prize Draw

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Every day, our Customer Services team receive calls from customers asking for their rent balance. Did you know you can check your rent balance online?

My Ocean – your personalised online service

My Ocean is a personalised online service – an area of our website where you can securely log in and view your balance and transactions from the last 3 months as well as your repairs and planned upgrades, 24/7, without having to wait in the phone queue!

Continue reading

Surviving Universal Credit and the Benefit Cap

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Welfare-Team-June-2016

When you sign up to Universal Credit or UC (the new single benefit payment where 6 benefits become 1) a single monthly payment is paid directly to you.

This means that you will have to manage your money from the moment it arrives in your bank account.

This also means you will need to pay your own rent out of the monthly lump sum you receive. This should be your number one priority; you don’t want to risk losing your home.

If the idea of managing your money feels daunting, don’t panic, help is at hand.

Welfare Advice Team

Our friendly and helpful Welfare Advice Team have been helping tenants get to grips with these upcoming changes to the benefits system and what they need to do to be prepared for Universal Credit and the lowered Benefits Cap.

 

It’s really important that you tell Ocean when you have or are going to sign up to Universal Credit.

Icon online form sml  Online Contact Form

Continue reading

New ALLPAY payment process

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Ocean rent payment card UPRN_Allpay_2

We are always looking for ways to improve our services to you, our customer. Ocean now has a new payment process for taking quicker, safer payments.

From 17th May, you will be asked to provide your Allpay card reference number when making a payment over the phone or in person. Please make sure you have the number ready.

Contact us if you do not have an Allpay card.

It might be easier to set up a Direct Debit so that you can manage your budget on a monthly basis.

Direct Debit

Download the Direct Debit form.

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Your rent for the whole year is added together and divided into 12 equal payments, which are collected automatically from your bank account on the first working day of the month.
Please complete the form and send it back to Ocean Housing.

Contact us

Icon Mobile Text sml Text 07971 834834

Text the word CARD – to order a replacement Allpay card.

Alternatively, please complete the online form below and we will order a new card.

Talk to Us

 

Please enter your details:

 

Please enter at least one of the following contact details:

 

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Benefit rules are changing

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How Will Families Be Affected By April’s Benefit Changes?

Turn2Us FamilyBenefitsChanges_LeadThis month sees the start of changes to several welfare benefits.

Linda Gyamfi, Welfare Benefits Specialist at national charity Turn2us explains more about  some of these changes, what they mean for families, and where you can find support if you’re affected.

Changes include:

  • Freeze on working-age benefits
  • Tax credits income rise disregard
  • Universal Credit Work Allowance
  • Universal Credit – Childcare Costs element increased
  • Family Premium in Housing Benefit Abolished
  • Housing Benefit backdating
  • Support for Mortgage Interest waiting period
  • Benefit Cap Lowered  

To read the whole article and find out if it will affect you,

Icon online form sml CLICK HERE.

Icon online form sml About the changes to the Benefits Cap