I can’t get benefits because I’m homeless and I haven’t got an address. Wtf is going on here.

I have been speaking with people who are homeless and who don’t have a fixed address.

They say that they can’t get or keep the benefits that they need.

The DWP says – of course – that things there is a system that homeless people can use to claim benefits and that the system works well.

I have doubts about that.

Last week, I spoke with three street homeless men in Manchester who all said – separately and adamantly – that they couldn’t and didn’t sign on for jobseekers’ allowance, because they didn’t have an address. I wasn’t actually looking to ask people about that in the first instance. The subject just kept coming up. I’ve been out in various parts of Manchester in the evenings talking with some of the people here who are street homeless. There are longer extracts from a couple of these interviews at the end of this article. We talked about housing benefit too, which obviously has address implications, but we were discussing JSA and ESA in this context:

“I’ve got nothing. I can’t claim benefits, because I’ve no address…You used to be able to sign on and they would give you so much money every day. Not any more. That’s all gone. Doesn’t exist anymore, that. Doesn’t exist.” Paul, 56, Deansgate, Thursday evening.

“You can’t claim dole, because you need a letterbox to get ID, but you need ID to get a letterbox…So all is as left is to beg, yeah…[I’ve been doing this for] five years…At the beginning, I had bags and bags of stuff. I had all me ID and that…[but] because you can’t look after it all the time, you stash it and other homeless people find it and… [shrugs].” Darren, 44, outside the Arndale Centre on Tuesday.

“I’m not going to get any benefits until you (sic) get an address.” Tom, 24, near Piccadilly station, Tuesday evening.

These conversations got me thinking. They got me thinking about exclusion, mainly – the ways in which people who really are on the rough end of things can be excluded from the income and support that might make a difference. I want to know more about the systems that the DWP and the government that is overseeing this mess have in place to make sure that people aren’t excluded from that support (yeah – I know. Don’t laugh). I get that people on the street can lead chaotic lives. I get that some people can have serious drug and alcohol problems, but so what. People with serious substance abuse problems should not be denied essentials such as housing and income. You adjust a system to meet needs, not the other way around. Readers of this site will know that the systems that people must use to claim benefits – benefits systems run by the DWP and jobcentres – can be extremely hard to navigate now and are in meltdown, even for claimants who do have an address. Readers of this site will also know that there is often a mile-wide gap between the way that the DWP says things work and the way that things actually work (if they work at all, that is).

So I rang the DWP. Needless to say, the DWP said that there was a functional system in place for prospective benefit claimants who don’t have an address. I rang the DWP’s New Claims line on Monday to ask (and spent 20 minutes on hold, just FYI. I’m keeping track of this aspect of service access). I spoke to an officer who insisted that there was a robust claims system in place for homeless people and that many used it. The officer seemed annoyed that I suggested otherwise. A Care Of address could be used, or a friend’s address (Why can’t he use your address if you’re a friend? this officer said to me at one point). The DWP said (when I asked) that people could use their local jobcentre as their Care Of address for DWP mail if they wanted (I wonder how many people want that).

This all sounded so functional and helpful. Their systems usually do when the DWP describes them. The problem is that the reality is often the exact opposite of functional and a very long way from helpful. I’ve interviewed people who have lost benefits, because the holder of their Care-Of address wasn’t reliable and they missed DWP letters (see Dean’s story here). The DWP also assumes that everyone has supportive family and friends who a) have an address and b) are happy to share it with a friend or family member who has fallen on hard times. Then, there is the DWP’s famously punitive jobsearch regime. Without a stable address, people face the very real possibility of missing one of the many letters that the DWP fires at benefit claimants – letters which call people to courses, or to the work programme, or to work-focused meetings. Miss a signon meeting and your benefits are stopped if you don’t show up at the jobcentre very quickly to explain. God knows I’ve seen that happen. I’ve seen it happen to people whose very difficult personal circumstances were well-known to their jobcentre advisers, just in case you thought the DWP always cut slack for people in hardship (it does not).

As for using your jobcentre address as your Care Of address – I went into Stockport jobcentre on Friday to ask if there was a system in place for people who were homeless. The woman I spoke to said Yes, that person could use a Care Of address. No mention was made of using the jobcentre as an address. The DWP didn’t mention that on the phone until I asked, either. A key feature of jobcentre meetings I attend is the DWP’s failure to inform people of their rights and entitlements, and systems that are supposedly in place.

And then – back to the beginning – there were the guys I spoke with last week. All three were very strongly of the view that their access to support was compromised because they were homeless. They all talked about exclusion in its various forms. Didn’t seem to be an obvious way back for any of them at the moment.

Here are two views:

Paul, aged 56. Deansgate on Thursday. Carrying his bag and sleeping bag on his back.

“The council closed most of the hostels down, so there’s only a couple of hostels now. There’s a couple of places that are really, really bad. You know what I mean. Mice-infested and they want to put people in them places.

There’s a church on tonight. They do a meal – give you food, a meal, things like that. You can have a shower there. You can see a doctor if you need to. That’s pretty good, but that they only do that once a week on a Thursday. There’s only a couple of places for people to get emergency accommodation. Simple as that.

And that goes for when it’s raining and cold?

Yeah, yeah, yeah. I try and make enough for a B&B wherever I can.

People are saying that B&Bs are like 17, 18 quid a night.

Yeah… I have had so much stuff stolen over the years…I’ve got my sleeping bag and everything [turns around to show me]. My life is in that bag

So things get pinched at the hostels?
Yeah, it’s really bad, so I go to get a decent B&B.

Do you get anything towards it [your costs]?

My sole income… [he was selling magazines] I’ve got nothing. I can’t claim benefits, because I’ve no address…You used to be able to sign on and they would give you so much money every day. Not anymore. That’s all gone. Doesn’t exist anymore, that. Doesn’t exist.

Have you tried to go to the jobcentre and ask…?

Yeah, yeah, yeah. I tried to go to the jobcentre and get emergency payments …Nothing like that. It’s all gone.

…won’t help me. Council – I’m on a waiting list [for housing], but I’m a single male. You work on a points system [to bid for council properties to rent], so you have to build so many points up before they even consider giving you somewhere to live. I go to the library – I use the library, me, and every time I look at a flat [on the council’s online council house bidding system], I get so many points. You have to build your points up…

It’s just a joke. It’s just a joke, love. It’s just a joke…I’ve been on the streets now [for] 16 months. Yeah, I had a job. I’d been with the missus for 17 years. I walked in and she’s in bed with my best mate, so my head went and I started drinking really, really badly. Losing my job, losing my flat, getting into arrears, because I couldn’t pay the rent.

Darren, 44. Outside the Arndale Centre on Tuesday evening. Carrying a dirty sleeping bag. Very thin, very drawn and very pale.

I got to try and find £18 to get a B&B – so for a shower, a bed…You can’t claim dole, because you need a letterbox to get ID, but you need ID to get a letterbox.

So, you can’t sign on for JSA?

No, so all is as left is to beg, yeah…[I’ve been doing this for] five years…At the beginning, five years ago, I had bags and bags of stuff. I had all me ID and that…[but] because you can’t look after it all the time, you stash it and other homeless people find it and… [shrugs].
All as I did right. My dad used to [word unclear] me and my brother when we was younger and I got put in care. My brother brought me up…but he killed himself and he was like the only family I had. It hit me hard, so I went off the rails a little bit and lost everything.

I do the right thing. I’m trying to looking after myself. I don’t buy drugs and alcohol. I’d rather buy clothes and get new… get a proper bed – a few nights’ sleep.

With the B&Bs, if you don’t have £18, you don’t stay.

[In] Manchester… they are building all these brand new flats up, so people who can’t stay are put further and further away. It’s just become a business place…

It’s all a bidding system now [to get a council place], so you have to go and bid at a certain time. You go in these places. They see you’re homeless, they put your head down and it’s straight out. Same with the [shopping centre]. You walk, Security throw you out.

There’s soup kitchens, but the Eastern Europeans coming over, they get into everything now. They have all got houses, they’ve all got jobs. All they do is take, take, take, take. They sit there [outside the soup kitchens] four hours prior to it opening, so that they get the best of everything. We get pushed to the back.

Did you vote in Brexit [in the EU referendum]?
[Laughs] Did I vote? I can’t vote. I’m homeless…Do you know what Darren means? It means The Great One.

——————————————

Back out this week, so more soon.

66 thoughts on “I can’t get benefits because I’m homeless and I haven’t got an address. Wtf is going on here.

  1. Yep. It’s so typical of our society today. The NEA is a farce too. It stung me and in the process of getting off it before they throw me into the street too. We all have a story. All benefits seem to be a scam with little or no support.

  2. Pingback: I can’t get benefits because I’m homeless and I haven’t got an address. Wtf is going on here. | Benefit tales

  3. I always think its strange how quickly these sorts of attitudes to people on welfare have become accepted in society. They are damned if they do, and damned if they don’t. A sort of deliberate Catch-22 style neglect, backed up with stout denial from the DWP.
    Never was a policy so deadly as ‘Skivers versus Strivers’.

  4. Homeless should be able to get benefits
    From dwp terminology it depends on whether someone has accommodation:
    “an effective shelter from the elements
    1. which is capable of being heated and
    2. in which the occupants can sit, lie down, cook and eat and
    3. which is reasonably suited for continuous occupation.”
    so either:
    NFA – no fixed address would be someone with temporary accommodation even if it changes daily e.g sofa-surfing with friends
    PWA – person without accommodation (sleeping rough or in a car etc)
    dwp can’t object to someone supplying a c/o address, considering they been hiding their office addresses from correspondence for few years now
    All that said, may still be tricky to get past ignorance or dishonesty from jobcentre/dwp staff to get a claim accepted. and is likely they would make someone in such a difficult situation a prime target for being sanctioned

  5. One of the most disturbing things about this is the fact that Darren himself is tortured by this sick idea that he might not deserve help unless he “does the right thing” What right thing would that be?? Anyone who has had a loving home, encouraging parents and healthy schooling knows how good it feels to achieve in life, if someone can’t do that through their own efforts then something has gone wrong and we should hold collective responsibility for that. Darren has had a terrible, tragic life and it is OUR fault and OUR responsibility. He does not have the tools to fix his own life and never has had, he deserves our unfailing support and there should be no conditions attached. If we have to rely on a big stick to beat people to ‘behave’ then we have failed as a society.

    • Well said I have been homeless had mental health difficultys and addiction problems lost all my family past away, Also have social anxiety so do not have friends or support although I know it would help , SOMETIMES people just need HELP TO HELP THEMSELVES
      we’re is our kindness and humanity
      Life without these things is just a miserable existence of survival
      WHY CANT WE HELP ONE ANOTHER MORE
      Never look down on homeless people THEY NEED KINDNESS A MEAL AND A BED I AM in danger of becoming homeless very soon and am scared because I have anxiety difficultys and don’t meet or know people ,I am very on my own and don’t know what to do
      My plan is to get a cheap van and hopefully be able to claim benefits
      Survival mode I am going to do the best for myself ,I won’t starve as you can usually get one meal a day from some charities I am going to look for volunteering work were I may get some food And if I get benefits will join a cheap gym so I can use shower every day ,So things are not to bad if I can get benefits and a van ,I don’t want to end up begging on street s living on streets as this would also lead back to drug and alcohol Addiction
      Because I can’t cope with the anxiety of being around people
      I can cope if I am on drugs I can also beg for money not eat or wash and die a slow painful death THIS IS MY REALITY
      I hope this does not happen
      Ideally I would love to get a job now so I am not dependent on benefits
      I am capable of work but due to my past addiction homelessness anxiety disorder and petty crime ,I cannot get a job I live in a dry house at moment and have been clean nearly 2 years but my benefits are being messed about with , Anyway I have a plan B I will go and be homeless abroad somewhere warm as I am now 54
      and don’t think my body can handle a English winter ,I LIVE IN BRISTOL
      Am friendly hard working and fit and reliable if anyone knows we’re I could possibly get a job or volunteer work I would appreciate any replays
      HOMLESS PEOPLE NEED KINDNESS AND HELP TO HELP THEMSELVES

      HAVE NO IDEA WERE THIS POST IS GOING I AM JUST PUTTING IT OUT THEIR
      MAYBE MIRRACLES DO HAPPEN
      SENT WITH HOPE

      KINDNESS AND HUMANITY LOVE ONE ANOTHER ❤️🙏❤️

      • 99% of jobs don’t do criminal record checks, so if you don’t tell them you have a record they will never know. Just go to an employment agency and get a job doing manual work. Agencies are desperate for cleaners, picker packers, etc. that is why we import hundreds of thousands of immigrants every year. You can easily find work.
        Why can’t you do this when hardworking people coming here from halfway round the world can?
        Most countries in the world have no benefit system at all. Britain gives out higher benefits than any other country, if you were in Eastern Europe you’d get almost nothing and if you were in the developing world you’d get nothing.

        • I can’t believe there is such evil people in this world as you Ash, this is what’s wrong with it. And most of what you said is a lie anyway. FACT. Someone says and expresses they have serious mental health issues and are scared they are about to be made home less and the best you can come up with is disgusting vitriolic BS. Your a cold hearted sick individual, do you know that???

          • Ray, can you tell me which point I make, makes me ‘evil’.

            Is it pointing out that:

            A.) 99% of jobs don’t do criminal record checks, so if you don’t tell them you have a record they will never know. Just go to an employment agency and get a job doing manual work. – This doesn’t sound like ‘evil’ advice to me.

            B.) Pointing out that agencies hire thousands of hard working overseas workers every year. This proves that there is work easily available. Again I don’t this this advice is ‘evil’.

            C.) Pointing out that we are lucky to have a benefit system as most countries in the world do not. Again, I do not think this is ‘evil’.

            But if you can find the ‘evil’ part about what I said please explain what it is.

          • From other podts Ash works for the DWP
            TThe fact some prefer to live by earning a regular. Wage instead. Of surviving when an agency need a cleaner for a day escapes the DWP tickbox operatives

          • Glen, – If thousands of hardworking people from Eastern Europe can find full time work to support themselves in Britain, why can’t the original poster?

        • Ash your full of it .These hard working people from over seas have an address ,Infact step of the boat onto the bus and into accommodation and given pocket money ,British homeless get nothing .All employment agency’s require an address by law .

  6. Pingback: Homeless: avoid the coppers, find a B&B… | Kate Belgrave

  7. Pingback: People who need help most back away from it now. Applying for benefits, housing, etc, is too torturous | Kate Belgrave

  8. Pingback: Can’t use a computer, or read or write very well? Tough. No benefits for you. | Kate Belgrave

  9. A really sad thing is that a lot of people on benefits can’t allow a homeless friend to use their address as a care of. This is because tax credits office does random checks of people and if they find you have any ones mail coming they do an investigation based on you having someone else living with you. Tax credits get stopped then it takes months to get them back. The council has also been know to accuse people who help people out with c/o address or a night on a sofa. And then thus created a culture of fear among claimants it stops some helping. The evil policies work by fear, intimation, loss and poverty. 🙁

    • Hi Iris,

      I work for the benefits agency and am pleased to let you know that you do not need an address to claim benefits. We are very happy to give benefit payments to the homeless plus there is additional funding to access housing or shelters.

      • Not true….!!!!!!!!!!!!!!….DWP actually said that they open c/o letters at their central depot. So don’t use the job centre’s as c/o address. They seem to want to know everything!!!

        • Hi, M. Saw. I can assure you that you do not need an address to claim benefits. I work for the welfare services and we authorise new benefit payments to homeless people and people without fixed addresses regularly. You can even receive a special payment card if you do not have a bank account. In addition to receiving benefits homeless people can claim additional funding to help them access shelter. Every UK city places homeless people into emergency shelter within 48 hrs. If people are sleeping on the streets then they are doing so because they are refusing places in the emergency shelters that are available. If you would like to confirm what I say you can see this confirmed both on the Gov website and the Shelter website if you still don’t believe me.

          • You ARE MISSING THE POINT….!!! JOB CENTRE ADMITTED TO OPENING PERSONAL ETTERS IF YOU USE THEM AS IN c/o……!! Read to understand….!!!!

          • But you don’t need to use anyone else’s address to claim benefits. You can simply say that you don’t have an address and you will still get benefits. Why is this a problem?

            All you do is;
            1. Make a benefit claim.
            2. State you have no address.
            3. Get paid benefit direct to your bank account every month.

            It’s as easy as that.
            What is the problem?

          • tonbridge & malling council left me on the streets for 3 weeks over christmas, they didn’t help in the slightest, but tunbridge wells council put me into a winter shelter that day. so i think it depends what council you are in as some are good but others are boarderline inhumane.

          • This actually isn’t true.
            There are homeless shelters, they are often full. Also if you have had any kind of drug or Alcohol, often you don’t fit the criteria. The council MAY find you a B&B but it could be in another town altogether.
            When you say they are sleeping o. The streets because they want to then you really know nothing. Sorry to be rude but that is a fact! There are some who having been on the streets for so long, they have become institutionalised and prefer it. They are a tiny minute fraction of Rough Sleepers!

      • Hi my brothers homeless mental health on a load of medication in addition to epilepsy. Unable to claim benefits has no bank account and no form of ID. What support is in place from jsp to help him obtain ID ? Can he claim without?

        • Hi Rachel. The good news is that your brother will be able to claim benefits, even without a bank account, although the jobcentre can help him to open a bank account or payment account to receive payments too. They will need to establish who he by asking him questions about himself checked against his records. He will need to visit his local jobcentre to do this and explain his situation. If he has no accommodation then an emergency place in a homeless shelter will be provided until his benefit payments and regular accommodation are provided.

      • My son has just become homeless and is relying on me for money .he cant live with me due to previous problems. This is making me ill i work very hard for my money but cant get on with my life .

  10. I’m 56 years old my job frinshed school worker can’t get benefit now 1 year on got a van part time work seasons but no address no help

  11. Yesterday I met a homeless woman, who was not drunk and did not seem to be on drugs. She seemed quite coherent. I asked her why was she begging, was she not getting benefits? She said she could not, because she had no address. She looked really ill and told me that she was on the streets, because her former partner used to beat her up. I said I could help her. I thought, maybe, she was too ill to fight for her rights. I had no doubt that I would get her benefits and accommodation. We agreed to meet in front of the Job Centre today. We discussed convenient time at some length. She was disappointed though that I had no money to give her.

    Needless to say she has never turned up. I still think she needs help, but I think it is psychological help and I am not qualified.

    It is said that it does not occur to people that it is beggar’s interests to lie to us that they cannot get benefits and yet it occurs to us that the Government officials are lying. Instead of making these groundless assumptions we should press for research into mental health problems of the homeless to see how we can help. Do not think it is the expertise we can expect from DWP.

  12. Every town city has homeless people yet the local councils an government deny its a problem. I was made homeless just before xmas 2016,an that was the start to help get to rock bottom. I have my son n granddaughter with me i cant get council housing as i have arrears (paying bit by bit but still lot pay of) its impossible get private rent coz of money owed so now trying stay at different friends etc. Then last week my esa benefit was stopped, so now homeless no money, no chance of anything improving i cant pay rent of coz i no income. you just cant win also when your asking for help they look at you like your nothing n thats exactly how this fucking government want you to feel for them when you accept your nothing its job done.

  13. I came to England to visit relatives I am English, I wasn’t feeling well before I came and on arriving I was blue lighted to Hosp with a torn aorta very high blood pressure not much they could do so put me on medication , I also suffer badly with gout and have done for over a year , I have no income apart from a small private pension, my wife in Thailand where I live , is my carer and works as a nurse, I am unable to go back (can’t travel) am classed as homeless and can’t claim benefits . anyone got any advice please ?

    • Dear John

      Unfortunately I have other urgent problems to attend to and cannot devote myself to you. But please try to find a charity for homeless where you are. Where I live they could arrange a free accommodation for you, surely this is possible in other places. You can also ask your local job centre to allow you to use their address as yours and then you can claim benefits. Also please try to register with the local council as in urgent need of accommodation.

    • Hi John,

      I work for the benefits agency, if as you say, you are a British citizen, you CAN claim benefits.

      Homeless people can still claim benefits plus access additional funding to find housing or to sleep in night shelters in the short term.

      If you vist the Jobcentre they will be happy to help you claim. We really do want to help you.

      • Ash l am a pensioner ,l can not visit the job centre. I turned 66 and all benefits stoped l get pension of 105 per week and live on a boat for which l pay 55 quid rent out of my pension because council say l am not entitled to rent rebate for boat as it is not an address and l do not get enough to get an address .l manage on 50 quid for food etc and just go cold or spend day collecting wood to burn around reading Tesco .If l came of boat at Dover l would get accommodation same day and pocket money .As for pension credit you need address ,so sorry to say like the social your still full of it .

  14. Hey Kate 🙂

    Superb article thank you. The information you’ve researched and presented is very useful, and I am pleased to see it being aired. I am familiar with the topics and issues you have raised as I work in an associated field. The comments you have received are also very informative, very revealing, and the sentiment very personal. Whilst these stories are not unfamiliar to my ear I always find them moving.

    Kate, I live within Wales UK, and run a small and recent Blog site called Gallybloggers – https://bwbachandtheraven.wordpress.com/ that features poetry written by Homeless people. Gallybloggers originate from Wales, UK, and the Blog provides an opportunity for the Homeless to express themselves in a poem: to give them a small voice in a noisy uncaring and ignorant world. The work we present is submitted by the Homeless (published by me, gathered by Homeless friends called Raven’s 12) who we meet throughout the Towns and Cities across Wales. Gallybloggers offers a reader a very different, innovative and creatively varied perspective on Homelessness for them to consider, cogitate, deliberate, and digest. Those who write and submit to Gallybloggers do so wholeheartedly believing in what we do and in what we would like to achieve by giving voice and opportunity for expression to those who are walked-over by society and passed-by everyday on our streets and empty shop doorways. The poetry penetrates behind the stereotypical perspective of the person behind the Homeless aspect all often seen. Poetry reveals the depth of a person.

    The Blog site has just put out a ‘Call to Arms’ 🙂 We are requesting submissions from across the UK from Homeless people who would like to express their feelings, thoughts, views, perspectives on Homelessness, or their life, their personal situation etc. The last post published presents my email address. On behalf of Raven’s 12, I would delighted to receive any and all contributions from Homeless readers on your Blog who would like to publish their poem online for the world to see. The Homeless people that I meet and who write the poems do not have access to the internet, but they delight in knowing their work is appreciated, enjoyed across the world, and that those responding do so with love and care in their words. I’ve seen tears from die-hard Homeless individuals.

    We would be thrilled to provide a window to the world for the Homeless and receive their poems.

    And lastly, thank you for giving me space here in your comments to offer Gallybloggers to your readers. I am grateful.

    God Bless. Namaste 🙂

    DN

  15. I started reading this because I’ve lost my id and have no address, so i was hoping to find out how to get one. I’m homeless, I can only use my girlfriend’s computer when i can stay with her but she lives in a hostel, so that’s not very often.

    Even though I didn’t get my answer here I hope to answer something that the government likes to hide to save money.

    YOU CAN GET BENEFITS WHILE HOMELESS! Hidden away in all the fine print is a clause that states if you do not have a living address, are sleeping rough, or sofa surfing you must enter your local jobseekers office into the address section. If you can, do the most local one to your last address, it will makes things so much quicker and easier.

    Hope I could help,
    Jordan

  16. my name is David, I am homeless living on the streets in Bexhill, East Sussex, a friend showed me this web site, when I read Jordan’s reply, I got my hopes up thinking I could claim universal credit !! the people in the job centre said it is a myth that you can use the job centre’s address as a care of Address and until I could find a Private Address or move out of the area I would not be able to claim any benefits, as there are no homeless shelters or hostels in the local area, so it looks like people like my self in my area at least will die on the streets, if any one from the government or DWP reed this you should be ashamed of your selves, just one last thing I don’t drink or take drugs, I lost my business and my home.

    • David,
      I work for the benefits agency and I know that you CAN claim benefits. For anyone unsure of this you will see that it clearly says this on the .Gov website and the Shelter website too.

      Please go back to the Jobcentre or to your local hostel for the homeless who will assist you.

      Or homeless people in Bexhill can visit the Community Help Point at Town Hall, Bexhill-on-Sea between the following hours:
      9:00am to 4:30pm Monday, Tuesday and Thursday

      9:30am to 4:30pm Wednesday
      
9:00am to 4:00pm Friday

      If you are homeless in an emergency outside the opening hours of East Sussex County Council you can call them on 01424 787868.

    • It’s a lie you can use the Jobcentre to receive your benefits mail though they open them and other mail will be returned to sender.

      You can claim housing benefit from a hostel even if you’re not living there everyday. The money goes into a post office account card which can be opened via the jobcentre.

      The reason homeless people can’t get benefits is that they’ve probably been sanctioned so that affects housing benefit payments too.

      You can claim benefits and beg and still live in a hostel or flat…Don’t be fooled by these stories;)

    • If you are homeless, go to your jobcentre. They have a plan for paying benefits to homeless people. You can still claim benefits if homeless. There is no need to invent an address or get a PO Box address because you don’t need an address to claim benefits. In addition if you are really homeless then you will be given a bed in a shelter too, normally within 24hrs. This will then likely act as your address.

      • no. you are obviously not homeless or you would not say that. i went everywhere in london that are the places in westminster meant to help homeless people and asked. there is no bed and shelter immediately available.thats what i was told by everyone. Theres a lot of checks and interviews. And as I’m a normal looking , studded, not on drugs young woman who has just come back to establish herself in the uk, there is even less help than for the homeless people decribed in this article. Now its changed to universal credit the check ups and invasions of privacy are immense too.

  17. Update to my last post, today I learned that my local council (Rother) are now looking at fining homeless people ( rough sleepers ) and are classing it as antisocial behaviour !! What is our country coming to ? this is totally disgusting just another way Rother council flaunting their power, it is bad enough that we can’t get benefits without a care of address, if Rother council are allowed to get away with this other councils we follow suit and where will homeless people go then ?

  18. You can get a free id card NO ADDRESS NEEDED. You can then get a postbox for at the post office royal mail. Its actually easy !
    Then from there you apply to benifits.

    Remeber benifits is a gift to you . Not a right of money to live . .

    I personally think if you cant do anything in 1 year of having benifits you deserve to be homeless.
    Blaming to the world will get you no where.

    You could literally get a wheel barrow and go collect scrap metal and make more than you would from the dole. Stop complaining and get on with it.

    This country is full of wingers.
    If you want it go get it

    STOP EXPECTING PEOPLE TO HELP YOU.
    HELP YOURSELF !

  19. Same story here in Margate Kent. Homeless are dying on our streets here.
    I have not met one single public service employees who knows how to perform their role layed out in their job description.
    People, upon leaving prison appear to have the same story here ( revolving door syndrome’.) No help inside to sort out benefits before they are released.A lot of ‘ do gooders,’ organizations claiming government funding patting one anothers backs, alas no real practical help there though. Prisoners are released no prior warning with a one way ticket.No ID means no way of claiming benefits, released with nowhere to live.
    Shoplifting is rife here, quick to judge and courts dish out lengthy jail sentences however, why are shoplifters not asked why they are stealing food ? Because I tell you why he justice system they claim is unbiased and fair would be exposed as being discriminating , unfair and corrupt. The people I’ve spoken to who shop lift fit in the ‘ revolving door syndrome’. No ID, can’t claim benefits,public services failing the most vulnerable by not acting with integrity and in a fair manner, discriminating those they clearly see need support. This leads to shoplifting to feed themselves to survive. Absolutely disgraceful.Hang your heads in shame all of those who work for the government.Employ people who have a lived experience this is the only way to ensure you get it right the first time !

    • Hi Rachel,

      I’m afraid what you say simply isn’t true.

      You do NOT need an address to claim benefits. I work for the welfare services and with the homeless and we have several homeless people claiming full benefits. All they need to do is visit a Jobcentre and make a claim. In fact there are additional benefits for people who are homeless, so they can actually claim more money than you or I could.

      Most people who beg are not homeless but are begging to support an addiction while claiming benefits.

  20. You do NOT need an address to claim benefits.
    I work for the welfare services & with the homeless in Leeds. A homeless person can claim benefits and I work supporting many homeless people who do.
    In addition, almost all of the people you see begging on the street are not homeless, they are addicts who are supplementing their benefit money by begging.
    Also, there are actually additional benefits that homeless people can claim to help get them back on their feet.
    Because of my work I know that all of the regular beggars in Leeds city centre are actually housed and receiving FULL BENEFITS. The problem is they are also heroin addicts or alcoholics who will still beg, no matter how much they claim in benefits.
    What we need is a system that compels people to engage with drug treatment programs.

  21. Hi. My name is Martin. My wife and I are British, in our 50’s and are Live In Carers of 11 years.
    Up until January 2018 we both had separate Live In Care jobs, 1 of which was in Cambridge and also where we were invited to live permanently with the client and her husband, and use as our postal address. We did this for a year until January 2018 but then the job finished, and consequently we had to move out.
    Coincidentally the other Live In Care job also ended around the same time and we suddenly found ourselves jobless and homeless.
    At present we reside in a caravan, but are not supposed to use it as residential and cannot receive mail there.
    We do expect to be told to move out soon but cannot afford to use hotels etc, so what are we supposed to do next ? We apply for work every single day but as you can expect for 1 or 2 people in their 50’s it is dambed hard.

  22. I’m also homeless and became so a year ago and was told on phone that without an address I wasn’t entitled to any benefits on 2 occasions fortunately I live in a bus and my family has been helping me after being made homeless because of trying to help wife’s family.
    I will add I don’t drink or do drugs and stopped smoking 2 years ago I do however suffer with depression and anxiety.
    The most stressful part of being homeless is if you have a forwarding address for mail you then get companies or councils who you in my case owe a small amount of council tax (£300) too threatening to take what you don’t have and demanding money you don’t have.
    Half the time it feels like suicide is the only way out!

    • Just an update I’m still classed as homeless as I live in my bus that I’m converting, this suits me as I could be working anywhere in the country, but now I’m working so don’t require benefits however the system is still geared to require a physical address for, well, everything as the nanny state wants us all to be slaves to the taxation and corporate system, I personally don’t want or need a house or flat or any kind of building to live but still require an address for correspondence, I and all of my family were born in this country for many generations so why is it that way?
      I believe that the way the system is currently geared is toward a modern version of slavery called employment and housing costs you in most cases have to work 40hrs+ in a job you probably hate just to pay the bills to someone who is effectively benefiting from your misery as well as your employer. At least with slavery you were provided free accommodation and food, ok so they couldn’t exactly go out but if you are paid a low wage and have high bills like I did living near Winchester you can’t afford to go out and are being threatened sometimes several times a month so whats the difference?

      • https://england.shelter.org.uk/housing_advice/homelessness/articles/get_practical_help_if_youre_on_the_streets/claiming_benefits_when_homeless

        It doesn’t matter if you live in a bus, in a flat or on the street. You can still claim benefit. Everyone can. It is not based on having an address.
        Here is a link to homeless charity Shelter that explains this.
        Just go to the job centre. Sign on. You will get benefits. It doesn’t matter if you don’t have a fixed address or even a bank account.
        I don’t understand why this is so hard for people to understand.

        • The problem is not applying the information it is getting past the depression you suffer when you are homeless and unemployed as well as the attitudes of most job centres, like I say I am now working but when you apply for benefits you are made to feel even more worthless than you currently feel which makes the situation worse, plus if you do apply the chances are that 2-6 months after you start working again they will send you a bill for ‘overpayment’ which you may not be able to afford. If they provided training for an area we need staffing in this country like say nursing or truck driving and got you on some kind of work training programme and at the end you had a job, with the requirement being a job to go to, this would make the process much better, myself I had to borrow some money in order to get a qualification to enable me to go back to driving, a job I did for 15 years but EU legislation required another qualification, would it not make more sense to provide some basic training for a job someone wants to do? Plus it would mean they do not have to pay out benefits for as long. Course costs are excessive and everything these days requires a qualification irrelevant of experience so unless you can afford it the system will make you unemployed and potentially homeless.
          So in short we all have some pride and the system tries to destroy it so why would anyone want to remove there last shred of pride, most of us do not want hand outs we want to work help us to work by helping us with the courses.
          I will add let us live how we wish to live and just help us get to where we need to be, I’ve done it as I’m sure many have.
          The address system needs looking at today as well if someone wants to live in a tent in a field that is there choice and therefore there address.

          • You can already claim full benefits whether you live in a van, a tent, a flat or on the street, a fixed address is not necessary to claim benefits, so I am not sure why you think that the ‘address system needs looking at.’ What would you change?

          • As far as the address is concerned a correspondence address at the local post office could work, as was stated in the original article ‘I believe’ its all very well the job centre using there address for correspondence but my nearest job centre is around 5-10 miles away and when I move to Scotland it may be more like 30-40 miles away but a local post office is usually within easy reach.

          • You don’t need to use a Post Office address to claim benefits. Because you don’t an address at all.

  23. Please can you help. Just moved back to northern Ireland. Sleeping in friends houses all Around. How can I get universal credit

  24. I am a senior citizen, I do have a room to spare in my home for a homeless person.
    I spoke to a young man on the streets this week, who had been trained as a civil engineer, but through a marriage break up ended up homeless. I want to offer help,
    but need advice. My home is mortgage free, I just have my pension, I can afford to look after one homeless person until they get on their feet. Is there anything I should be aware of before I take the step to invite a homeless person to stay?

    • Hi Andrea. I used to work in the welfare sector working directly with the homeless. I would very strongly advise against taking someone you do not know into your home. All ‘homeless’ people are entitled to a place in a shelter and so you do not need to offer help in this way. The people you see begging in the street are in almost all cases not homeless they have a home or a place in a hostel but will tell people they are homeless to get your sympathy. All ‘homeless’ people can claim benefits anyway, you do not need an address to claim benefits.

      During my time working with the homeless I once had to attend court in York when a homeless man tied up and robbed a good Samaritan who had invited him into his home. The vast majority of people you see begging will be doing so to get money for drugs. Their drug addiction makes them unpredictable and all whom I have worked with are involved in stealing and shoplifting. These are not people you should trust. Again, I would stress, there are hostel places in every town and city for people with nowhere to stay. There is no need to take in a homeless person.

      If you would like to help out, I would suggest contacting Shelter, who will be able to put you in touch with a shelter or outreach program you can get involved in without putting yourself at risk.

    • Hi Andrea, I am also a ‘senior citizen’ and would strongly implore you NOT to take in anyone who is homeless, sorry if I sound sexist, but certainly NOT a man you don’t know! Your heart is in the right place, but it is not worth the risk! I befriended a youngish woman who was begging in my area a couple of years ago. I didn’t offer her a bed, but did give her clothes, money and food! She came to visit me, I gave her again, some cash etc. Turns out she STOLE items from me, some bracelets of great sentimental value!!! Then some months later she had the audacity to turn up with a ‘present’ for me! What a rubbish thing it looked – I had previously informed the police about my suspicions and they agreed with me that my stuff WAS probably taken, and only she had access! I chucked the present back at her and warned her NOT to return, naturally she looked affronted when I accused her of theft! Hah! It’s sad when one wants to help, but now I am suspicious. If you must help, then give food + perhaps some cash, but DONT take this man into your home!!!! I don’t know what else to say, I feel immensely sorry for these fellow human beings, especially if they have mental health problems, but we can only do so much! DONT risk YOUR life!! Regards xx

  25. Perhaps Ash would be better telling the benefits staff an address is not required, after all they are the ones who make the life and death decisions into who does (or usually doesn’t), receive benefits. The homeless situation many of us have, and do suffer is like music to their ears and offers the incredibly easy “no address so no benefit for you” response.

    Yeah I’ve been there, five months living in a car starting on the day BST ended and heading into the winter months, housing wouldn’t help unless I had an income, such as benefits, benefits wouldn’t help without an address. The perfect storm, trapped in perpetual motion heading to one rejection after another. In my case five months through a harsh winter with no income almost cost me my life, in fact it was the decisions they made which almost cost me my life. I’m a trim 9 1/2 stone at my normal weight, without any money to buy food, run the car, no sanitation and miles of countryside from one Scottish Borders town to another I was faced with a 9 mile walk to the nearest benefits agency office on an empty stomach several times a week. Dirty, hungry and unkempt I may have been and losing weight rapidly yet even when I dropped down to 6 stone not a single person from any agency once gave a thought to assisting me when I was clearly in need. Mentally I was broken, evident from the ease in which they could frustrate me almost instantly to the point I would break down. At that point they would simply look past me and call the next client.

    If a dog owner locks their pet outside without food for months they would potentially face prosecution but replace owner with benefit agency and dog with client then it’s perfectly acceptable to act in such a way. In fact I’m sure if a stray dog wandered in looking cold and starved the staff would do far more to ensure the wellbeing of the dog than that of a client.

    Ultimately for me I did have one small thing I could control, rather than be found starved and frozen to death in that car I realised I could at least choose the place and date of my death and avoid any more suffering. The Police arrived just at the wrong moment for me and I was ultimately sectioned under the Mental Health Act, previously they had done nothing more than try to move me on for months with no practical advice about how to do so with no cash or anywhere to go. Oddly gaining the “vulnerable person” tag brought the DWP to my hospital bedside to complete the forms and make the calls for me as by then I was too unwell to do so myself. Though the question really is why did I suddenly become vulnerable and in crisis the second I was sectioned yet hadn’t been before it? By the time I was sectioned I had a roof over my head, a hot drink and hot food in front of me, something I hadn’t been able to experience for five months. I also had access to benefits, housing advice, medical help and mental health support.

    • Why did you not just go to a homeless shelter. there is one in every major town and city in the UK.

      In most cases you can expect to receive emergency housing with 48hrs in a shelter until permanent accommodation became available.

      There is simply no need to be homeless. Also you do not need an address to claim benefits, just a National Insurance no.

      Why do you not take the help that is already available?

      • Ash l have a dog do l just leave him on street .Hes my only mate who keeps me safe and watches out for me as l do for him .l am 66 and jobcenter do not help pensioners and for pension credit you need address .l have no drug or drink problems ,l have benefit problems ,ie can not get housing benefit to pay rent and can not get help from you lot cause l to old ,ha.

  26. I once had a job and a roof over my head but
    I was attacked and blinded in February 2016
    I enquired about benefits and was told I was not eligible for them as under the new universal credit rules I have to be available for work
    Being blind and with a doctors letter stating that I could never possibly work again due to physical and mental damage I wasn’t eligible for jobseekers allowance or similar nor was I entitled to disability benefits as they came under the old scheme and not universal credit .
    I was entitled to P I P . at least that gave me an income even if quite small .
    Because of the time it took to get any money in I lost my place in a house share thereby becoming homeless .
    I couldn’t even get housing benefit as I no longer had a house
    Like a lot of single male homeless people despite my disability I am still a long way down the housing list.
    What I have learnt is if you arrive on the beach in a rubber raft you will get help or otherwise you are just left to rot with the rubbish in the gutters .

    Maybe one day a revolution will overthrow those in parliament who put people in these positions it is worse than Victorian times

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