Introduction to benefits
Housing benefit and council tax support can help towards the cost of your rent or council tax charge.
Both benefits are based on your:
- the amount of rent or council tax that you pay
- the size and age of your family and the contribution made by any lodgers or other adults in your household.
You will not be entitled to claim housing benefit and/or council tax support if you have capital of more than £16,000 (excluding the value of your home) unless you are in receipt of Guaranteed Pension Credit.
The amount of benefit you get will depend on your individual circumstances.
Check your entitlement
Before you make an application for housing benefit, you should check that you will be entitled. Free to use benefit calculators can be found on the GOV.UK website.
For further information take a look at the Claiming housing benefit and/or council tax support page.
On this page
Most people of working age will now claim for help with their housing costs as part of a claim for Universal Credit. For more details, see our Universal Credit page.
There are a few exceptions to people who will claim help with housing costs through Universal Credit, and who will claim Housing Benefit instead to have their housing costs paid by the local authority. If the answer to any of the following questions is YES then you will need to claim housing benefit not Universal Credit:
- Do you live in supported accommodation and receive care support or supervision from your landlord or by an organisation on your landlord’s behalf?
- Have you been placed in temporary accommodation by the Housing Team as part of their duties under homelessness legislation?
- Are you a single person who has reached the qualifying age for pension credit, or are you a couple both of whom have reached the qualifying age for pension credit? (From 15 May 2019, both members of a couple need to have reached the qualifying age for pension credit in order to be able to claim housing benefit. Couples where the youngest partner is of working age will need to claim Universal Credit for help with their housing costs.)
Housing benefit can help you meet the cost of your rent. If you pay rent to a housing association, private landlord or a letting agent, you can make a claim for housing benefit.
You may be able to make a claim if you are:
- on a low income
- self employed
- sick or disabled
- a pensioner
- single or have children
- currently out of work or looking for work
Council tax support
Council tax support can help pay towards some or all of your council tax bill if you are:
- on a low income
- receive job seekers allowance, income support, employment and support allowance
- a home owner
Making a claim
Any benefit to which you are entitled will normally start from the Monday following receipt of your form. Claims for backdating your entitlement will be considered if requested.
Housing benefit claims cannot be backdated for a period in excess of three months if you are of pension age, and one month if you are of working age, and you must be able to show continuous good cause of failure to make your claim at the appropriate time.
Claims for council tax support can only be backdated for a period of six months if you are of working age, and three months if you are of pension age.
You will be asked to provide proof of your identity, income, rent and savings. You can send us most of the proofs electronically but we MUST see proof of your ID in its original format. If you make a claim online, you can upload evidence to accompany your claim but you will be required to send or bring in your proof of ID.
You can make an appointment with one of our front line officers to verify your ID or for assistance with the claim process.
Benefit advice is also available on the telephone.
For more information please contact the benefits team using the details below.
If you need to see a member of the benefits team, you will need to make an appointment. Please contact us to discuss your requirements.
Jobseekers allowance and tax credits
Job Centre Plus offers advice on jobseekers allowance and other benefits - call 0800 055 6688
If you have an enquiry about benefits, send a message to the Benefits Team
If you wish to make a claim for housing benefit/council tax support but you are unable to claim using the online application, please contact us on the telephone number below.