Claiming Housing Benefit and Council Tax Reduction
How to claim Housing Benefit and Council Tax Reduction
We can help you to claim - phone 01590 646122 to arrange to meet with an advisor who will help you make your claim - this is the easiest and fastest way to claim. You will need to provide us with certain documents, so we will tell you what you need to bring with you to the meeting. If you bring everything we need, we will normally be able to work out your benefit within 48 hours or less. If you are housebound, we can arrange to come to see you instead.
Or you can do it yourself - click on Benefits claim forms If you don't need any help you, you can print a claim form then fill it in yourself and return it to us, together with all the necessary documents. You may wish to contact our office by telephone on 01590 646121 to tell us you are making a claim. This will help give you the benefit from the earliest possible date. If you don't want to print a form yourself, e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org to ask us to send one by post. If you give us all the evidence we need, you can expect your benefit to be worked out within 14 days of us having received everything.
"How much Housing Benefit will I get?" or "How much income can I have and still get Housing Benefit?" We purposely don't offer an online facility to enable people to check that for themselves. The simple reason is that the rules about what you can get are so complicated and a website calculator can give a misleading answer unless all the information (especially about rent) is put in correctly. Making a phone call or visiting the office is a safer way to be sure you are getting the right information - especially if you are looking to move and want to know if you'll be able to afford the rent.
Don't delay returning your claim form to us, even if you don't have all the necessary documents, as you may lose some benefit. If you can't provide the necessary documents, return the form with a letter explaining why you cannot provide the information and when you expect to be able to do so.
You'll need to read all the notes with the claim form. Most people don't manage to get it right first time and this delays things. That's why we offer to help with claims!
If you have claimed Income Support (IS), Income Based Job Seekers Allowance (JSA IB) or Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) - you may already have filled in Housing Benefit forms with your application for those benefits.
If you have made a telephone claim for Pension Credit - you will probably also have made a claim for housing benefit at the same time. They will pass the details to the council in that case.
Documents we need to see
We work hard to prevent fraud and to ensure we pay the correct level of benefit. There are strict standards of evidence that we require when you make your claim.
Where we need evidence of something, we usually need to see the actual document - not a photocopy. Not sending originals will cause a delay! We then make a copy which we keep securely in our records. You can take documents to one of our offices - see section "Your Council" for local office locations. The staff there will take copies and sign them to say that an authorised officer of the Council has seen the original documents. We advise you not to send any valuable documents by post unless you use recorded delivery, but if you do send anything to us we will return items you as quickly as possible (normally the day we receive them).
Evidence of identity - we need to see evidence of this when you make your first claim. Documents must be original and not photocopies. The forms of acceptable identity are:
- bank statements (recently dated - see section "Income and Capital" for further information)
- A water, electricity, gas or telephone bill paid in the last quarter (only one per claim)
- Wage slips
- birth certificate (issued when birth first registered)
- driving Licence
- identity card issued by EEC member state
- letter from Solicitor/Social Worker/Probation Officer/Inland Revenue
- marriage certificate
- passport (current and valid)
- UK residence permit
After you have filled in and submitted your claim form, whenever you contact the Housing Benefits office, you will be asked to confirm something about your identity each time, so we can be sure it is you.
National Insurance Number - we can accept:
- National Insurance card
- P45 or P60
- Tax letters
- DWP notifications
If you cannot provide any of these, we will contact the Benefits Agency and this may delay your claim. No payment of benefit will be made without this information.