Housing & council tax benefit

Benefits signpostYou may be able to claim for Housing Benefit if you are on a low income. You need to apply to your local council as they administer the scheme. The amount of benefit you get depends on your circumstances and the rules set by government, and includes your income and savings, who lives with you, and your personal circumstances.  Housing Benefit is not normally backdated so you need to make an application as soon as possible.

You may also be able to claim help with your council tax. To apply you need to contact your local council:

You will need to complete an application form and provide proof of the information you supply through original documents. The following list indicates the sort of information you will have to provide:

  • National Insurance Number
  • Identification
  • Evidence of your income such as state benefits, earned income, self-employed income, pensions etc
  • Proof that you are paying rent
  • Evidence of your savings (if you have more than £16,000 you may not be eligible)

If you qualify for Housing Benefit the council will write and tell you how much you will receive.  You can arrange to have this paid directly to your rent account with us as long as you agree to this.  You are responsible for ensuring that you pay any shortfall in your rent to us.

You must immediately tell the council if any of your circumstances change as this may affect the amount of Housing Benefit that you are entitled to. Some examples are:

  • people joining or leaving your household
  • increase or decrease in savings
  • new income or a new job
  • changes in your rent

If you do not tell the council about the changes you may find that you are not getting your full entitlement, or you could be overpaid. If you are overpaid you may have to repay any amounts that you are not entitled to.

Other benefits

You may also be entitled to other benefits such as Jobseeker's Allowance, Income Support, Working Families Tax Credit, Disability Benefit or  Incapacity Benefit.  For more advice you should contact your local Benefits Agency.

There are other organisations that can also help if you have multiple debts including Citizens Advice Bureau, Housing Advice Centres or your solicitor.  They will be able to check which are the most important debts to pay, such as your rent ( which may make you homeless if you don't pay your rent) and any debts that may result in a custodial sentence (such as council tax), and make sure you pay these debts off first.

They may also be able to negotiate with other organisations that you owe money to, such as your credit or store card company, and in some cases may be able to freeze the debt until such time as you able start payments, or even get the debt written off.