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Housing and Council Tax Reductions are available to persons on low or no income, to help with paying their rent and/or council tax.
You do not have to be on Income Support or Job Seeker's Allowance to make a claim for Housing Benefit or a Council Tax Reduction. You can claim if you, or your partner, are in full time work, are receiving a pension, other state benefits or even have no income at all.
You will not be able to get Housing Benefit or a Council Tax Reduction if:
- you are not a householder (you are not liable to pay rent or Council Tax; or you are liable to pay rent and Council Tax to a close relative living with you in your accommodation)
- you have more than £16,000 in savings - unless you are receiving Pension Credit Guarantee. This includes cash at home, money in bank/building society accounts, stocks and shares, premium bonds and property, other than the property you are living in.
- If you are making a new claim for help with your rent, you will need to claim Universal Credit if you are of working age. Exceptions to this is if you have more than 2 children in your household or live in supported accommodation. Please contact the DWP regarding this on 0345 6004272. You can also find out how much you may be entitled to by accessing gov.uk. Please note that to claim Council Tax Support you will still need to apply to the Council.
- your status in the UK excludes you from receiving public funds. If you have recently come from abroad you will normally need to demonstrate that you have the right to stay in this country. You will also have to satisfy the habitual residency test before we can pay you any benefit
- you are a full time student - unless you are a full time student who is also:
a lone parent; disabled; under 19 following a further (not higher) course; state pension credit age.
How much Housing Benefit/Council Tax Reduction should you get?
How much benefit you can get depends on how much money you have coming in and any savings. It also depends on the number of people living with you in your home, their ages and the amount of money they receive.
It also depends on the type of accommodation you are living in and whether you are renting from a private landlord, the council or a Housing Association.
The amount we can pay you may be restricted. For example:
- if you have other adults living with you in your household you may get less benefit
- if you are a single person under 35 years or a private tenant and your rent is high the
amount we can pay you may be restricted.
Fast tracking your benefit claim
If you visit the council offices to submit a new claim for Benefit, and bring all the supporting evidence needed to assess your claim, we will process your claim whilst you wait, or within 24 hours of your visit.
All documentation must be original, we cannot accept photocopies.
You can claim housing benefit if you are the person named as liable to pay the rent on the tenancy agreement. If you are a joint tenant, we can help you pay your share of the rent. In some circumstances you can be treated as the liable person even if you are not named on the tenancy agreement or even if you do not have a tenancy agreement. If you are not sure if you can claim you should contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org .
Types of housing benefit
If you pay rent to the council the benefit you are entitled to will be paid directly into your rent account in the form of a rent rebate and you will have a reduced amount to pay each week.
Local housing allowance (LHA) is the housing benefit paid to most tenants who rent from private landlords. It applies to private tenants who are making a new claim for housing benefit or who made a claim after 7 April 2008.
The amount of LHA you can get usually depends on how many bedrooms your home has compared to your bedroom requirement, and the maximum rent allowed for properties in your area.
Unfortunately, we cannot help you pay a mortgage; you will need to contact the Department of Work and Pensions.
You can also contact our Housing Options team or Citizens Advice for further assistance.