Housing benefit and council tax
If you receive other benefits, work part-time, or have a low income then you may be able to claim housing benefit from your local council to help you pay your rent.
Most people who receive Income Support, Job Seekers Allowance, Employment & Support Allowance, or the ‘guarantee credit’ element of Pension Credit can get full housing benefit for eligible rent (some housing costs may not be covered).
To claim housing benefit you need to complete a housing benefit claim form. You can get a claim form from your local housing benefit office or your local area housing office.
If you do not receive these other benefits then you may still be able to claim housing benefit. Whether you are eligible depends on how much savings and income you have, whether you have a partner or children, and whether you are disabled or care for a disabled person. The rules are complicated, so talk to your income officer about this. If necessary, they can refer you to a specialist benefits agency for advice.
Housing benefit payments
The Government is slowly introducing a new system of Universal Credit. Under the new system, most tenants of working age will receive a single monthly payment of their benefits, including support for their housing costs. This is different to the system which is being phased out, where housing benefit is paid directly to the landlord.
When housing benefit is paid directly to us, it is still your responsibility to check that your housing benefit statements are correct. If you have made a claim for housing benefit, you are still responsible for rent payments and making sure the housing benefit gets paid to us.
Housing benefit does not always cover the full amount of your rent. If only part of your rent is paid by housing benefit, you are responsible for paying the difference.
Changes to your circumstances
You must tell the housing benefit office if your circumstances change, for example if your income changes, you start a job or you have a child. If you stop receiving a related benefit, the housing benefit office will be informed and they might stop your housing benefit. If you still want to claim housing benefit, you should make a new claim immediately.
Council tax is a local tax, set by local authorities to help pay for services such as rubbish collection and policing. You are responsible for paying council tax for your home. To find out about the amount of council tax due for your home, check your council tax bill or contact your local authority. You will find contact details for your local authority at the front of this booklet.
You may be able to claim council tax support if your savings and income are low enough. You will need to ask your local authority for a claim form. If you would like help with completing the form, your income officer will be happy to assist you.
Remember to tell your local authority when you move out of a property and into a new home, so that they can adjust your council tax bill.