If you receive benefits
If you are in receipt of any of the benefits listed below, you will normally be entitled to maximum council tax support and or housing benefit.
- Income support
- Job seekers' allowance (income based)
- Employment and support allowance (income based)
- Pension credit guarantee credit
This means that all of your eligible rent will be covered by housing benefit depending on your local housing allowance rate or the rent figure set by the rent officer. Not all of your council tax bill will be covered by council tax support and you will need to pay something depending on your circumstances (this came into effect from April 2013).
However, there may be deductions made for any non-dependent that you have living with you. A non-dependent is someone over the age of 18 who lives with you on a non-commercial basis.
For example adult sons or daughters, elderly parents, other family members or friends.
If you don't receive benefits
If you do not receive any of the benefits listed above, then the council has to compare your weekly income and any savings you have (if you and your partner have joint capital of more than £16,000 you will not normally be able to receive housing benefit).
For council tax support, the upper savings limit is £10,000 from 1 April 2017. If your savings are under £16,000 (or £10,000 for council tax support), the first £6,000 is not taken into account, with standard amounts that the government sets as 'needs levels' for individuals, couples and families which are known as 'applicable amounts'.
Applicable amounts vary for different situations, which is one reason why it is very difficult to compare your benefit entitlement with a friend or neighbour. It depends on:
- Your age
- Whether or not you have a partner or children
- If someone in your household is disabled
Your applicable amount is made up of personal allowances (for general needs), and premiums (for special needs). Your applicable amount, and how it has been calculated, is always shown on your decision letter. You need to check this as carefully as you check the income and capital that we have used when working out your benefit entitlement, and ask us to explain anything you do not understand or that you think may be wrong.
Can I get an estimate of how much benefit I may be entitled to?
Yes, you can use the benefits calculator to do your own 'trial calculation'. You can also see when you will reach state retirement pension age.
What do I need to provide as proof with my claim?
We will need to see evidence of your identity, income and capital. If you are a private tenant we will need to see proof of your rent. Details of exactly what is required can be found in the benefit claim form.
When will my claim start?
We can usually pay you from the date we receive your claim form. Any entitlement will normally start from the Monday following this date.
In some circumstances we may be able to pay your claim from an earlier date than the date we received your claim form. This is known as backdating and you will need to show 'good cause' for not claiming earlier.
How will my benefit be paid?
- If you are a council tenant your housing benefit will be credited directly to your rent account every week
- If you rent your home from a private landlord or housing association housing benefit can be paid by transfer to your bank account via Banks Automated Clearing System (BACS), for which we will need your bank details. This payment will be made fortnightly in arrears, so you will receive this payment at the end of the fortnight it relates to
- In certain circumstances, such as you are more that eight weeks in arrears with your rent, we may pay your Landlord four-weekly in arrears if you are a renting from a private landlord or housing association
- Council tax support will be credited directly to your council tax account in one lump sum