Housing Benefit - how to claim
Housing Benefit - how to claim
A guide for applicants
Filling in the form
Your total income
When will I hear about my claim
What happens if my rent increases?
How will my benefit be paid
What if you disagree with the Council's decision
- please read these notes carefully before filling in the claim form
- if you are getting Income Support or living on a low income you may be entitled to help with your rent
- make sure that you claim as soon as you think you may qualify for benefit, as your entitlement will normally date from when your claim is received or the Monday following the date of the claim
Please return the application form to Spelthorne Borough Council.
Please fill in every question that applies to you. If it does not apply then cross through or mark N/A.
Remember - you must read and sign the declaration, then send the form back as soon as possible otherwise you may lose some of your benefit/support if you apply too late.
This is made up of any payments you receive, some are included in the list below:
- your wages, salary or money earned from self employment
- Social Security benefits, allowances and pensions
- any pension you receive from a former employer
- any gifts or payments from charitable organisations
- money you receive from letting or sub-letting property
- income from certain trust funds
- payments from an annuity
- maintenance payments
- income from savings
- tax credits
For every £250 you have saved between £6,000 and £16,000 (£500 for pensioners who have saved between £10,000 and £16,000) the Council will add £1 to your weekly income figure (rather than taking into account the actual interest you receive). Make sure you remember this when working out your income. Anyone who has over £16,000 cannot make a claim for benefit.
The term 'savings' is used to cover the capital, savings, property and investments you have. When working out the total value of your savings you should include:
- any cash which you have
- current and deposit bank accounts
- building society accounts
- National Savings Certificates
- Premium Bonds
- stocks, shares and Unit Trusts
- any land you own (either in this country or abroad) which you do not live in
- lump sum payments (such as redundancy payments)
- ISAs and PEPs
Please remember that benefits for couples (people who are married or co-inhabiting) are worked out using joint income and savings.
We will check your claim to make sure we have all the necessary information and then calculate your benefit, if we need any further information we will write to you:
Your benefit will be paid either to you or your landlord within 14 days of receiving your completed claim. You will also receive a letter notifying you of these facts:
- the amount of benefit you will receive
- when it will start
- the date it will be received
- what to do if you disagree with the benefit decision
Please read the letter carefully and check the amounts used in the calculation.
You should notify us within one calendar month and we will reassess your benefit.
Benefit is paid by BACS (directly into your bank account) every two weeks (in arrears) or to your landlord every four weeks in arrears.
If you want to know more details about how your benefit has been worked out, you can contact the Housing Benefits Office and request a written explanation.
If you think we have made a mistake working out your Housing Benefit (for example, something missed out, wrong income/rent used or wrong date used for starting your benefit), please let the Housing Benefits Office know without delay and ask for your claim to be looked at again. It will help if you can say why you disagree. You should contact us within one calendar month of being informed about your benefit. We will then let you know in writing whether your Housing Benefit can be changed or not.
If you still disagree after your claim has been looked at again, you can ask for a further independent review. This request has to be in writing and you must say why you disagree. You need to do this within one calendar month of being informed about whether your benefit can be changed or not.
If you still unhappy with the decision you will then be referred to the Appeals Tribunal which is independent of the Local Authority.
Benefit will not normally be available to full-time students unless they receive income support or they are a lone parent, a pensioner, classed as disabled, or aged under 19 and not in higher education. They may also get benefit if their partner is a student and they are responsible for a child. Part-time students and couples where only one is a student can claim benefit.
Documentary proof of benefit is a direct notification statement from the DWP.
You must provide documentary proof of all your income and savings and those of any partners.
If you pay rent to a private landlord or housing association, you must also provide documentary proof of your rent liability and rent payments.
If you have other adults living in your home you should provide documentary proof of their weekly income before deductions, if this is not provided you may receive less benefit than you could.
You need to enclose documentary proof of:
- earned income (five weekly, or two monthly, most recent consecutive payslips)
- your self employed accounts (certified accounts or your own accounts or books) (special forms are sent for completion)
- private, occupational pension (latest pension slip or other proof of amount received)
- government pension (latest notification)
- other Government benefits or pensions (latest notification)
- Income Support (latest notification)
- any other income (latest notification)
- savings/capital, two months bank statements, share/savings certificates, building society books
- tenancy agreement/rent liability (private and housing association tenants only). (Latest agreement/notification form)
- rent payments (private and housing association tenants only). (Latest statements, receipts or rent book)
- other adults' income before deductions (as above in 1-8)
If you require further information or help on Council Tax Support or Housing Benefit please contact the Housing Benefits Office.