Important things you need to know

  • Housing Benefit is money to help pay your rent if you are on a low income
  • you can claim Housing Benefit and/or Council Tax support if you are on Job Seekers Allowance or working on a low wage or receive pensions or pension credit
  • Council Tax support is money to help pay the Council Tax
  • both Housing and Council Tax support need to be claimed
  • support/benefit is assessed on your income compared with your needs. Outgoings such as mortgage repayments, loans etc are not taken into account
  • the rent you pay is not always the rent used when assessing your benefit, if you are in privately rented property your benefit could be calculated by using a set rate (Local Housing Allowance)
  • it is important that when you return your completed benefit claim to us, you let us see original documentation to support your claim. You have a choice, either to send them to us (we return them by recorded delivery) or bring them to our enquiry desk
  • we record your claim as soon as we receive it. If you would like a receipt for your claim, please ask
  • Advance Claims. You may complete and return a claim form for benefit on a property before you move in. This ensures that any benefit you may be entitled to is paid from the earliest date
  • if you are unhappy about a decision we have made, you have a right to ask us to reconsider that decision
  • it is important that you claim benefit immediately you think you may be entitled as it cannot normally be backdated
  • Discretionary Housing Payment - if you are suffering hardship due to your benefit not covering all of your rent or for any other reason, you may write or e-mail to request this, but you must explain why your circumstances are exceptional
  • Council Tax - if you live alone you will be entitled to a 25% discount. (Discount Claim Form)
  • Council Tax Support - 2nd adult rebate - If you are a single person who has to pay Council Tax and you share your home with someone who is not a partner and is over 18 and not paying rent and is on a low income, you may be able to claim Council Tax support in respect of that person. Entitlement is based on that person's income only
  • non-dependents - there will be a deduction from your Housing Benefit and/or Council Tax support for all non dependents over the age of 18 living with you at the property except some of those in receipt of income support and certain other persons eg students
  • income - is made up of earnings, private pensions, state benefits and any other payments/income you receive
  • income support - if you are in receipt of income support (known as Guarantee Credit) for pensioners you will qualify for 100% Council Tax support and housing benefit (subject to non-dependent deductions, and restricted rent)
  • capital ie, savings of any type including premium bonds, stocks/shares/PEPS, lump sum payment eg redundancy. It is the value of the capital that is taken into account, not the income received from it. Claimants with over £16,000 will not qualify for Housing and Council Tax support
  • other property - if you own or have any interests in a property other than the one you live in and claim benefit/support for, you must declare this on your benefit form.
  • if you live with someone, even on a part time basis, you must declare this person on your benefit form.
  • support costs ie costs for warden assistance or alarms etc are not included in your housing benefit. You may receive help with these costs - but you need to contact either your landlord or the Surrey Supporting People team (Telephone number 01372 474699) for further details.

The calculation of Housing and Council Tax support is based on comparing your income/savings against an amount which the government consider applicable for a person of your age etc

Payment of benefit Council Tax support is paid by crediting your Council Tax account to the following 31 March. It is granted in advance. You will receive a revised Council Tax bill to notify you of the changed amount to pay and there will be a new payment schedule.

Housing Benefit, ie. money to help to pay your rent, may be paid either to you or to your landlord direct. We will make your payment by BACS directly into your bank account or your landlord's account.