Help & advice

How much benefit can I get?

The best way to determine how much benefit you may receive is to use our online calculator.

If you're a private tenant renting property or a room from a private landlord and you're on a low income - you may be able to get Local Housing Allowance (LHA).

Local Housing Allowance is a national scheme to assist people in the private sector meet the rent of reasonably priced accommodation rented from a private landlord.

If you live in Council accommodation or other social housing Local Housing Allowance will not affect you.

If I rent from a private landlord, will you pay my full rent?

If you're a private tenant renting property or a room from a private landlord and you're on a low income - you may be able to get Local Housing Allowance (LHA).

Local Housing Allowance is a national scheme to assist people in the private sector meet the rent of reasonably priced accommodation rented from a private landlord.

If you live in Council accommodation or other social housing Local Housing Allowance will not affect you.

With Local Housing Allowance, your benefit is not usually based on the property you live in. It is usually based on:

  • Who lives with you
  • Which area you live in
  • How much money you have coming in
  • What savings you have

In some cases the amount of benefit you are entitled to will be affected by other things. These can include:

  • How much your rent is
  • Whether anyone living with you is expected to contribute to your rent

You can get an idea of how much benefit we can pay before making a claim by checking the Local Housing Allowance rates.

How do I apply for Housing Benefit?

The easiest way to check if you are entitled to benefit is to use the online benefits calculator before completing the online form.

How do I apply for Local Housing Allowance (LHA)?

Local Housing Allowance forms part of the Housing Benefit Scheme. You can check if you are entitled to benefit by using the online benefits calculator before completing the online form.

How do I apply for Council Tax Support (CTS)?

You can check if you are entitled to benefit by using the online benefits calculator before completing the online form.

How do I report a change in circumstances?

If you are in receipt of Housing Benefit and/or Council Tax Support and you have a change in your circumstances you must tell us immediately. The easiest way to do this is using our online form.

You must provide original documents as evidence to support your changes. Failure to report changes that may affect your entitlement could result in loss of benefit.

Types of changes

The types of changes you need to tell us about include:

Income

  • Entitlement to Income Support, Jobseekers Allowance or Guarantee Pension Credit begins or ends
  • Entitlement to any other benefit begins or ends (e.g. Disability Living Allowance, Employment and Support Allowance)
  • Earned Income - changes of employer, rate of of pay or hours worked
  • Increases or decreases in the value of your, or your partner's, savings and investments

Household

  • Somebody moves in or out
  • You start or stop letting-out part of your home to someone who pays rent
  • You, your partner or your child starts or finishes full-time education
  • You or somebody in your household goes into hospital
  • You or your partner are away from home and do not plan to return within 13 weeks
  • Somebody in your household dies

Tenancy

  • You move home
  • Your rent (or share of it) increases or decreases
  • You receive a new tenancy agreement or the conditions of your tenancy change

Unless you have an appointee, do not rely on someone else to tell us; it is the responsibility of the person receiving benefit to tell us of all changes.

If you need to talk to us about a change in your circumstances you can call us on 01252 622122.

What is Discretionary Housing Payment (DHP)?

If you have been awarded Housing Benefit, but the award is less than your eligible rent or Council Tax, and you are finding it difficult to make up the shortfall, you may be entitled to some extra help. The Council can award a Discretionary Housing Payment (DHP) where someone needs extra help. DHPs are not Housing Benefit, but you must be in receipt of Housing Benefits to be able to claim.

Discretionary Housing Payments (DHPs) are an extra award of financial help that can be awarded for a short period to help you out of a difficult financial situation. The funding for DHPs comes from Central Government and is limited each year, so when it has been spent no more awards can be made. Therefore not everyone who claims a Discretionary Housing Payment will be given assistance.

A Discretionary Housing Payment cannot help you with:

  • Ineligible charges e.g. heating, water rates.
  • Your rent if you are only entitled to Council Tax Support
  • Increase to cover rent arrears
  • Amounts of Housing Benefit that have been suspended

You cannot receive a Discretionary Housing Payment to make up for any reduction in other benefits because of any sanctions applied by the DWP.

Each individual case will be considered on its own merits. We will look at the individual circumstances of your claim and will consider the other options available to you before deciding whether to award a Discretionary Housing Payment. The amount awarded is entirely at the discretion of the Council.

Examples of circumstances when a DHP might be awarded are:

  • If you are having unavoidable extra expenses due to unusual circumstances such as someone being ill or in hospital
  • If you are having difficulty paying the shortfall in your rent because your rent is restricted to less than the full rent and you do not want to get into arrears while you are seeking cheaper alternative accommodation
  • If there are special reasons why you need to stay in the accommodation.

The above list does not cover all the circumstances in which a DHP might be awarded. Your entitlement to Housing Benefit and/or Council Tax Support plus any DHP must not be more than your eligible rent or liability for Council  Tax.

To claim DHP, you will need to complete the DHP application form.  You will be required to provide details of your current circumstances and may be required to provide reasonable evidence to support your claim e.g. evidence of outgoings or medical circumstances etc.

How do I appeal against my Housing Benefits?

If you disagree with our decision about your entitlement to Housing Benefit, you must write or email to us within 1 month of the date of your benefit decision letter.  You must tell us:

  • which decision(s) you are disputing
  • the grounds for your request, why you think it is wrong
  • any supporting evidence that you feel is relevant
  • the date of your appeal

We will write to you to confirm the outcome of your appeal.

What is the process for backdating my Housing Benefit?

Housing Benefit is normally awarded from the Monday following the date you first contact us. It may be possible in certain circumstances to award benefit from an earlier date. This is called ‘backdating’. You can apply for backdated benefit either by;

  • completing the section in the Housing Benefit application form; or
  • or call us on 01252 622122. Within your request for backdated benefit you must provide details why you did not apply earlier, at the right time.

In order for backdated benefit to be awarded, you must be able to show continuous good cause for not making your claim earlier. There is no set definition of good cause, and each claim is looked at on an individual basis.

If you are under 60, backdated benefit can be awarded for a maximum of 1 month from the date your request for backdated benefit is received. If you are over 60, as your claim will cover the 3 month period prior to you making your claim, providing you were 60 at that time and were liable for rent in respect of the address for which you are claiming benefit.

How do I report Benefit Fraud?

Benefit fraud is where people claim any benefit including Housing Benefit that they are not entitled to.  Anyone who knowingly fails to declare their true circumstances when receiving benefit is committing fraud.

You can report suspected Housing Benefit fraud in the following ways:

Online at - www.gov.uk/report-benefit-fraud

By telephone - Contact the National Benefit Fraud Hotline on 0800 854 440. Your call is free and confidential you do not have to give your name or address. Lines are open Monday to Friday 8.00am to 6.00pm. 

Share this page