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Claim Housing Benefit

Who can claim Housing Benefit

Housing Benefit helps you pay your rent if you are on a low income. It can be claimed by anyone who pays rent to a housing association or private landlord, whether you are in work or not.

Only the tenant, the tenant's partner or official appointee can claim Housing Benefit. A landlord cannot claim for them.

How to claim Housing Benefit

You should claim as soon as you need help because a claim cannot normally be backdated.

Housing Benefit entitlement normally starts from the Monday after we have received your claim, so it is essential that you claim promptly.

In most cases, you will only be entitled whilst you are living in the property you are claiming for. This means you will have to pay full rent for any period between taking on a tenancy and actually moving in, or if you move out before your period of notice ends.

You must make a claim in writing for Housing Benefit.

To do this, you can:

In certain circumstance we can offer a visiting service to help you complete your Housing Benefit claim, please contact us to request this service.

You must return all forms to our offices within one month of the day they were issued.

Income Support, Job Seeker's Allowance (income based) or Employment and Support Allowance (income related)

If you are also claiming for Income Support, Job Seeker's Allowance (income based) or Employment and Support Allowance (income related), you can claim Housing Benefit at the same time. Jobcentre Plus will complete the forms and forward them directly to us. If you have not heard from us within two weeks of your claim, please telephone us to check that we have received it.

Pension Credit

You will be able to claim Housing Benefit during your telephone claim with the Pension Disability and Carers Service. They will send us your claim and confirm you are receiving Pension Credit.

Universal Credit

You will receive help for rent in your Universal Credit payments. You cannot normally claim Housing Benefit if you are receiving Universal Credit.

Information needed to support your Housing Benefit claim

The application form sets out clearly in the notes at the side of each page the information you must provide with your claim.

Any documents that you are required to submit in support of your claim must be original documents. Photocopies are not acceptable.

If you do not send in all the information needed at the same time as your claim, this will delay the assessment of your claim. We aim to assess your claim within 14 days of receiving all the necessary information.

If you visit the office to deliver your form this additional information will normally be verified and photocopied immediately, with all your documents returned to you at the time. If you send your application form through the post the documents will be verified, photocopied and returned to you on the day of receipt. We have strict procedures in place for registering and returning documents sent by post.

Checking your Housing Benefit claim

We aim to eliminate fraudulent claims from the system and have procedures for the detailed checking of all claims and verifying that all the information provided is correct. You must tell us promptly if you have a change in circumstances that affects your entitlement. A visiting officer may call at your home from time to time to check that the information you have given is correct.

The Visiting Officers will provide proof of their identity. If they do not produce this you should not let them into your home.

The information you provide will be entered onto a computer system and the details may be matched with other sources of information, such as other local authorities, Department for Work and Pensions and Her Majesty's Revenues and Customs, to ensure that there are no discrepancies.

We have a prosecution policy and anyone giving false information on a claim will not only be required to repay the money but will also face prosecution through the courts. This may involve you attending an interview at our offices.

Housing Benefit and Council Tax Reduction fraud