There are two types of benefit available: Housing Benefit and Council Tax Reduction. They are paid to people who qualify for assistance with their housing costs. Both types of benefit are means-tested.
How to make a claim
The fastest way to check if you qualify, or to start a claim, is by using our online eBenefits service:
The form indicates what you may be entitled to and gives you the option of submitting a claim. This claim will be sent to our Benefit Team. Usually your claim will start from the Monday following receipt of your form.
We may need to contact you for further information or evidence (for example, original documents) to support your claim. To prevent any unnecessary delay in paying the benefit you are entitled to, it is very important that you provide any proof requested as quickly as possible.
The full Council Tax Reduction Scheme can be found at the foot of this page.
How benefits are paid
Council Tax Reduction is a discount credited directly to your Council Tax account, reducing the amount of Council Tax bill that you have to pay.
Housing Benefit is paid by BACS direct to your bank or building society account; this is our preferred method of payment as the money is available immediately and it is the safest method. We cannot pay into the Post Office account that other state benefits are paid into.
All payments are made 4-weekly in arrears.
If you are more than 8 weeks in arrears with your rent we can pay your landlord directly, however they must agree to accept payment. In some circumstances we can pay your landlord direct even if you do not have arrears, however there are certain criteria which have to be satisfied to allow this. Please contact us for more details and an application form.
Who qualifies for the benefits?
Benefit is awarded depending on your income and savings as well as income received by other members of the household.
You may qualify if you are:
- Of pensionable age receiving other state benefits
- Working but on a low income
- Working part time
- Self employed on a low income
The amount of benefit entitlement depends upon:
- The amount of Council Tax and/or the amount of rent you are liable to pay.
- The number of bedrooms in your property.
- Who lives in your house
- Your weekly income (the total amount of income you receive)
- Your capital or savings
- Whether a non-dependant lives with you such as a grown up son or daughter, parent, or friend
You will not receive Benefit if you have savings of more than £16,000, unless you are over 60 and in receipt of Pension Credit Guarantee Credit.
Please note that Maintenance payments received, Child Benefit, Attendance Allowance and Disability Living Allowance are disregarded, however we still need to know about these, as they are beneficial to your claim.
When to make a claim
You should make a claim as soon as your circumstances change and you face financial difficulty.
Do not delay in sending in your claim form even if any of the proof we ask for is not available at the moment - you could lose benefit. However, you must send the information as soon as possible. We cannot work out your benefit without it.
You can apply for backdated benefit to allow you to claim from an earlier date, if you can show that you had a good reason for not claiming earlier.
Tell us about a change in your circumstances straight away
We sometimes match your income data, like earnings and occupational pension details, with that held at Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs (HMRC) to make sure your entitlement is correct. If there is a discrepancy and you have been overpaid, we will require this to be paid back, and depending on the circumstances we may report to the DWP that a possible fraud has taken place. So make sure you tell us about your changes straight away, rather than wait for any data matching to take place.
If you or your partner are over 60 years old and would like to claim Pension credits, information can be found at GOV.UK or by phone on 0800 99 1234.
Help and advice
Citizens Advice North Hertfordshire can assist with general benefit enquiries. They can also advise you if you are not satisfied with the result of your claim.