Making a new claim

You can request a claim form by calling 01483 523596. You will also be offered an appointment to visit our offices to have your claim assessed.

If you can come in to the council offices with your claim form and all the documents we need to see, we can process your claim and tell you your entitlement while you wait. This will take around one hour.

The date we use for the start of your claim is the Monday after the date we receive your application form. In certain circumstances, we may be able to pay from an earlier date.

Information for migrants coming into the UK from the European Economic Area (EEA)

You will not be able to claim Housing Benefit if any of the following apply:

  • You are not entitled to public funds for example Income Support, Jobseeker's Allowance, Employment and Support Allowance.
  • You do not have permission from the Home Office to stay in the country. This is called 'leave to remain in the country'.
  • You are being sponsored to stay in this country by another person living in the UK. This is called being subject to a maintenance undertaking.

Restriction on migrants' access to Housing Benefit

You are not able to make a new claim for Housing Benefit for the first three months after you arrive in the UK, even if you get Jobseeker's Allowance.

To qualify to apply, you must have been able to support yourself (and your family if they live with you), earning at least £153 a week. Your earnings must also have been at, or above, that level for the three months before claiming housing benefit.

If you are not sure if this affects you, please call us on 01483 523596.

Completing and returning your claim form

When you receive your claim form you will have to complete and return it to us with any documents you need to provide to support your claim.

If you don't provide us with all the necessary documents when you first submit your claim, you must do so within one month. We cannot assess your claim until we have all the supporting documents we need.

Please do not send valuable documents in the post. If you bring them into our offices, we will copy them and return them to you.

Backdating a claim

In certain circumstances, we may be able to pay from an earlier date.

To backdate your claim, we must be satisfied that:

  • you have a good reason for not claiming earlier
  • there was a good reason why you did not claim for the whole period, for which you want to backdate the claim.

For example:

  • if you did not immediately claim benefit after leaving hospital
  • if you were ill and had no-one to make a claim on your behalf
  • if you have suffered a recent family bereavement.

Backdating for pensioners

If you or your partner is of pensionable age, we can backdate your claim for a maximum of three months.

Backdating for people of working age

If you are not a pensioner, then the person who is making the backdated claim must do so in writing. We can only backdate a claim for a maximum of one month.

What happens if you make a backdated claim

We will consider your claim. The more information you provide to support your claim, the quicker our decision will be.

We will write to you with our decision and reasons.

You have the right of appeal against the decision we make.

Claiming in advance

If you know you're moving to a new address, you can claim Housing Benefit for up to 13 weeks (17 weeks if you're aged 60 or over) before you move.

You will not usually get any money before you move in.

How we pay your housing benefit

We pay you every two weeks in arrears, directly into your bank account.

If we pay your landlord directly, we pay every four weeks in arrears.

If you are a council tenant, we pay directly to your rent account every week.

If you do not have a bank account, we may be able to make payments to a friend or relative. We cannot make payments into a Post Office account that your other benefits are paid into.

How we pay your Council Tax Support

If you are entitled to help, we will pay the Council Tax Support directly onto your Council Tax account for the whole year.

This means you will get a reduced Council Tax bill. It will show on your bill as Council Tax Support. Please see our Council Tax Support page for more information.

Reviewing your claim

To reduce the risk of fraud and error in the benefits system, we will regularly review your benefit claim to make sure that you are getting the right benefit.

We will select claims for review throughout the year with the aim of identifying undeclared changes in circumstances, such as unreported increases in income or savings and changes to the household such as people moving in or out.

Please do not wait for us to review your claim to tell us about a relevant change.

You may be running up a large overpayment that you will have to pay back later, or you could be missing out on the support you are entitled to.

All claims will be subject to a review. We could review your claim in a number of ways:

  • Telephone reviews - we will phone you to go through your details.
  • Postal reviews - we will send you a form to complete and return to us.
  • Office reviews - we will ask you to visit our offices and review your claim there.

Please note that we will apply any unreported changes in your circumstances that lead to you getting less benefit from the date the change happened. This may end up in a large overpayment, which you will have to pay back.

If we find a change that is beneficial to you, we will only be able to award extra benefit from the Monday after you provide us with the information and evidence of the change. This means that by not telling us about a change you could miss out on extra benefit.

If we cannot complete the review because we have not been able to contact you, or you have not responded to our letters, we will suspend your claim.

Page owner: Victor Chinwa. Last updated: 26/04/2018 10:52