Anyone living in rented accommodation on a low or benefit based income can apply for housing and council tax benefit.
In Bexley, housing and council tax benefit claims are assessed by the Benefits Office at Erith Town Hall.
Homeless and advice officers can offer general advice about eligibility for benefits. They are available at Bexley Civic Offices, Broadway, Bexleyheath.
Housing benefit is help with rent payments for people who have a low income or receive benefits such as Income Support or Job seekers allowance. Some people may get up to 100% of their eligible rent paid.
You can claim this benefit if you pay rent and have less than £16,000 in savings.
We can not help you pay a mortgage, you will need to contact the Benefits Agency if you require this help.
Warm Home Discount Scheme
Vulnerable pensioners who have not responded to a letter about the Warm Home Discount Scheme must do so by the 14 March 2014 or they will miss out on a £135 rebate on their electricity bill for winter 2013/14.
They must call the Helpline on 0845 603 9439 to confirm their eligibility. The line is open from Monday to Friday between 8.30am and 4.30pm
To be eligible for a Warm Home Discount, people must have been getting the Pension Credit Guarantee Credit on 20 July 2013 and they or their partner must be named on the electricity account with one of the participating energy suppliers.
More information about the Warm Home Discount Scheme is available at GOV.UK.
The deadline for Winter Fuel Payment applications for winter 2013/2014 is 31 March 2014
For winter 2013/14, the payment will apply to those people who were born on or before 5 January 1952 who normally live in the UK throughout the week of 16 to 22 September 2013.
Those who are eligible could get between £100 and £300 tax-free to help pay their heating bills. Most people should have received their money by Christmas but if someone qualifies and does not get paid automatically, they will need to make a claim.
The Winter Fuel Payment does not affect other benefits.
For more information and to check eligibility please visit GOV.UK.
European Economic Area Migrants
From 1 March 2014 migrants from the European Economic Area (EEA) will be subject to a minimum earnings threshold when they claim income-based benefits.
The minimum earnings threshold has been set at £149 per week for the current year and at £153 for the 2014/15 tax year. This is the same level at which workers start to pay National Insurance.
Migrant workers must prove that they have been earning this amount in the UK for three consecutive months prior to claiming. They will need to provide appropriate evidence such as wage slips, contracts of employment or, if they have been self-employed, evidence of their earnings from their business records.
If they satisfy the terms of the minimum earnings threshold their work will be automatically treated as 'genuine and effective'. If the terms are not met then further consideration will be given to decide whether their work should still be considered 'genuine and effective'.
The minimum earnings threshold will apply initially to income-based Jobseeker's Allowance (JSA), Housing Benefit, Child Benefit and Child Tax Credit. It may be extended to other benefits later.
The minimum earnings threshold is the latest in a series of measures that the Government has introduced in the past few months for migrants who apply for income-based benefits.
The other measures include:
- Strengthening the Habitual Residence Test in order to improve evidence gathering and decision making
- Requiring migrant jobseekers to be resident in the UK for at least three months before they become eligible to claim income-based JSA. This also applies to UK nationals who return from living or working abroad
- Putting a six-month limit on the length of time EEA jobseekers can receive income-based JSA. Claimants will not continue to receive income-based JSA unless they can provide compelling evidence that they have a genuine prospect of work
More information on the new measures for EEA migrants is available at GOV.UK.
Save time - go online
Use our online service to make a claim for benefit, or to check your entitlement 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, or to tell us of a change of circumstances.
Changes to housing benefit from April 2013
New benefit rules for working age claimants in local authority, or registered housing association property
From April 2013 the government is introducing new rules for working age claimants that set out the number of bedrooms housing benefit will pay for if you are renting from a local authority, a registered housing association, or other social landlord. This may mean a possible loss of benefit. More information is available on New rules for housing association tenants.
- The Welfare Benefits 'Cap'
As part of the introduction to Universal Credit, the government is introducing a welfare benefits cap, or a maximum limit, on the total amount of benefits people can get. More information is available on The Welfare Benefits Cap.
- For Changes to Council Tax Benefit see Council Tax Reduction Scheme
Bexley Benefit Service Standards - Putting Customers First
At the London Borough of Bexley we're committed to putting you first, providing a high quality service to everyone. More details are available as a PDF under related downloads.