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Housing benefit FAQs

Erith Benefit Office, Town Hall, Walnut Tree Road, DA8 1TL is open to the public Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday between 9am and 5pm. An appointment system is in operation.

The nearest train station is Erith, served by South Eastern trains. The Town Hall is on the following bus routes: 99, 229, 428, 469, B12 and B13.

You can also complete a claim form online using the self service computers available at the Civic Offices in Bexleyheath, and at local libraries. However, no-one will be able to help you if you have a specific query regarding benefits. The Civic Offices are open Monday to Friday 9am - 5pm. The address is:

London Borough of Bexley
Civic Offices
2 Watling Street

You can phone us on 0345 3022317 (this is a local rate telephone number) between 9am and 5pm Monday to Friday.

You can also send an email to

Q: How much benefit could I get?

A: We cannot give you any help towards water charges, heating charges and certain other charges such as those for washing your own clothes or cleaning you room or flat. You must pay these.

Q: What happens if I live with a close relative and they charge me rent?

A: If you live with one of the following people and they are also your Landlord you cannot claim housing benefit:

Q: What happens if I rent a flat from a close relative who does not live there?

A: If the relative from who you rent the flat does not live there it is you who can claim housing benefit provided that the tenancy is let on a commercial basis.

Q: Benefits - What should I do if my circumstances change?

A: If there has been a change in your circumstances you must tell us immediately. If you do not do so, you may lose benefit entitlement, or may incur an overpayment of benefit.

Q: When does my benefit start?

A: If you are already living in a property your benefit will normally start on the Monday after you make your claim.

Q: Can I claim backdated benefit?

A: If you wish to claim backdated benefit you will have to show 'good cause' as to why you failed to claim earlier.

Q: What happens if I need to go away from my home?

A: If you go away from your home for a week or more you should contact us before you go. If you do not contact us your benefit may stop and you may have to make a new claim on your return.

Q: Going into hospital

A: If you go into hospital we can pay your benefit for up to 52 weeks provided that you are expected to return home within that time. However, the amount of benefit that we can pay you may decrease if you are in hospital for more than 6 weeks.

Q: Fleeing domestic violence

A: It is possible for housing benefit to be paid for up to 52 weeks if you have had to leave your home because of fear of domestic violence. If you are in a women's refuge you should ask one of the workers to contact us, if you feel unable to do so yourself, even if the refuge is not in Bexley. We will not disclose your refuge address to anyone.

Q: Going into prison

A: If you are in prison as a remand prisoner you can still receive benefit for up to 52 weeks. If during this time you are sentenced and committed to prison your housing benefit will stop unless your sentence is for 13 weeks or less. You do not have to inform us before you go to prison to receive benefits however you or a friend, or relative, or a prison social worker should inform us of what has happened as soon as possible.

Q: How do I complain about a Council service?

A: We want to provide good quality services for everyone. But things can go wrong. If they do, we need to know so we can put them right and learn from them.

Q: Can I get housing benefit on two homes?

A: We normally only pay housing benefit for the property that you live in as your home. However, in special circumstances, we can pay housing benefit for two homes.

Q: Can I get housing benefit for a previous address?

A: We can pay housing benefit for your previous home for up to four weeks, even if you do not have to pay for rent for your new home when you have moved into your new home and you could not reasonably have avoided paying rent for your previous home.

Q: How can I claim housing benefit on two homes or for a previous address?

A: You do not have to make a separate claim, but you will need to provide evidence that you meet the eligibility conditions. Please contact the Benefits Office for more information.

Q: Can I get housing benefit before moving into the property?

A: We can also pay housing benefit for a new property for up to four weeks before the date that you moved into your new home in the following circumstances.

Q: How do I get a claim form?

A: Save time and apply online.

Q: How to contact the benefits service

A: We are open to the public Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday between 9am and 5pm. An appointment system is in operation.

Q: What happens if I am under 35?

A: If you are single, under the age of 35 and you rent from a private landlord, you will normally only be entitled to enough housing benefit to cover the average cost of a single room in a shared house in your area.