Help with rent or Council Tax
Help with rent
If you are of pensionable age, or are working age and are living in Council-provided temporary accommodation or supported accommodation, you can claim Housing Benefit to help with your rent.
If you do not meet any of the above categories, you will need to claim Universal Credit for help with your rent. More information is available at Universal Credit.
Help with Council Tax
You can also claim Council Tax Reduction Scheme for help with Council Tax payments.
Who is not eligible
You will not be able to get Housing Benefit or Council Tax Reduction Scheme if:
- you are not the owner or the tenant of the property
- have more than £16,000 in capital (example, bank/building society accounts, shares, bonds, any property you own other than where you currently live)
- your status in the UK excludes you from receiving public funds
- are a full time student, unless:
- you are a full time student who is also a lone parent, or
- are disabled, or
- under 19 following a further education course, or
- have reached State Pension age
- Check the Benefit entitlement calculator to see how much help you could get; this calculator is only a guide to your potential entitlements.
Report a change or ask a question
- Report a change in circumstances or ask a question if you already have a claim (example your income has changed, or someone has moved in or out).
Provide evidence/documents/landlord or third party enquiry
If the Benefits Office has contacted you asking for evidence/documents, you need to provide evidence to support a new claim you have made, or you are a landlord/third party providing documents or making an enquiry on behalf of a customer, you can provide photographs of your documents or scanned documents at Benefits - evidence submission.
Housing Benefit claim review
We are reviewing residents housing benefit as part of the Department for Work & Pensions (DWP) Housing Benefit Award Accuracy initiative (HBAA).
This is a new initiative to ensure benefit awards are correct and that those who are entitled get the right amount.
Why have I been contacted to review my housing benefit claim?
The DWP has sent us a list of housing benefit cases they have identified. The DWP require the review of cases on this list to be undertaken by the Councils so although you may have recently reported changes (or may have no changes to report), or may have completed a review in a previous year, the DWP still requires that this new review of your claim is completed.
You will be asked to tell us about your current circumstances such as your household’s income and any savings and investments you hold. This will have to be completed about anyone who currently lives with you.
If you have received a letter that says your claim has been selected for a full review, please complete the claim review form.
As explained in the letter you have received, please ensure that you complete this review form within two weeks of the date of the letter.
Check current awards
- Check your current awards at your Housing Benefit account.
Benefits office customer services
You can submit all the necessary documents online to support your claim.
If you need to post a document, you can send it to:
PO Box 713
You can telephone 0345 302 2317 to ask questions about your entitlement once your claim has been processed.
If you need help completing a claim form, you can make a telephone appointment by calling 0345 302 2317.
Self-service facilities are available at the Civic Offices, Bexleyheath and at local libraries, however, the staff here will not be able to assist you with any specific queries regarding your claim, so if you need to ask specific questions please contact the Benefits Office online or by telephone.
Housing Benefit overpayments
If you have been overpaid Housing Benefit, you can make a repayment.
If you are having difficulty paying and want to discuss this, please complete Report a change or ask a question form, or write to the Overpayments Team at Erith Town Hall, or telephone 01322 356002.
What to do if you think you are getting the wrong amount of benefit
The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) sets the rules for claiming benefits, which states how much the Council can pay you and the date from which your claim can be paid.
These rules apply to all Councils who administer claims for housing benefit.
If you disagree with how your claim has been worked out or the amount that we are paying, you have the right to appeal against the decision that we have made.
When we work out your claim, you will receive a letter telling you:
- how much benefit you qualify for
- what income and savings we have used to work out your claim
- the weekly eligible rent and/or Council Tax we have used
- any reduction to your awards because there are other adults living in your home, this does not include your partner
- any reduction to your Housing Benefit because of the Benefit Cap or Social Sector Size Restriction (bedroom tax)
If any of the details are wrong or if you want to know more about how your claim was worked out, please write to us and ask for a written explanation of the assessment or any part of it that you would like explained.
Disagree with the decision
If you disagree with the way we have worked out your claim, you should write to us at Benefits Office, PO Box 713, Erith, DA8 1UN and say that you would like to appeal and the reasons why you think we are wrong. You should provide any evidence you have that supports your reasons.
You must do this within one calendar month of the date of the award letter you disagree with. We will reply to you in writing with the outcome of our reconsideration of your claim, and the reasons for this.
How to appeal
If you still feel that the decision made about your benefit is wrong, you can ask for your claim to be heard by an independent appeals tribunal.
You must make your appeal in writing to the Benefits Office, PO Box 713, Erith, DA8 1UN within one calendar month of the date of your award letter/our reconsideration letter or your appeal may not be heard by the tribunal.
If your appeal or request for revision is late, write to us explaining the reasons for this and we may still be able to consider your appeal if there was good reason for the delay.
If you are appealing to the Tribunals Service (Housing Benefit) or Valuation Tribunal (Council Tax Reduction Scheme), they will decide whether a late appeal can be heard.