What you need to know about benefits

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1. Benefit support available

Housing Benefit

Housing Benefit is a means tested benefit for people on a low income to help them pay their rent. A means test is a check on your financial situation.

You may be able to get Housing Benefit if you are on other benefits, work part-time, work full-time or are on a low income.

By rent we mean the payments you make to live in your home.

You can claim Housing Benefit from us if you rent your home from:

  • a private landlord or letting agency

  • a housing association

  • a charity

  • the council

You can still claim Council Tax Support even if you own your home, but you won't be able to claim Housing Benefit. If you own your own home, you may still be entitled to help with your mortgage payments.  Visit the Department of Work and Pensions website for information.  

Universal Credit – If you or your partner claim Universal Credit then in most cases you will receive your housing costs as part of the Universal Credit claim. You will not be able to claim Housing Benefit from us, but should still claim Council Tax Support from us if you need help with your Council Tax bill.

Council Tax Support

Council Tax Support is a local means tested scheme for people on a low income to help them pay their Council Tax bill. You may be able to get Council Tax Support if you are on other benefits, work part-time or work full-time on a low income.

You must be liable to pay Council Tax to apply for Council Tax Support.

Further details of our local scheme can be found here.

Try our Benefits Calculator to see if you could qualify

We are making changes to our Council Tax Support scheme from April 2017. You can find out more here.

Discretionary Housing Payments (DHP)

If Housing Benefit or Universal Credit Housing Costs does not fully cover your rent you will have a shortfall. If this is the case, you may wish to apply for a Discretionary Housing Payment (DHP).

The government has given us a limited amount of money to assist those that need extra help with housing costs. Discretionary Housing Payments, are not payments of benefit; they are separate payments, to be made at our discretion, if we believe you need extra financial support.

DHPs can be awarded to cover all or part of a shortfall or assist with the cost of taking up a tenancy. As well as helping with rent shortfalls, DHP can be considered for:

  • rent deposits

  • rent in advance

  • other lump sum costs associated with a housing need.

If you wish to apply for DHP, please download and complete:

Discretionary Housing Payments form [pdf]
Discretionary Housing Payments form [doc]

Our Discretionary Housing Payments policy can be found here.

Council Tax - Exceptional Hardship Fund (EHF)

This fund has been set up to support our most vulnerable customers who are having difficulties paying their Council Tax due to the shortfall between their Council Tax liability and payments of Council Tax Support.

EHF payments are set up to provide short term relief and should not be seen as a long term solution to debt problems.

You can make a claim to EHF by email, by visiting us or over the telephone.

Our Exceptional Hardship policy can be found here.