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What you need to know about benefits

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1. Benefit support available

Universal Credit

Universal Credit has been introduced in Exeter. This replaces Housing Benefit and a range of other welfare benefits for most working age people. If you are working age and do not fall into any of the categories below you will need to claim Universal Credit for help with any housing costs. 

You should only apply for Housing Benefit if you:

  • live in certain supported accommodation; or

  • have reached pension age. You can check whether this applies to you by clicking on the link to the state pension age calculator; or

  • are part of a couple, one of you has reached state pension age. But only if you were claiming Housing Benefit or state pension credit (as a couple) before 15 May 2019; or

  • you are homeless and the council has placed you in temporary accommodation. (from 11 April 2018)

If you do not fall into any of the categories above you will need to claim Universal Credit for help with your rent. More information about Universal Credit is available online.

For help with your Council Tax you will still need to claim Council Tax Support from the council.


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.  


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.

You can find full details of the scheme in our Council Tax Reduction Scheme Policy document.


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.

To apply please use our DHP online application form.

Please see our Discretionary Housing Payments policy.


Council Tax - Exceptional Hardship Fund (EHF)

This fund has been set up to support our most vulnerable customers. Those 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.

To apply please use our EHF online application form.

Please see our Exceptional Hardship policy.