Housing Benefit is a government scheme run by Local Authorities (Councils) to help people on low incomes to pay for their rent.
Welfare reform changes 2013 to 2014
The Welfare Reform Act has now passed through Parliament and is set to completely change the way in which welfare benefits, including Housing Benefit, are paid.
See how the changes could impact you if you're currently claiming Housing Benefit or other benefits:
Entitlement to Housing Benefit
Anyone who has to pay rent for his or her home can claim Housing Benefit:
- You can claim Housing Benefit even if you are working,
- You do not need to have made any National Insurance contributions,
- You can still claim Housing Benefit even if you are not getting any other benefits.
You can live in:
- Privately rented accommodation,
- A hostel,
- A hotel,
- A guest house or other similar accommodation,
- Or other types of rented accommodation (except most residential care or nursing homes).
To be entitled to Housing Benefit:
- You must live in the UK,
- Occupy the dwelling as your home,
- Be liable to pay rent for the dwelling.
Housing Benefit is not available if you:
- Have savings of £16,000 or more (unless you are in receipt of Guaranteed Pension Credit),
- Are in a co-ownership scheme,
- Own your own home or are buying your own home,
- Are in a nursing home or residential care home,
- Are a full time student in higher education (unless you are in an exempt category e.g. single parents),
- Live in the same household as, and have to pay rent to, a close relative, in-law or employer.
How much can you claim
To work out your Housing Benefit entitlement the Benefits Assessment Unit will look at:
- The money that you and your partner have coming in, including earnings, benefits, tax credits, and pensions.
- The capital that you and your partner may have (e.g. bank, building society and post office accounts, investments, cash and property, etc.).
- Your circumstances, such as your age and the size of family you have and the ages of your children, whether you or any of your family are disabled, and whether there is anyone who lives with you who could help with the rent.
If you rent your home from a private landlord, please read the information on the Local Housing Allowance page.
How to apply for housing benefit
People of working age (18-59 years old) who are either out of work or working less than an average of 16 hours per week and wish to claim Income Support, Job Seeker's Allowance, Incapacity Benefit or Widow's Benefit at the same time should telephone the Job Centre Plus service contact centre on 0800-055-6688 (8am - 6pm Monday to Friday) to claim.
All other customers, including pensioners, can apply by completing Benefits application forms online.
This is also available from any Council finance cash office, Housing, Social Services, local education office or the Benefits Assessment Unit.
The documents you need to provide
When you make a claim for Housing Benefit we always need to see original documents for you, your partner and any other people who live in your household. Copies will not be accepted. Documents can be brought to any of our offices or can be posted to the Benefits Assessment Unit (PO Box 660, Halifax HX1 1ZT). Any documents posted to the Council will be returned by second-class post. However the Benefits Assessment Unit will not accept responsibility for the loss of any documents sent by post. It is therefore recommended that you bring any valuable documents to one of the offices listed on the contact page.
In order to process your claim for Housing Benefit and/or Council Tax Benefit we will need to see the following:
- Evidence of identity for both you and your partner.
- Evidence of the National Insurance Number for you and your partner.
- Evidence of all income for both you and your partner and any other people who live in your household.
- Evidence of all capital (for example all bank, building society and post office accounts, investments, cash, property, etc.) for you and your partner.
In order to process your claim for Housing Benefit we will also need to see the following evidence of rent charged. The evidence you provide must include the following:
- Your name,
- The address of the property being rented,
- The name and address of your landlord and/or agent,
- The date the tenancy started,
- The amount of rent being charged,
- What is included in the rent, for example, meals, gas, electricity,
- How often the rent is charged, for example, weekly, fortnightly, 4 weekly or monthly,
- The length of the tenancy.
Some examples of documents that might provide this are:
- Current tenancy agreement (signed and dated),
- Signed and dated letter from landlord/agent,
- Up to date rent book.
Fair processing notice
Calderdale MBC will ensure that any personal information provided by you in your application for Housing and or Council Tax Benefits will be treated in accordance with the provisions of the Data Protection Act 1998. Calderdale MBC is the Data Controller of the information you have provided on this form and is registered with the Information Commissioner’s Office for the purposes of processing your personal information in relation to your application.
The Council is required by law to protect the public funds it administers. It may share information provided to it with other bodies responsible for auditing or administering public funds, in order to prevent and detect fraud. Therefore we may use the information you have provided on your application form to prevent and detect fraud. The Council may also share this information, for the same purposes, with other organisations which handle public funds. It may also be supplied to Experian, a Credit Reference Agency for the same purpose. The Council will not share your information for any other purpose without your explicit consent.
For further information about Data Protection please contact 0845 2456000 and ask to speak with the Council's Information Manager.