In this article
- How to make a claim for housing benefit
- The information you should make sure you provide
- What to look out for to help you make an error-free application
If you are renting your home from the council you may be able to claim housing benefit to help pay the rent. You can do this if you are working or have a low income. You can also claim housing benefit even if you are in receipt of or about to claim other benefits such as income support. In fact you can still claim housing benefit even if you are in receipt of multiple benefits including Council Tax benefit.
The only thing to remember is the amount of housing benefit you receive will depend on how much you receive in other benefits. That’s because various benefits have now been replaced by one benefit called Universal Credit. The recently introduced Benefits Cap will also determine how much housing benefit you get, as will the Bedroom Tax.
These measures were introduced by the government in April 2013.
You need a housing benefit form to claim housing benefit and you can obtain the form by:
- Contacting your council asking them to send you one
- Dropping by the council office to collect one
- Applying by email
- Applying online via the council’s website
You may even be able to ask the council to help fill the form in with you during a special appointment.
If you are claiming other benefits and have filled out an HCTB1 form then it is possible you don’t need to fill out another form. Contact the council to confirm this when applying for housing benefit.
When completing the housing benefit form
- Read the form carefully taking your time to make sure you understand what is being asked
- Give as much information as possible
- Answer ALL the questions relevant to you
- Be honest, don’t leave any information out if you think it will count against you
- Never lie as you can be prosecuted for giving false information or signing your name to information you know to be untrue
- Seek advice and help if you need assistance filling in the form
You may be asked to supply evidence when claiming
Again, make sure you read the form carefully in case you need to supply evidence to support your claim. This may be wage slips or your birth certificate. If you have trouble getting your hands on the evidence they need, submit the form anyway and then get the evidence to them as soon as possible and definitely within 28 days of handing the form in.
Ensure you submit the evidence before 28 days is up as the council will cancel your claim if you don’t. Let the council know if you are having trouble getting the information as they may allow you longer to find it.
When you have completed the form
Send the form back to the council or hand it in to the housing department in person if you prefer. TTV recommends tenants hand the form in personally as they can get a receipt as proof of submission. This will help if there are any delays (and delays do often occur).
Whilst there you can also ask the council staff to photocopy your important documents (if you have supplied them) so you can take the originals with you.
It is also better to hand the form in personally as items sent can sometimes go missing in the council offices.
Because housing benefit is usually paid the Monday after the claim form arrives at the council’s housing department, you might lose valuable payment time if there is a delay in processing your application.
As mentioned above, if you are claiming other benefits you may have filled in an HCTB1 form at the jobcentre. If you did then the jobcentre should have sent the form to the council. If you are not sure that this has been done, find out and if necessary get another HCTB1 form to fill in and send it to the council yourself.
Where to go for further help and advice
You can download the housing benefit application form HCTB1 from the Gov.uk website. Alternatively you can drop by the local Jobcentre Plus and ask for a benefits claim pack, which includes the application form.
If you need help, call of visit your local Citizen’s Advice office or consult a welfare advisor.
- Housing benefit can be claimed by working people on a low income or people who claim other benefits
- The amount of housing benefit you get depends on other factors such as how much you get from other benefits as well as the maximum you can receive overall under the new benefits cap rules.
- Read and complete the housing benefit claim form carefully and thoroughly
- It is vital you submit any evidence such as wage slips or birth certificate with the form or within 28 days if you can’t find the documents at the time of submission
- Hand the form in personally to the council offices to ensure your claim is processed quickly