How do I claim benefit?

If you want to claim help with paying your rent or Council Tax, apply on-line or complete a benefit claim form.

You should claim straightaway. Only certain people can still claim Housing Benefit:

  • people with 3 or more dependent children
  • people placed in temporary accommodation
  • people of pensionable age
  • people in accommodation where care, support and supervision is provided by their landlord

All other working age people would need to claim Universal Credit if they needed help with their housing costs.

Housing Benefit is usually paid as soon as you become liable to pay rent, and have occupied your home, but you must claim immediately. If you are receiving or have claimed Universal Credit your housing costs will be paid within your Universal Credit award and you cannot claim Housing Benefit.

Council Tax Support will be awarded from the day your liability for Council Tax began; this is usually the date you are billed from provided your claim is received within that week. You still need to claim Council Tax Support, if you have claimed or are receiving Universal Credit.

If, due to exceptional circumstances, you were unable to claim at the correct time, it may be possible to backdate your Housing Benefit.

If you think that this applies to you:

  • provide details of the date you wish to claim and the reason why you did not claim earlier
  • you should provide evidence to support your claim

Apply for backdated benefit.

We will then consider whether you have shown good cause for not claiming earlier. This can be paid for a maximum of 1 month for working age people.

People who have reached the qualifying age for Pension Credit may have their claim treated as made earlier, up to a maximum of three months without having to show good cause.

There is no provision to backdate Council Tax Support.

What information will I have to provide?

You may have to provide original documents of the following:

  • proof of identity for you and your partner
  • proof of National Insurance number for you and your partner
  • full details of all income you and your partner receive
  • name, date of birth and income details of others living in the household plus their National Insurance numbers
  • details of savings and investments and any bank/building society accounts you and your partner may have
  • proof of the rent you have to pay

When you make a claim on-line, you will be sent an email with a link to send us any documents we have asked for.

I am self-employed what other information do I have to provide?

If you are starting a new business and do not have any audited accounts or day books. You can download a self employed earnings information.

If you are receiving Universal Credit you can also upload your monthly award to our website, if we ask you for it.

If you or your partner has been trading for more than 12 months, you should provide profit and loss accounts prepared by your accountant or your most recent business accounts for the last 12 months. Copies of accounts must include all of the following:

  • proof of all expenses
  • details from the Inland Revenue confirming income tax and National Insurance contributions
  • details from the company that runs your personal pension scheme showing contributions made.

How is self-employed income worked out?

We calculate the net profit from the proof provided. The net profit is calculated as follows:

Gross income less any allowable business expenses = Gross Profit.
Gross Profit less any notional tax, National Insurance and pension
contributions = Net Profit.

What are allowable business expenses?

Only the expenses which we consider being reasonable and are totally for the running of the business will be deducted from the gross income figure.

Business Partnerships

If the claimant is self-employed in a partnership, the gross profit will be split between the business partners. To confirm how the business is divided, the Deed of Partnership should be provided.

Couples who are Business Partners

The above guidelines will also be taken into account even if the business partners are a couple. This makes sure that the deductions for notional tax and National Insurance are correctly worked out.

Child minders

When calculating what income should be used for self-employed childminders, we do not deduct any business expenses. The net profit is obtained by deducting tax, National Insurance contributions and half of any pension contributions from one third of the gross profit.

Are some of my Self Employed earnings disregarded?

In some circumstances you may be awarded extra money to help start up your business. The following are incomes are ignored within your self employed earnings for Housing Benefit and Council Tax support:

  • new Enterprise Allowance
  • access to work scheme payments

What if my circumstances change within my self employment?

When an assessment from your self employment earnings has been made, normally it will not be changed for your award period, unless there is an identifiable change which has affected your earnings, for example;

  • an order from a new customer, increasing income
  • the loss of an existing customer, reducing income
  • an increase in the price of the goods and services provided, increasing income
  • an increase in the cost of supplies or services, decreasing income

What if I disagree with my entitlement?

If you disagree with how we worked out your entitlement you should let us know in writing within one month from the date shown on your notification and we will look at your claim again.