How can I claim for benefit?
If you are on a low income and need help paying your rent and council tax, you can make a claim for Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit. It is your responsibility to make the claim! You should not rely on anyone else to make the claim for you unless you are incapable of making a claim yourself at the time.
You can make a claim direct to the council, using the Claim Form, or you can obtain a claim form by telephoning the Benefit Section on 01277 312857. With the claim form is a letter explaining what to do with the application form once it is completed.
Once the form has been completed in full and all relevant original documentation attached, please contact the Benefit Section for an appointment with an Officer of the Council. At the appointment, your form and documents will be checked and verified and if all relevant documents have been produced your application will be passed to an Assessor for your benefit entitlement to be determined.
If further documentation is required, you will be advised and given a time limit within which the additional information must be provided.
If you are incapacitated and unable to come into the office it may be possible to arrange for a Visiting Officer to call on you at home to check and verify your benefit application. Please call 01277 312831 for further details.
Please do not send your form and documents by post.
Do not delay your application as benefit is not normally backdated.
When you bring your application form to the Benefit Section at the council, you should enclose all the documents needed to support your claim. A list of the evidence you are required to provide can be found in the checklist in Part 15 of the form.
Original documents must be supplied - photocopies will not be accepted
You should not delay returning your completed form to the council just because you do not have all the evidence needed - bring your application form to the council with the evidence you are able to provide and provide the remaining evidence as soon as you are able to. Any delay in returning the form could result in a loss of benefit.
Claims normally start from the Monday following the date the application form is received by the Council - although there are exceptions to this rule. Income Support/Income Based Jobseekers Allowance claimants If you are claiming Income Based Jobseekers Allowance or Income Support, you can make a claim to the Department for Work and Pensions. You would usually do this using the form supplied with your claim for Income Support or Income Based Jobseekers Allowance.
You should also contact the Council to advise the Benefit Section that you want to claim Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit. The Benefit Section will send you a claim form for details of your income, your partner's, if you have one, and the income of your children and any other adults who live with you. The form will also ask for details of your savings, your property, and your rent if you are a private tenant.
Contribution Based Jobseekers Allowance Claimants
If you are claiming Contribution Based Jobseekers Allowance you should contact the council immediately for a benefit claim form as you may not be given one by the Jobcentre. Do not delay your application as benefit is not normally backdated.
How long will my benefit last?
There are no longer any set benefit periods. However, you must tell the Benefit Section of any change in your circumstances, for example if you move, or if your income changes.
When will my claim start from?
Your claim will usually start from the Monday following the date your application is received at the Council Offices.
Your claim for benefit can only be backdated where you can show good cause as to why the claim could not have been made earlier:
The Council must look at the reason for the claimant’s failure to make a claim earlier and decide if it is such that any reasonable person of that age, health and experience would probably have failed to claim in the same way.
Some examples of what could be considered good cause are shown below:
- If you were seriously ill and had no-one who could make the claim on your behalf
- If you were unable to manage your affairs and did not have an 'appointee'
- If you were wrongly advised that you would not be entitled to benefit
- If you could not reasonably have been expected to know your rights
- If you had taken reasonable steps to find out what your rights and duties are
Failure to make enquiries does not necessarily mean that good cause has not been shown. The council looks at the evidence and considers whether the person has done what could reasonably be expected.
Ignorance of the law is not by itself 'good cause' - the 'ignorance' must be reasonable (for example where there have been detailed changes in the law). The responsibility for proving good cause lies with the claimant.
- Address: Brentwood Borough Council, Town Hall, Ingrave Road, Brentwood, Essex CM15 8AY
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Telephone: 01277 312500
- Fax: 01277 312743
- Minicom: 01277 312809
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This page was updated on 18 March 2013.
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