From 1st April 2013 changes to Housing and Council Tax Benefit will take place. For further information please go to the A Guide to Welfare Reform page and/or the Changes to Council Tax Benefit - Consultation page.
Help with your housing costs
If you are on a low income, or in receipt of either Income Based Jobseekers Allowance or Income Support or Employment & Support Allowance, you may qualify for help with your housing costs. You do not have to be unemployed or retired to qualify for help - assistance is available to anyone on a low income including people in full time employment.
Help with your rent
Housing Benefit is available to anyone on a low income who has to pay rent for the property they occupy as their home. It is available as either a rent rebate or as a rent allowance.
- If you pay rent to the Council you may be eligible for a Rent Rebate.
- If you pay rent to a private landlord or to a Housing Association you may qualify for a rent allowance.
- If you have purchased a property under a joint ownership scheme you may be able to claim help with the payments you make for the part of the property that you rent.
Housing Benefit is not available for payments you make under a mortgage agreement - although, if you are in receipt of either Income Based Jobseekers Allowance or Income Support, you may be entitled to some help with your mortgage interest from the Department for Work and Pensions.
How is it paid?
Housing Benefit may be paid in the form of a Rent Allowance (paid to tenants of private landlords) or in the form of a Rent Rebate (paid to council tenants). Rent Allowance is usually paid by cheque to either the tenant (2 weekly in arrears) or their landlord (4 weekly in arrears). Rent Rebate is paid directly to the tenant’s rent account each week .
Who can claim Housing Benefit?
Anyone who has a legally enforceable liability to pay rent in order to occupy their home is eligible to claim Housing Benefit. In general, you can’t claim if:
- You are not resident at the property (except for certain temporary absences)
- You rent a property you previously owned
- You rent a former joint home from an ex-partner
- You have responsibility for the landlord’s child
- You pay rent to a close relative who lives with you
- You have a mortgage
- Your agreement is not on a commercial basis
- The liability was created to take advantage of the Housing Benefit Scheme
- You have recently come to live in the U.K. from abroad (there are exceptions to this rule)
- You are a full time student (although there are exceptions to this rule)
- You have more than £16,000 in capital
Your rent may be restricted if it is considered too expensive or if the property is overlarge for your needs. If your rent is restricted to an amount less than you are required to pay you would be responsible for making up any shortfall between the actual rent charged and the amount of any Housing Benefit paid.
If you would like to download and print-off one of the benefit forms available on this web-page, you can do so by viewing one of the options below:
- Appeals Form
- Benefits Claim Form
- Letter that accompanies the Benefit Claim Form
- Change of Circumstances Form
- Payment of Housing Benefit by BACS form
If you download a benefit form,to help us to assess your entitlement to benefit as quickly as possible, please contact the Benefit Team once you have completed it to make an appointment with a benefit assessor.
Please also see the How to claim Benefit section
The easy way to contact the Benefits service is by using the on line form Benefits Service where you will be given the opportunity to :
- Make an enquiry
- Report an incident
- Make a complaint
- Pay a compliment
Once submitted your form will be sent directly to the service.
- Council Tax and Housing Benefit Application Form - December 2011 (0.24 MB as PDF document)
- Address: Brentwood Borough Council, Town Hall, Ingrave Road, Brentwood, Essex CM15 8AY
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Telephone: 01277 312857
- Fax: 01277 312743
- Minicom: 01277 312809
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This page was updated on 10 April 2013.
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