Housing Benefits

Our online form to claim Housing Benefit and Local Council Tax Reduction is available now.
Why use the online form?

  • No queues

  • Less paperwork

  • 24/7 Always online

  • Saves time

Continue to the online form

What is Housing Benefit?

Housing Benefit helps you pay your rent if you are on a low income. The amount of Housing Benefit due to you is worked out by looking at:

  • how much money you have coming in
  • your personal circumstances and the amount of rent you have to pay
  • the amount of savings you have (more than £16,000 will normally disqualify you)

The allowance for tenants renting in the private sector is known as Local Housing Allowance and the rates are set separately by the Valuation Office Agency.

Use the gov.uk Benefits Calculator to see what help you can get.

Who does the Scheme Apply to?

  • Pension credit-age claimants. From 15 May 2019, mixed age couples (where one party of the couple is over Pension Credit qualifying age and the other under that age) will no longer be able to choose whether they claim Universal Credit or Pension Credit or pension age Housing Benefit. Both parties of a couple will have to reach the Pension Credit qualifying age before they can be entitled to Pension Credit and/or pension age Housing Benefit. Please contact the council to check whether you are a pension credit-age claimant if unsure.
  • Working-age claimants whose tenancy includes care, support or supervision which is required to occupy the accommodation. In this instance you will still claim Universal Credit for your personal income but will claim Housing Benefit for your housing costs.
  • Working-age claimants who currently receive Housing Benefit and do not need to make a new claim for one of the other benefits covered by Universal Credit (Income Support / Jobseeker's Allowance (income related) / Employment & Support Allowance (income based) / Child Tax Credits / Working Tax Credits).
  • Claimants who live within the district and receive Housing Benefit and who move to another property within the district and do not need to apply for one of the benefits covered by Universal Credit (Income Support / Jobseeker's Allowance (income related) / Employment & Support Allowance (income based) / Child Tax Credits / Working Tax Credits).

Tenants who are working-age and do not meet the above criteria will be required to apply for Universal Credit which will include the housing costs/rent in with the payment.

How do I Claim?

You can complete an online claim form now or print off a printable claim form via this website.

Alternatively you can request a form by calling our contact centre on 01789 260991.

If you are not sure if you qualify, make a claim.

Things to remember

  • Hand your application in as soon as you can.
  • Provide all the supporting evidence. We cannot pay your benefit until we have seen all the evidence we have asked for.
  • Use the same form to claim help towards Council Tax (Local Council Tax Reduction).
  • You won't get any benefit if you don't claim.

The evidence you need to provide

  • National Insurance numbers for you and your partner
  • identity (two documents per person)
  • capital, savings and investments
  • earnings
  • other income
  • benefits, allowances or pensions
  • private rent and tenancy

Proof of Child Benefit

HMRC has launched a new online service so it's quicker for parents and carers to prove they claim Child Benefit. From 28 February 2023, customers will be able to prove they have a valid claim by going to the HMRC app or online. This is a new digital service.

If customers require a proof of entitlement, please direct the customer to access this through: http://www.gov.uk/child-benefit-proof or via proof of Child Benefit

Reporting a Change in Circumstances

Please remember that you are required to report changes in circumstances that may affect the level of benefit that you receive.

Reporting changes is easy:

Temporary Absence from the Property?

Please note that you must advise the Council if you are going to be absent from the property for more that 4 weeks but intend to return back to the property upon your return. The actual length that you may be eligible to receive Housing Benefit under the temporary absence rules differs depending upon whether you are going to be absent from the property and remain in Great Britain or whether you are going to be absent from the property and go outside of Great Britain. The maximum period of absence ranges from 4 weeks to 52 weeks depending upon your circumstances so you will need to contact the Council on 01789 260991 or via benefits.sdc@stratford-dc.gov.uk to discuss your specific circumstances to see which period of temporary absence applies.

Making an Appeal Against a Decision

For decisions relating to Housing Benefit, if you disagree with a decision you can:

  • ask for a detailed explanation of the decision
  • ask us to review our decision - known as a reconsideration
  • make a formal appeal

You must apply for an explanation / reconsideration or appeal in writing to Benefits within one month of the date of the award letter. Requests received after one month will be dealt with as "out of time" and it may depend on the Tribunal Service as to whether your appeal will be accepted.

You should include which part of the decision you would like clarifying or the decision you disagree with, the reason why you think it is wrong and any other supporting evidence or information.

Your request must be signed.

Applying for a Discretionary Housing Payment (DHP)

The Council has a limited budget available to assist claimants with their housing costs which are not currently being met by existing welfare benefits. (Housing Benefit and Universal Credit). Awards of Discretionary Housing Payment are intended to be short term and are made at the discretion of the Council. This includes both the amount awarded and the period of an award.

  • You must be currently living in the Stratford on Avon district and receiving either Housing Benefit or Universal Credit which includes the housing element within the payments in order to make a claim for a Discretionary Housing Payment. If you have recently applied for but have not been paid either benefit, you should only submit your application for a Discretionary Housing Payment once your initial payment has been received.
  • Please note that per the guidance from the Department for Work and Pensions any claimant moving into an Authority's district should apply for the Discretionary Housing Payment support from the Authority where they are moving out rather than the Authority into which they are moving in to. This is regardless as to which rent the assistance is being claimed for.
  • Claimants will need to demonstrate that they have a financial need for the additional funding via the Discretionary Housing Payment by completing an income and expenditure form. If you have sufficient funds to meet your outgoings/expenditure then an award will not be made.
  • Awards of a Discretionary Housing Payment will only be considered if you are receiving Housing Benefit or Universal Credit (which includes the housing element within the payments) and you have a shortfall between your rent and your eligible rent for Housing Benefit or the housing element within your Universal Credit payment.
  • If you are applying for assistance with rent arrears you should note that an award under the scheme can only be made if you have been receiving Housing Benefit or Universal Credit which includes the housing element for the period that the arrears have arisen for, and the arrears have arisen due to a shortfall between your rent and the Housing Benefit/Universal Credit.
  • Due to the funding for 2024-25 being frozen to the 2023-24 level, I regret that a Discretionary Housing Payment will not be made in respect to moving costs, rent in advance or rent deposits.
  • Please note that if your application is being made due to issues relating to being able to afford your fuel costs that these cannot be met via the Discretionary Housing Payment scheme. You may be able to obtain assistance and support from Act of Energy. Please use the link https://www.actonenergy.org.uk/ for further information about what is available.
  • If your application is for cost of living issues including payment for carpets or other white goods then you may be eligible for assistance via the Household Support Fund. You can find more details about this scheme via the link http://www.warwickshire.gov.uk/localwelfarescheme

Please complete the online Discretionary Housing Payment application form.

You need to complete the form with as much information as possible and failure to do so may result in a delay to your application being dealt with, and in some cases may also mean that you are not given an award.

Please note that you can only save and exit from the online claim once.

If customers require a proof of entitlement, please direct the customer to access this through: http://www.gov.uk/child-benefit-proof or via proof of Child Benefit

Are you a Landlord?

Helpful information is available for landlords looking to find out more about Housing Benefit in relation to tenants.

Visit our Landlords and Housing Benefit page.

Privacy Notice

What personal data we collect from you and why?

We collect personal information in order to administer and assess your entitlement to Housing Benefit and/or Council Tax Reduction. In order to do this, we will collect information about your circumstances (e.g. income, number of children, benefits, residency status), your household income - this includes savings and capital, pensions and your partner's income - your children who live with you other adults who live with you.

We may also collect sensitive personal data known as Special Category Data, for example health data.

You and other people who live with you may choose not to provide the information that we request but, in that case, we will be unable to determine if you are entitled to Housing Benefit and/or Council Tax Reduction.

In order to prevent and detect fraud, where the law allows us, we may collect information about you and other people who reside with you from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), Her Majesty's Revenues and Customs (HMRC), other local authorities, other council departments and in some cases your landlord. We may also obtain information from credit reference agencies.

Our lawful basis for collecting and processing this information

The personal data will be used to assess your entitlement to Housing Benefit and/or Council Tax Reduction; the legal basis for this processing is a Public Task carried out by us or official authority vested in us. Our lawful basis for collecting Special Category Data is for reasons of substantial public interest. Legislation that is applicable is the Social Security Administration Act 1992, the Social Security Contributions and Benefits Act 1992 and the Local Government Finance Act 1992.

Automated Processing

The information we collect from you is usually processed by an individual; however, there are occasions when an automated decision may be made, but any changes to your Housing Benefit or Council Tax Reduction will be notified to you. In some circumstances, you have the right to prevent automated processing. For full details of your rights, please see the council's main privacy notice.

Who do you share my information with?

We share your information with other council departments, the DWP, HMRC, your landlord where the law allows us to do this or if you have given your permission, and other local authorities if relevant. We may also use credit reference agencies for the purpose of preventing and detecting fraud where the law allows us to do so. The council also has a legal duty to submit information to the government as part of the National Fraud Initiative. This includes: other departments within the council, other local authorities, Her Majesty's Courts and Tribunal Service, Department for Work and Pensions, Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs.

How long will you keep my data?

Records are kept wherever possible in accordance with the council's retention policy. We will not keep your information for longer than necessary.

Your rights

You are entitled to request a copy of any information about you that we hold. Any such requests should be made in writing. If the information we hold about you is inaccurate you have a right to have this corrected and you have the right to request completion of incomplete data. You have the right to request that we stop or restrict the processing of your personal data, in certain circumstances. Where possible we will seek to comply with your request, but we may be required to hold or process information to perform our statutory functions. You can find further details under privacy notices. If you have any worries or questions about how your personal information is handled please contact our Data Protection Officer at data.protection@stratford-dc.gov.uk.

For independent advice about data protection, privacy and data sharing issues, you can contact the Information Commissioner at:

Information Commissioner's Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK9 5AF

Tel: 0303 123 1113 (local rate) or 01625 545 745 if you prefer to use a national rate number.

Alternatively, visit ico.org.uk or email casework@ico.org.uk.

Stratford-on-Avon District Council will use your personal data, which may include special data about you, to assess and administer your Housing Benefit and/or Local Council Tax Reduction Scheme claim under the Housing Benefit Regulations and the council's Local Council Tax Reduction Scheme.

We may share your information with other council departments etc. We do this in the performance of the tasks that we carry out in the public interest, in the exercise of our official authority and because it is in the substantial public interest.

Your personal data will be held in accordance with our Retention and Destruction Policy.

For further information, or to access your information rights, please see our Data Protection policy, contact our Data Protection Officer by post at our Elizabeth House address, email data.protection@stratford-dc.gov.uk or call 01789 267575.


If you suspect anyone of fraud, please call 01789 260486 or email fraud@stratford-dc.gov.uk.

For further information about how the council deals with fraud, please see our Counter-Fraud Statement.

Further Information

For further information, please contact Revenues:

  • Email: benefits.sdc@stratford-dc.gov.uk
  • Telephone: 01789 260991
  • Fax: 01789 260969

Contact: The Revenues & Benefits team

Last updated on 27/03/2024