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 are entitled to a legacy benefit (Employment and Support Allowance (income related) /Jobseekers Allowance (income based) / Income Support or Housing Benefit) where the legacy benefit includes the Severe Disability Premium. You are also included if you have ceased to receive the legacy benefit (which included the Severe Disability Premium) within the past month from when you make your claim for Housing Benefit.
  • 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).

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

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:

  • Print off a change in circumstance form to send in
  • Write to the council with details of the change
  • Email benefits.sdc@stratford-dc.gov.uk
  • Call the council on 01789 260991
  • Visit the council's offices at Elizabeth House to report the change in person

Please note that the council will now consider applying a Civil Penalty of £50 if you fail to report a change in circumstance which results in an overpayment of Housing Benefit.

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

Discretionary Housing Payments (DHPs) are additional payments that can be made by the local authority to assist you with housing costs that are not currently being met by Housing Benefit or Universal Credit. The payments are from a limited budget set by central government.

To apply for assistance online, download a DHP form now. You may want to look at the Frequently Asked Questions for completing the form.

If you are unable to complete the online application form please contact the council on 01789 260991, so we can assist you making a claim.

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.

Fraud

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:

Last updated on 17/05/2019

Contact the Revenues & Benefits team