How to Claim
- What you need to provide
- What do I need to do if my circumstances change?
- Discretionary Housing Payments
- Appointees and form of authority
When you come to see us, a revenue and benefits officer will deal personally with your claim. They will try and process your claim on the same day as long as you have supplied all the relevant information. If you are having trouble filling in the application form, they will be able to help.
You need to bring all your information and proof of your circumstances. If you haven't got all your information with you when you visit, we might not be able to sort out your claim straight away.
All the proof you need to give us must be original documents. We cannot accept photocopies.
Everyone must give us
- Proof of their own and their partner's national insurance number.
- Two forms of identification.
You must also provide us with these if you are a private tenant
- An up to date tenancy agreement or letter from your landlord.
You and your partner's income
In most cases, if you are in receipt of state benefits or tax credits you do not need to give us proof of this as we can get this information from the Department for Work and Pensions.
If you are working, you need to give us your last consecutive two-monthly or five-weekly pay slips. If you do not have these, we can issue you with an 'earnings return' form, which your employer can complete for you.
If you are self-employed, you need to give us your latest set of audited accounts. If you do not have these, you will need to complete a 'Statement of Trading' form, which is available from Revenues and Benefits.
If you have a private or occupational pension and are not in receipt of pension credit, you will need to give us your most recent pension slip.
You must give us proof of all other income. In most cases a recent letter from the source of the income will be enough. If you are unsure of how you can give us proof of your income, please contact us for advice.
If your total savings and investments is over £6,000 (or over £10,000 if you have reached the qualifying age for state pension credit), you also need to give us proof of all the savings and investments you have. This includes current accounts, savings and investment accounts, stocks and shares, national savings certificates, premium bonds and ISAs (this list is not exhaustive).
For bank and building society accounts, you need to give us your latest statements covering one full month.
Whilst you are getting benefit you must tell us straight away if any of your circumstances change, and if any of the circumstances of anyone living with you change. It is an offence not to tell us about any changes that may affect your benefit. We may take court action against you and if we pay you too much benefit, you will probably have to pay it back.
You must tell us if:
- any of your children leave school or leave home
- anyone moves into or out of your home (including lodgers and sub-tenants)
- your income or the income of anyone living with you changes, including changes to benefits
- your capital or savings change
- you or anyone living with you becomes a student, goes on a youth training scheme, goes into hospital or a nursing home, goes into prison, or changes or leaves a job
- your rent changes
- you move
- you or your partner are going to be away from home for more than a month
- you or anyone living with you starts work
- you receive any decision from the Home Office
This is not a full list. If you are not sure, ask us for advice. You can tell us about changes in writing, by email, in person or by phone.
If you report a change which results in you getting more benefit, we will amend your benefit from the Monday after the change happened, but only if you tell us within one month of the change happening. If you tell us late, your benefit will only be amended from the Monday after you tell us.
If the change results in you getting less benefit, we will amend your benefit from the Monday after the change happened. If you delay in telling us about the change, you will be responsible for any overpayment.
What happens when I start a job?
Once you have started work your housing benefit may stop, but you may still be entitled to some housing benefit if you are on a low income. All you need to do is to provide us with proof of your new income and we will work out if you are still entitled to housing benefit.
If you have been receiving income support, jobseekers allowance, employment and support allowance, severe disablement allowance or incapacity benefit continuously for more than 26 weeks you may be entitled to receive an extended payment of housing benefit. This means that you would continue to receive the same amount of benefit for four weeks after your circumstances changed.
You will need to contact the Department for Work and Pensions to see if you are entitled.
DHP's are payments that we may be able to award you for help with your rent, if it is not met in full by housing benefit. We are unable to award DHP’s to cover your Council tax or with costs included in your rent for fuel, water or food charges.
The amount and length of a DHP award will depend on your personal circumstances. We look at all cases individually.
The DHP fund is cash limited, so we may only be able to pay you for short periods. The payment of a DHP is only meant to give you short-term financial assistance to allow you to improve your circumstances, or to move to cheaper accommodation.
Discretionary housing payment form [pdf document]
Form of authority
This means that you allow us to talk or write to somebody else on your behalf - for example if you are unable to come to the Town Hall or you do not like using the phone. You are still in charge of your claim, are responsible for it being correct, and for telling us about any changes in circumstances that occur.
If you do not authorise us to discuss your claim with a particular friend or relative then we cannot disclose any information to them.
This is where you choose someone to become responsible for all aspects of your claim. They also become responsible for repaying any overpayments and receiving all correspondence on your behalf. They need to be capable of managing your affairs and be trusted to act in your best interests. They must be in regular contact with you and have enough knowledge of your circumstances to notify us of relevant changes of circumstances and answer enquiries.
You would only need an appointee if you are unable to manage your own affairs due to physical or mental incapacity. The appointee may or may not be permanent.
Appointees and form of authority Application [word document]