Apply for Housing Benefit and Council Tax Support
- Who can apply?
- How to apply
- Proof we need
- Backdated awards
- Housing Benefit on two homes
- Waiting to hear about your application
- Benefits portal troubleshooting guidance
People who are eligible for Universal Credit cannot usually apply for Housing Benefit. Please refer to our Universal Credit page to see if this applies to you.
Anyone who is liable to pay Council Tax can apply for a Council Tax Reduction. This includes you if you are:
- a home owner
- renting your home
- anyone else with a Council Tax bill in their name
- any of the above and eligible for or getting Universal Credit
If you are having problems paying your Council Tax you should apply for a Council Tax Reduction straight away.
If you (or you and your partner together) have more than £16,000 in savings you will not be entitled to Housing Benefit or Main Council Tax Reduction unless you also receive Pension Credit Guarantee Credit.
If you (or you and your partner together) have more than:
- £16,000 in savings you will not be entitled to Housing Benefit
- £10,000 in savings you will not be entitled to Main Council Tax Reduction
unless you also receive Income Support, Jobseeker's Allowance (income based) or Employment and Support Allowance (income related)
See our troubleshooting page if you are having issues using the online benefits portal.
If you cannot apply online:
- download, print and complete the Help with your Rent and Council Tax - Application form (PDF, 350KB)
- or contact us to request a form
Read the Help with your Rent and Council Tax - Guidance notes (PDF, 312KB) when completing the form.
You can claim Housing Benefit and Council Tax Reduction on the same form. You must give us information about everyone who lives with you and tell us about:
- your income
- your savings
- your rent
- the income of other people who live with you
If you cannot apply or upload proof online the downloadable form tells you where to return the completed form and your proofs.
Delays in making a claim or application are sometimes unavoidable. In certain circumstances we may be able to pay your Housing Benefit or Council Tax Reduction for a period before you made your claim or application. This is a backdated award.
Backdated awards for non-pensioners
If you are of working age you must make a written request for a backdated award and:
- tell us the date you want your Housing Benefit and Council Tax Reduction backdated to; and
- explain why you could not claim or apply earlier; and
- provide evidence to support your request.
To make a request you can either ask for your claim to be backdated when making a new claim or if you already have made a claim then you can request backdating via the benefits enquiry form in My Account.
If you cannot make a request using our online forms write to us.
The maximum period we can award you backdating is:
- one month from the date of your request in Housing Benefit
- six months from the date of your request in Council Tax Reduction
To qualify you must demonstrate continuous good cause for the whole period between the date you want your award backdated to and the date you make your request.
Once we have considered your request we will notify you of our decision in writing.
Backdated awards for pensioners
If you or your partner have reached the qualifying age for Pension Credit your Housing Benefit and Council Tax Reduction award normally begins up to a maximum of three months before the date you make your claim or application. However we can only backdate your award to the date three months before:
- you or your partner made your claim for Pension Credit; or
- you or your partner reached the qualifying age for Pension Credit; or
- the date you or your partner first became liable for rent or Council Tax,
and we can only backdate your award from the latest of these dates.
You are usually only entitled to Housing Benefit for the home you 'normally' live in but there are limited circumstances where you may qualify for Housing Benefit on two homes.
Each of these circumstances is subject to specific criteria. You must satisfy the relevant criteria to qualify for Housing Benefit on two homes.
Requests for Housing Benefit on two homes must be made in writing. You must also provide sufficient evidence and information to support your request.
You may qualify for Housing Benefit on two homes for up to 4 weeks when you move home but only if:
- you have moved into your new home; and,
- your liability to pay rent on both homes is unavoidable.
Delays due to disability adaptations
You may qualify for Housing Benefit on two homes for up to 4 weeks before the date you move into your new home but only if:
- the move is delayed because the new home needs to be adapted to meet your disablement needs or those of a family member; and,
- the delay in moving is reasonable.
Fear of violence
You may qualify for Housing Benefit on two homes for up to 52 weeks when you temporarily move into a new home but only if:
- you have moved because you are in fear of violence; and,
- it is reasonable to pay Housing Benefit for both homes; and,
- you intend to return to your former home.
You may qualify for Housing Benefit on two homes if:
- you or your partner is a student or on a government training course; and,
- the student or trainee is not excluded from receiving Housing Benefit; and,
- it is unavoidable for you and your partner to occupy separate homes; and,
- it is reasonable to pay Housing Benefit for both homes.
You may qualify for Housing Benefit on two homes if:
- you have a large family; and,
- you have been housed in two separate homes by the council.
Please wait 14 days before contacting us to find out about your claim or application. See our contact us page for our details.