About Housing Benefit and Council Tax Support
Housing Benefit can pay for part or all of your rent. How much you get depends on your income and circumstances.
Council Tax Support is a scheme to reduce Council Tax bills for people on a low income. Council Tax Support covers up to 85 per cent of the Council Tax bill for people of working age, and up to 100 per cent for pensioners.
New claims for Housing Benefit
It’s no longer possible to make a new claim for Housing Benefit unless one of the exceptions below applies. If one of the exceptions below does not apply to you, then you have to claim Universal Credit instead. If you are eligible, your housing costs will be included as part of your Universal Credit.
You could still make a new Housing Benefit claim if you:
- are over pension age
- are in a couple where one of you is of working age and one of you is old enough to claim Pension Credit (this exception only applies until 15 May 2019, after which new claimants will have to claim Universal Credit instead)
- live in temporary accommodation provided by the Council, in supported accommodation, or in a hostel.
A new exception has also been introduced from 16 January 2019 for existing Income Support, income-related Employment and Support Allowance, income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance and Housing Benefit claimants who:
- are receiving the severe disability premium as part of their benefit award; or
- were receiving it within the last month and continue to satisfy the rules of entitlement.
Other eligibility conditions
You may be able to claim Housing Benefit or Council Tax Support if you're on a low income and your savings or investments are under £16,000.
You need to rent your home to qualify for Housing Benefit. You can't get Housing Benefit if you're a homeowner, but there is other financial help available for homeowners.
You can claim Housing Benefit whether or not you're working.
If you receive Pension Credit Guarantee you may still qualify for Housing Benefit and/or Council Tax Support even if you have savings or investments of over £16,000.
New claims for Council Tax Support
Council Tax Support is excluded from Universal Credit, so you can still make a new claim. Universal Credit claimants will need to remember to apply directly to the Council to receive Council Tax Support.
Existing Housing Benefit claimants
If you already claim Housing Benefit, you can still do so until your circumstances change and you need to make a new claim, or you are migrated to Universal Credit by the Department for Work and Pensions (which could be some time between 2019 and 2024).
You do not need to start a new claim if you move house and stay in Royal Greenwich - you just need to complete the change of circumstances form.
Complete the online form to apply for both Housing Benefit and Council Tax Support. Depending on your circumstances, the form will take from 10 minutes up to 45 minutes to complete.
You can save the form at any point before you submit it by noting the reference number and clicking 'Save for later'. You can not make any changes to the form once it is submitted.
How much you can get
The amount you get depends on:
- money that you and your partner have coming in
- your savings and your partner's savings
- any other people you live with
- other circumstances such as your age, ages and size of your family, if anyone in your family is disabled.
If you're a council or housing association tenant, the amount you get also depends on:
- your eligible rent (this is the amount of rent we use in our assessment)
- if you're under pension age and have spare bedrooms.
If you rent your home from a private landlord, the amount you get depends on the Local Housing Allowance - this may be lower than your actual rent.
Contact the Welfare Rights Service to check how much you can get and for a free benefits check.
You can also visit our benefits pages to see what other support you may be able to get.
What happens next
When you have completed the application form, an evidence checklist will be automatically created and emailed to you. You have one month to provide the evidence requested, so that your claim can be processed.
We may need additional information from you, for example if you are a student. If so, you may need to complete an additional form.
Do not delay submitting your claim form even if you do not have all evidence to support your claim at the time of submission, as you have one month to send it to us and you could miss out on benefit if you wait.
If your application isn't approved, you can appeal the decision.
Backdating your claim
You can ask for your claim to be backdated although you must have a good reason for the request.
Your claim can be backdated for up to one month before the date of your claim unless you've reached the minimum age for claiming Pension Credit (Gov.UK) in which case it can be backdated for three months.
To request backdating, please provide details in the 'anything else' section on the application form.
If your circumstances change
You must tell us about any changes in your circumstances or any changes in the circumstances of the people who live with you.
If you don't tell us about a change of circumstance or delay telling us, you may end up with an overpayment which you'll need to repay.
The Royal Borough of Greenwich checks and verifies all information provided in support of Housing Benefit and Council Tax Support claims. See our data protection information for details of how we collect and distribute personal information.