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Frequently asked questions about Housing Benefits and Council Tax Benefits

What is Housing Benefit / Council Tax Support?

Housing Benefit is a government scheme to help you to pay your rent if you are on a low income. It is administered by your local council. Council Tax Support is a local Scheme to help pay your Council Tax.  


I'm not sure if I will be entitled to Benefit - what should I do?

You can make application for benefit and we will assess your claim and notify you of the outcome whether you are entitled to benefit or not. Remember, it costs you nothing to apply for benefit and you have nothing to lose by filling in an application form. You can also try completing our benefit calculator as this will give you some idea whether you may qualify or not.

 

If I want to claim council tax support as well as housing benefit do I have to fill in two forms?

No. The same claim form is used to apply for both Housing Benefit and Council Tax Support.

 

I have some savings - does this mean that I cannot claim benefit?

If you have savings over £16,000 you will not be eligible to claim benefit, unless you are in receipt of the Guarantee element of Pension credit.

 

If your savings are less than £16,000 you may still be entitled to benefit. The amount you may receive will be affected by the level of your savings.

 

I have a small pension from my employer - how will this affect my benefit claim?

Your pension, net of any income tax that you pay, will be included as part of your income for benefit purposes. You may still be entitled to benefit dependent upon your personal circumstances.

 

How do you pay my benefit?

Council Tax Support goes direct to your Council Tax account.

 

If you are a council tenant, Housing Benefit goes direct to your rent account.
If you are the tenant of a Housing Association, Housing Benefit can be paid directly to your landlord.

If you are a private sector tenant, Housing benefit will be paid directly to you by bacs.


I have grown up children living at home with me - how will this affect my benefit?

You may receive a reduced level of benefit. We will need to see proof of their income and capital.

 

I receive a war pension - how will this affect my benefit claim?

Gosport Borough Council currently operates a "Local Scheme" for people receiving war pensions. Under this scheme the basic amount of war widows and war disability pensions are ignored when calculating a persons income for benefit purposes. Additions to the basic pension such as age allowance or dependants allowance still count as income for benefit purposes.

 

I have been told that my application for Attendance Allowance / Disability Living Allowance/PIP has been successful - how will this affect my benefit entitlement?

The amount of any Attendance Allowance or Disability Living Allowance or PIP you receive is ignored for benefit purposes. However, you should still let the Council know that you are receiving these benefits as you may be entitled to additional premiums which could increase the amount of benefit you receive.

 

I'm self employed but have only been trading for a short time and don't have any business accounts - can I still apply for benefit?

If you have only recently become self employed you will need to submit copies of your business record books showing your takings and expenses. You will also need to attend and interview and complete the relevant self employment forms which are available from the Town Hall. We may ask you to submit your records at regular intervals until your business is established and you have a full years trading accounts.

 

What do I need to do if my circumstances change and I am receiving benefit?

If you have any change in your circumstances during a benefit period you need to notify us as soon as the change happens. You can notify changes in your circumstances by completing the online form. You can also attach any evidence to the form and send it in at the same time.

 

NB If you do not tell us immediately that there has been a change in your circumstances, this may result in an overpayment of benefit, which you will have to repay.

 

I'm thinking of renting my home from a private landlord - how can I find out how much help I can get towards my rent?

For most private tenants other than people renting from a housing association the maximum rent used in the calculation of your housing benefit is determined by Local Housing Allowance rate.

 

For details on Local Housing Allowance, and the current rates, please click here

 

Can I apply to have my benefit claim backdated?

A benefit claim may be backdated for a period not exceeding 1 month for people of working age, and 3 months for people who have reached state pension credit age from the date on which the application for backdated benefit is made. You must show that there was good reason for the delay in making the application for benefit, which continued for the whole of the period for which backdating is being requested. If you apply to have your claim back dated you may be asked to provide evidence in support of your request e.g. a letter from your doctor if your reason for late application was because of illness etc.

 

My son who is unemployed has recently returned to live at home. Before he came home I used to get the single person discount off my Council Tax bill which stopped when he returned. My income is too high to qualify for Council Tax Support. Is there any way I can get help with the extra Council Tax that I now have to pay?

If you are certain that your own income is too high to claim Council Tax Support you can make application for Second Adult Rebate, which will be based on your son's income - BUT this is only for those who have reached state pension credit age. If you are not sure whether you might now qualify for Council Tax Support, you can make application for both Council Tax Support and Second Adult Rebate. The Council will calculate your entitlement under both schemes and pay you the higher of the two amounts of benefit. If you are of working age, you cannot apply for Second Adult Rebate.

 

I am unable to get into the Town Hall because I am disabled or housebound, but need some help to fill in a claim form. What can I do?

If you would like help please call the Benefits Call Centre on (023) 9254 5325.

 

You are not paying all my rent and I have a shortfall in my Housing Benefit. I am struggling to make up my rent each month. Can you give me any extra benefit?

You may be eligible to apply for a Discretionary Housing Payment if you have a shortfall between your actual rent and your Housing Benefit. This is a short term payment only that can sometimes be awarded to help you out of difficult circumstances. In order to establish whether you may qualify, you will need to have an interview, and give details of all your income and out goings. If you would like more information please call the Benefits Call Centre (023) 9254 5325.

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