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Housing benefit - new claim

How to claim Housing Benefit if you are eligible.

Housing Benefit is available to help you to pay your rent if you are on a low income. If you pay rent to a housing association or private landlord, the benefit is called rent allowance. Payments may be sent either to you, or, in certain circumstances, direct to your landlord.  Your landlord will receive payments if you are more than 8 weeks in arrears with your rent, if you are a housing association tenant, or are classed as vulnerable.

Please note: Housing Benefit cannot assist with deposits or rent paid in advance. Contact the council's Housing Options team team for information and help with Craven Bond and Rent In Advance Scheme.

Who can claim?

Anyone can claim Housing Benefit if they have a liability to pay rent. Complete the  for an estimate of the amount of benefit that may be available to you.

Can I receive Housing Benefit if I sell my home and rent it from the new owner?

Housing Benefit can sometimes provide help with your rent in these circumstances, however certain conditions apply:

  • you must have sold your home at least five years prior to claiming, or
  • you must be able to show the council that you could not have stayed in your home without selling it.

A leaflet containing more information on pdf icon Sale and Rent Back [68kb] is available to download.

Will you qualify?

Whether you qualify for help depends on:

  • Your income
  • Your savings
  • The size of your family
  • The income of anyone else who lives with you, (such as grown up children or parents).

You will not be entitled to benefit if you have savings over £16,000, unless you are in receipt of the Guaranteed element of Pension Credit.

Generally speaking, people in receipt of Income Support, income based Jobseekers Allowance or the Guaranteed element of Pension Credit will qualify for maximum benefit, subject to non-dependant deductions and restrictions to the eligible rent.

How to claim

There is no automatic entitlement to benefit, an application form along with supporting evidence must be submitted. You can collect an application form at the Council Offices, or telephone Customer Services on 01756 700600 and we will post one out to you.

The application form states what supporting evidence is required to allow us to process a claim. These documents must be the originals, photocopies will not be accepted.

If you cannot provide evidence straightaway you should send in the form and submit the evidence later.

Receipts will be given for claims accepted at your local office, if requested.

What supporting evidence is required?

There are a number of documents that must be provided in support of a benefit application to allow benefit entitlement to be determined.  All of these documents must be original. Photocopies will not be accepted.

1. Proof of identity and National Insurance Number

Claimants must provide:

  • Evidence of identity
  • National Insurance number for themselves and their partner.

A leaflet listing some of the documents that are acceptable is available to download

2. Proof of income

If you are employed, you are required to provide :

  • If paid weekly - five wage slips
  • If paid monthly - two wage slips
  • If paid fortnightly - three wage slips
  • If paid four-weekly - two wage slips

If you do not have wage slips, your employer will need to complete a pdf icon Certificate of Earned Income [14kb] .

If you are self-employed, please download and complete word icon Self-Employed Form [265kb] .

3. Proof of savings/capital

To establish your savings/capital, we will need to see your last two months' bank statements for any current accounts, and the up to date pass books or statements for any other accounts that you hold.  We will also need to see details of any other investments you may have, for example: stocks and shares, PEPs, ISAs, Premium Bonds, National Savings Certificates, land or property etc. (We do not need to see details of the property you live in, ie your main home)

4. Proof of rent

If you rent your home and wish to claim Housing Benefit, you will need to provide up to date proof of your rent. This is usually your tenancy agreement and rent book or a signed and dated letter from your landlord confirming the following:

  • The full name & address of your landlord and managing agent
  • Your tenancy start date and the term of the tenancy
  • The amount of rent payable
  • The frequency at which the rent is to be paid
  • Details of any services included in the rent (e.g. meals, heating, lighting, hot water etc)
  • Details of any payments that have already been made (amounts and dates of the payments).

When to claim

Housing Benefit is normally only paid from the Monday following the receipt of an application form so if you think that you may be entitled, it is important that you claim straight away as benefit can only be  if you can show that you had 'continuous good cause' for not claiming earlier.

Benefit can only be paid if you are actually occupying the property. New tenants should make sure their claim is submitted the day they move in or their benefit will only start from the Monday after they claim. Existing tenants should claim as soon as possible as their entitlement will start from the Monday after they submit their claim.

When does entitlement end?

Benefit is paid indefinitely until a person has a change in their circumstances which means their claim has to be cancelled, for example, when they move into residential care or out of the area, or their household income increases.

Changes of circumstance

It is important that all changes of circumstance are reported to us within one calendar month of the change occurring. If the change is advantageous to the claimant, delaying in notifying us may result in loss of benefit.  If the change is likely to be detrimental to the claimant's benefit entitlement (for example, their wages have increased) an overpayment may occur if we are not notified immediately.

Any overpayment of housing benefit will be recovered from the claimant in the majority of cases.

Download theword icon Change of Circumstances Form [249kb] - fill it in and return to Customer Services, Craven District Council,1 Belle Vue Square, Skipton BD23 1NQ.

Note: Failure to report any changes that may result in a decrease in the amount of benefit awarded may lead to prosecution.

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