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Work out and claim benefits

Check Entitlement Online

The Council provides an online-benefits checker to enable potential claimants to assess their possible entitlement.
Remember this calculation is an estimate based on the information you supply. For a full evaluation make a formal claim as soon as possible and remember, if you think you might be entitled make your claim as soon as you possibly can as benefit is normally awarded from the Monday following the date that you apply.

The online benefits calculator is available below:

onlineforms icon Online Benefits Calculator [71kb]

How do I Claim?

If you would like to claim housing benefit /council tax support or would like advice about claiming benefit, phone the council on 01237 428700 or send us an email including a contact phone number and we will discuss what you need to do next.

We can also make an appointment for you to visit the council office and complete a claim form with help from a member of the benefits team.

To claim either housing benefit and/or council tax support you will need to complete an application form.

You will also need to provide the benefits team with ORIGINAL evidence in support of your application. Further details are provided on the application form

Please contact the benefits team if :

  • You have never claimed benefits before
  • You do not have a tenancy agreement but wish to claim housing benefit (your landlord will need to complete a certificate of rent and tenancy)
  • You are working but do not have wage slips (you will need to ask your employer to complete a certificate of earnings form)

If you wish, you may print off and complete one of the forms provided online.

pdf icon Housing Benefit & Council Tax Support application form [14Mb]

pdf icon Council Tax Support application form [382kb]

How long will it take for my benefit to be calculated?

You must ensure that you have completed the application form in full, answering every question (even if it doesn't apply to you), and that you send us all the original documents that we have asked for.

We will try to work out your benefit within 14 working days from the date of receipt of your claim. This is not always possible, especially if we need more information or documents from you, the Job Centre or the Pension Service. In these cases we will deal with your claim as quickly as possible once we have received all the information that we need.

 

Backdating your claim

If there has been a reason which stopped or delayed you applying for housing benefit and/or council tax support you can ask for your claim to be 'backdated' so that it starts from an earlier date.

The start date of your housing benefit and/or council tax support claim

Under housing benefit and council tax support law your claim for benefit/support must be made in writing.  Normally we will start your claim from the Monday after we receive your application form.  It is therefore very important that you get your application form to us as soon as possible because it affects the date your benefit claim will start from.

The rules on backdating housing benefit/council tax support

You can only ask for a backdate of benefit/support if there is a reason why you were unable to apply for your benefit/support earlier.  If you disagree with the date your claim starts from for any other reason you can ask for a reconsideration of the decision.

In order for a backdate of housing benefit or council tax support to be allowed you will have to show continuous good cause as to why you did not apply earlier. 

This must apply to the whole of the period for which you would like your claim to be backdated. There is no formal definition of 'good cause' - each case will be decided according to its own individual situation.  There are no formal time limits on making backdate request, but the maximum period that a benefit support claim can be backdated is, for working age customers a maximum period 6 months for council tax support and a maximum period of 1 month for housing benefit and for people who have reached the qualifying age for state pension credit, a maximum period of 3 months for both housing benefit and council tax support from the date that we receive your request for backdating. 

If you want us to consider backdating your housing benefit / council tax support claim you will need to write to us stating that you want your claim to be backdated and specify the period that you want the backdating for, giving reasons why you did not apply earlier.  This request must be signed by you.

If you require any further information or would like an application form sent to you then please contact the benefits team.

Second Adult Rebate (Pension age customers only)

If your income, savings or investments are too high to qualify for council tax support you may be entitled to claim second adult rebate.

You may be able to qualify for second adult rebate as long as you have at least one non-dependent adult who is on a low income living with you.  This person is normally an adult son or daughter.  You will not usually qualify for second adult rebate if you have a partner or lodger living with you.

If you have any further queries then please contact the benefits team.

Second Adult Rebate is not for available to tax payers of working age.

Benefits Advisor (provided externally by Directgov)

Use the benefits adviser to...

  • check which benefits you may be able to get
  • get an estimate of the benefits, tax credits or pension that may be available
  • compare estimates if your situation changes
  • save your answers for up to seven days
  • download/print results for reference

To answer all the questions you will need information about...

  • savings
  • earnings eg pay slips
  • benefit/pension details
  • outgoings, eg Council Tax, rent/mortgage, childcare payments
  • if you rent a property from a private landlord, your Local Housing Allowance rate

Visit the Directgov Benefits Advisor now

Click here for Useful contacts for financial advise and assistance