By accessing our wide range of 24/7 online services
By emailing directly to the relevant service
By phoning First Contact on 01268 882200 (8.45am to 5.15pm Mon to Thurs, and to 4.45pm on Fri).
By pre-booked appointment at the Kiln Road office (9.00am to 4.00pm Mon to Fri) - these can be arranged by phoning First Contact on 01268 882200.
Please use our Benefits Calculator to find out whether you are able to claim, with an estimate of how much you may be entitled to. Please remember the calculator is only a guide.
You can claim Housing Benefit as long as:
You can't claim Housing Benefit if you:
If you and any partner have joint savings or investments totalling more than £16,000 you will not be entitled to Housing Benefit. If you rent from a private landlord or letting agency your benefit will be worked out using the Local Housing Allowance
You can claim Local Council Tax Support (help towards your Council Tax) if you are responsible for paying the Council Tax bill. In most cases, if you are of working age and you and any partner have joint savings or investments totalling more than £6,000 you will not be entitled to Council Tax Support. If you are of pension age and you and any partner have joint savings and investments totalling more than £16,000 you will not be entitled to Council Tax Support, unless you qualify for Pension Credit Guarantee.
If you've recently made a claim for Income Support or Job Seekers Allowance, then there's no need to make a claim for Housing Benefit or Local Council Tax Support as the Jobcentre will send us a claim on your behalf.
You can make a claim for Housing Benefit and Local Council Tax Support online. Complete this form in your own time and at your own pace. The online form will skip questions that are not relevant to your circumstances and tell you what documenation you need to provide.
Sometimes we need you to provide us with documents to confirm what you told us when you made your claim. We will never to ask you for anything that we already have access to and to only ask you to provide documents when it's absolutely necessary.
The kind of things we might need to see include:
If we ask you to provide any of this information, we'll explain clearly what we need and confirm this in writing, or you can read more about the evidence we may need online. Remember that we won't be able to make a decision or pay you any money until we have all of the information we've asked for.
Housing Benefit and Local Council Tax Support is usually paid from the Monday after we receive your application. In some circumstances, your Housing Benefit claim can be paid from an earlier date prior to the date you submit your application. This is often referred to as 'backdating'. Backdating is not available for Local Council Tax Suport for working age claimants.
If you would like your claim to be paid from an earlier date you'll need to explain to us that there are good reasons why you weren't able to apply earlier. One of our team will then decide whether we can backdate your benefit and let you know their decision and their reasons for it.
If you are a pensioner who has never claimed before then the law enables us to automatically backdate your claim by up to 3 months if you would have been entitled to Housing Benefit or Local Council Tax Support during that time. In order for us to do this we may ask you to provide some additional information when you claim.
Local Council Tax Support:
See the Universal Credit page in our Benefits section.
If your questions have not been answered there is further information on our Benefits pages.