Reduced Services

Christmas and new Year closure

Christmas treeThe Council offices will be closed from 4.45pm Friday 21 December 2018 and will re-open at 8.45am on Wednesday 2nd January 2019.

Emergency calls may be made throughout the holiday period on 01268 758357

Castle Point Borough Council wishes all its residents a Merry Christmas and good wishes for the forthcoming year.

Updated: 5 December 2018

Benefits FAQ's

Questions

Can I claim?

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 rent a home from Castle Point Borough Council, private landlord, letting agent or housing association
  • You are a sub-tenant or lodger

You can't claim Housing Benefit if you:

  • Rent your home from a close relative who lives in the same house
  • Own your home or have a mortgage

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.

How do I make a claim?

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.

What information will I 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:

  • Some recent payslips, if you're working
  • Your tenancy agreement, to confirm the rent you pay
  • Some recent bank statements
  • Evidence of your National Insurance number and identification.

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.

What date will my claim be paid from?

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.

How is benefit paid?

Housing Benefit:

  • If you rent your home from the council we will credit any Housing Benefit direct to your rent account.
  • If you rent your home from a Housing Association you can have any Housing Benefit paid direct to your rent account every four weeks, in arrears.
  • Alternatively, you will be paid Housing Benefit directly into your bank account every fortnight, in arrears. You are then responsible for ensuring that this money is used towards your rent.
  • If you rent your home from a private landlord or letting agency we will pay any Housing Benefit direct into your bank account every fortnight, in arrears. You are then responsible for ensuring that this money is used towards your rent.If you do not keep up with your rent payments your landlord can apply for any Housing Benefit to be paid direct to them.

Local Council Tax Support:

  • This is credited direct to your Council Tax account and you will receive a revised bill for the year showing the amount of benefit deducted.

What Is Universal Credit?

See the Universal Credit page in our Benefits section.

Is there any other benefit information or advice on your website?

If your questions have not been answered there is further information on our Benefits pages.