Applying for benefits

Who can apply for benefits

You can claim Housing Benefit if you:

  • Live in Supported exempt accommodation
  • Both you and your partner have reached State Pension Credit Age
  • Have savings less than £16,000

You can claim Council Tax Reduction if you:

  • Are liable to pay Council Tax on your home
  • Have savings less than £6000 (working age)
  • Have savings less than £16,000 (pension age and vulnerable)

You should claim as soon as possible, if you delay in claiming, you may lose benefit.

Will you be entitled to any help

The amount of benefit you receive will depend on many things, for example:

  • How many children you have
  • Whether you have a partner
  • How much income and savings you or your partner have
  • If anyone in your household is disabled
  • How much rent you pay
  • How much Council Tax you pay
  • Whether your rent includes fuel bills, meals or water charges

Housing Benefit advice for pensioners

These rules apply to anyone who has reached pensionable age, or if you are a couple where both members of the couple have reached pensionable age.

You can find out if you are of pensionable age by visiting

If you receive Guarantee Credits or Guarantee Credits we can pay full Housing Benefit (up to the amount of your eligible rent) and full Council Tax Support after any non-dependant deductions have been made for other people living in your home.

If you receive Savings Credits only, then the Pension Service will give you an ‘assessed income figure’. This is what we will use to calculate your Housing and Council Tax Support entitlement.

Anyone of pensionable age is entitled to a three month backdate of their Housing Benefit and/or  Council Tax Support (or from the Monday following their pensionable age if this is less than three months).

Housing Benefit advice for students

If you are a student and fall into one of the categories listed below, then you may qualify for help with your Rent and/or Council Tax:

  • Receiving Income Support or Jobseekers Allowance
  • Part time students
  • Under 19 not in higher education
  • Aged 60 or over
  • Responsible for a child or young person (i.e. receiving Child Benefit)
  • Receiving certain disability benefits
  • Receiving a grant assessment allowance for deafness, even if you only get grant fees

You could also receive help for a second property if you need to live away from your normal home and family in order to study. Please contact us to see if we can pay for a second property.

Students’ partners who are not students themselves may claim benefit for the couple.

Housing Benefit advice for people from abroad

If you are not a UK resident, or have recently returned to the UK after living abroad, different rules may apply.

EEA or A8 Nationals

Austria, Belgium, Southern Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland.

If you are a national of one of the countries above, you will be able to claim Housing and Council Tax Support if you fit in to one of the following categories:

  • You are currently self employed, or working
  • You are a Jobseeker, who is entitled to Jobseekers Allowance
  • You are off work due to illness or injury, and are currently receiving Statutory Sick Pay or Employment and Support Allowance

The rest of the world

If you have entered the UK under a visa, you may be eligible for Housing and Council Tax Support if;

  • You hold a valid visa, which has not expired, and;
  • It does not state on your visa that you have no recourse to public fund.

You are a UK national, returning to the UK

If you are returning to the UK after a period of absence, you may have to pass an habitual residence test before you are eligible to claim.

When deciding whether or not you are habitually resident in the UK, we will take in to account the following things;

  • Length of time you have been resident in the UK
  • Your future intentions
  • Your employment prospects
  • Reasons for returning to the UK
  • Your centre of interest - For instance, where you are registered with a doctor, where your family and friends are resident etc.

If we decide you need to pass the habitual residence test, we will ask you to attend an appointment to answer a few questions.

Start your application >