New Claims for Housing Benefit

You can claim Housing Benefit if you:
  • receive income-based Jobseekers' Allowance
  • receive Income Support
  • receive Pension Credit or
  • have a low income
If you receive income-based Jobseekers' Allowance, Income Support or the guaranteed element of Pension Credit, you will get the maximum amount of Housing Benefit allowable, although the income of any other adults living with you may be taken into account.
 
You can find out more about Jobseekers' Allowance and Income Support on the Department for Works and Pensions website.  For more information on Pension Credit, visit The Pension Service website.
 
If you do not get income-based Jobseeker's Allowance, Income Support or the guaranteed element of Pension Credit,  the amount of Housing Benefit you get depends on:
  • the amount of eligible rent that you pay,
  • how many people live with you,
  • your personal circumstances,
  • how much money you have coming in and
  • how much you have in savings.

To obtain an accurate determination, you should complete and return a  Council Tax Support and Housing Benefit Claim Form (pdf 711Kb)

 

Your Housing Benefit will be paid directly into your bank or building society account. It may be possible that your Housing Benefit is paid direct to your Landlord if it is deemed that you are unable to deal with your own finances.

 

You cannot get Housing Benefit if:

  • You, or your partner between you, have more than £16,000 in savings (with the exception of some people who receive the guarantee element of Pension Savings Credit).
  • A partner is someone you are married to, or someone you live with as if you are married to them.
  • If you pay a close relative who lives in the home or to a former partner for the home where you used to live together
  • In most cases if you are a student in full-time higher education (degree level or equivalent)
  • Some costs and services which might be included in your rent.  These would be in respect of water charges, charges for heating, lighting or cooking, and payments for food and fuel
  • In most cases if you are an asylum seeker
  • If you are a person sponsored to be in the UK

Housing Benefit may be restricted if:

  • Other persons over 18 (non-dependants) live with you who could be expected to pay towards their accommodation (even if they don't)
  • In most cases, if you are single and under 25 years of age
  • You rent a property that is too big for your household needs and the Local Housing Allowance is lower than your rental liability.

Local Housing Allowance

 

Local Housing Allowance (or LHA as it is known) will be based on the location of the property and its household size, rather than the actual rent being charged. LHA will take into account the number of bedrooms required by the claimant and their household.

 

Claimants with similar circumstances will find that, in the majority of cases, they are entitled to the same rate of benefit regardless of the rent they pay.

 

Local Housing Allowance will replace the old scheme of referring rents to the rent officer, however if you have an existing claim which started prior to April 2008 then you will continue on the old scheme and your rent will be referred to the Rent Officer.

 

A list of Local Housing Allowance rates can be found at LHA Rates.

 

If you have any further questions regarding LHA then visit our Frequently Asked Questions page.

 

The Rent Service

 

The Rent Service is an executive agency of the Department for Work and Pensions. The Rent Service provides valuations for local authorities in England, for use in the assessment of claims for Housing Benefit where the tenant is renting from a private landlord.

 

The Rent Service will only provide decisions for claims made prior to April 2008 that are currently in payment with no breaks in the claim.

 

Housing Benefit Determinations

 

In making a determination the Rent Officer will consider:

  • The level of rent
  • The rent for similar properties within the vicinity
  • The number of rooms
  • The age and number of people living within the property being assessed

The determination will usually run for 12 months unless there is a significant change to the property or the number of people included within the household.

 

Appeals and Complaints

 
If you are refused Housing Benefit and you think the decision is wrong, or you think the amount of Housing Benefit has been calculated incorrectly, you can ask for the decision to be looked at again, or you can appeal.  You should do this within one month of the date the decision is notified to you.
 
If you are not happy with the service you have received from the Housing Benefit section, you can complain. You can do this whether or not you are also challenging the entitlement decision. 
 
For further details regarding customer complaints see the Revenues Customer Services section, or print and complete a Revenues Services Complaints Form (Word Doc).
 

Contact Details:

Telephone: 01553 616200
 
 

In Writing:

 

Finance & Resources Department

Borough Council of King's Lynn & West Norfolk

PO Box 26

King's Lynn

PE30 1EX

 

Last updated: 16 April 2014
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