Housing Benefit content Housing Benefit is administered by the Local Authority on behalf of the Department for Work and Pensions, it provides assistance with the payment of rent to those who are on a low income. From 8 November 2017, Universal Credit (UC) replaced Housing Benefit and no new claims for Housing Benefit can normally be made. In general you will only be eligible to make a new application for Housing Benefit if: You have reached Pension Credit qualifying age You live in supported or temporary accommodation If you don’t fall into any of these categories, you will need to apply for Universal Credit instead. The amount of Housing Benefit you may receive is calculated by a means test and will depend on your income, capital and household circumstances. Housing Benefit entitlement for those renting in the private sector is calculated under Local Housing Allowance (LHA) rules. Housing Benefit (Social Sector) Housing Benefit for the social sector relates to those who have a tenancy with their Local Authority or with a Housing Association or Co-op. Working age claims from 1 April 2013 are affected by the social sector size criteria. This means that where a social sector tenant occupies a property that is considered too large for their needs, they are classed as under occupying the property and the eligible rent is reduced by an appropriate percentage: 14% where under occupying by one bedroom 25% where under occupying by two or more bedrooms One bedroom is allocated for each of the following: every adult couple (adult means someone who is aged 16 or over) any other adult any two children (a child is someone under 16) who are both girls or both boys any two children under 10, no matter whether they are girls or boys any other child You may also be entitled to an additional bedroom in certain circumstances (please contact 01382 431205 for more information). If you are affected by the social sector size criteria, you are eligible to apply for a Discretionary Housing Payment to cover the shortfall due to your under occupancy. Housing Benefit for Local Authority tenants will be paid directly to your Council Housing Rent Account. Housing Benefit for Housing Association/Co-ops will be paid by direct payment to your bank account (BACS) every four weeks. If you do not have a bank account, we recommend that you open one. If you are worried about managing your money, ask us if we can help. If you decide that you’d rather have your Housing Benefit paid to your landlord direct, we can arrange to do this. Apply for Housing Benefit Apply for a Discretionary Housing Payment Local Housing Allowance (Private sector) Local Housing Allowance (LHA) is a method of working out Housing Benefit entitlement for tenants renting from a private landlord. LHA does not depend on how much rent you pay, but on the size of your household. The LHA rate that you are entitled to will depend on how many people live with you and will vary from a one bedroom with shared facilities to a four bedroom rate. These rates are set by the Rent Registration Service for individual areas known as Broad Rental Market Areas (BRMAs). The city of Dundee has only one BRMA. The Rent Registration Service will base conditions relating to the size of your home on allowing one bedroom for: every adult couple (adult means someone who is aged 16 or over) any other adult any two children (a child is someone under 16) who are both girls or both boys any two children under 10, no matter whether they are girls or boys any other child If you are under 35 and live on your own, you will usually only be entitled to the shared room rate. You may also be entitled to an additional bedroom in certain circumstances (please contact 01382 431205 for more information). Joint tenants will receive a rate of LHA based on each tenant’s family circumstances. This means that joint tenants living in the same property may qualify for different rates of LHA. To find out how many bedrooms you are entitled to, enter your household composition into our Bedroom Entitlement Calculator. The rate of LHA that you are entitled to is fixed from 1 April 2016 for a period of four years. Your LHA rate may change if your circumstances change. For example, if the number of people you live with changes. The amount of LHA you will receive is calculated by a means test and will depend on your personal circumstances. In most cases, LHA will be paid by direct payment to you and not to your landlord. We will pay your LHA by an automatic credit to your bank account (BACS) every four weeks. Housing Benefit - payment dates for BACS If you do not have a bank account, we recommend that you open one. If you are worried about managing your money, ask us if we can help. In certain circumstances we may be able to pay your landlord direct. Vulnerability & Direct Payment to Landlord policy. Your LHA entitlement may be less than your rent. In this circumstance, you will be required to make up the shortfall. Apply for LHA Apply for direct payment to landlord Council Tax Reduction/Second Adult Rebate Council Tax Reduction is a scheme to help reduce the amount of Council Tax you are due to pay. The amount of the reduction is calculated by a means test and will depend on your personal circumstances. Any award of Council Tax Reduction will be applied directly to your Council Tax account and you will receive a bill showing the amount of Council Tax you have to pay after any reduction has been awarded. In order to apply, you must be liable to pay Council Tax. Apply for Council Tax Reduction Second Adult Rebate is another scheme to help reduce the amount of Council Tax you are due to pay. This scheme is for those who are liable to pay Council Tax and who also have a second adult (not partner) in the property who is on a low income. The scheme is to help those who have been excluded from receiving a 25% single persons discount due to a non-dependant living in their household. The income for the liable party is not taken into account. The second adult must be: aged 18 or over not liable to pay rent to you not jointly liable to pay Council Tax on a low income Awards are either 7.5%, 15% or 25% depending on the income of the second adult. If the income of the second adult is too high, then no award will be made. Any award of Second Adult Rebate will be applied directly to your Council Tax account and you will receive a bill showing the amount of Council Tax you have to pay after any rebate has been awarded. Apply for Second Adult Rebate In some circumstances, a person may be entitled to both Council Tax Reduction and Second Adult Rebate. In this circumstance, we will award the higher of the two. Backdating Benefit If entitled, your benefit usually starts from the Monday after we get your claim form. If you think your benefit should start earlier, you can say so on the form. Please write down:- the date you think your benefit should start the reason why you did not claim earlier If you get benefit from an earlier date, it is called backdating. Your Housing Benefit can be backdated for up to 1 month and your Council Tax Reduction up to 6 months providing you have good reason(s) for not claiming earlier. There are different backdating rules for those who have reached State Pension Credit age. Appeals If you are not happy with any decision we have made about your claim, you can ask for a revision of any decision or appeal against a decision. Your request must be made within one calendar month from the date on the notification letter. You should state clearly the decision you want us to look at again and the reasons why you disagree with the decision. You can do this online: Request a revision of a Housing Benefit decision Appeal against a Housing Benefit decision If you receive Pension Credit (savings part), the Pension Service will give us an Assessed Income Figure to work out your Housing Benefit. If you are not happy with the Assessed Income Figure you should appeal to the Pension Service. Reporting a change in circumstances You must tell us if any of your circumstances change (for example, if you start working, someone leaves or joins your household, your rent changes, or you move house). To report a change of circumstances you can submit a benefit change of circumstances form online. Once we receive notification of your benefit change of circumstances, we will then contact you to tell you what happens next. You must tell us about any change within one month of the date of the change. If you don't, you may lose out on any extra benefit you are entitled to. If you are in receipt of Pension Credit the amount of Housing Benefit you receive is based on the information you give us when you fill in your application form along with the income details given to us by the Pension Service. If your circumstances change, your Housing Benefit may change too. If your circumstances change, you should report any changes as soon as possible to the Pension Service. However, changes relating to the following should be reported directly to us: Changes to your tenancy (for example, your rent charge). If a non-dependant moves in or out of your home or the non-dependant's income changes. If any absence from home is likely to be more than 4 weeks. Report a change to your circumstances or a change of address Benefit Cap From April 2013, the UK government introduced a cap on the total amount of benefit that working age people can receive. This means that your main out-of-work benefits such as Employment Support Allowance, Job Seekers Allowance, Income Support, Housing Benefit, Child Benefit, Child Tax Credit and a number of other benefits, will not be more than £384.62 a week if you are a couple or have children or£257.69 a week if you are a single person The cap will not affect you, if you, or your partner, receive working tax credit. The cap is most likely to affect you if you get a number of benefits and live in accommodation that has a high rent. The cap will not affect households that include anyone who receives certain disability benefits. There are also other exemptions from the benefit cap. The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) will advise people who are affected by the benefit cap. Finding work may be the best way to ensure that the benefit cap doesn't apply. If you are affected by the benefit cap, you may qualify for a Discretionary Housing Payment. Discretionary Housing Payments If your Housing Benefit or Universal Credit Housing Costs doesn’t cover all of your rent and you are having difficulty paying the shortfall, you may be able to get a Discretionary Housing Payment (DHP) to help. A DHP can help, for example if you: are affected by the size criteria in the Social Rented Sector, if you are a foster/kinship carer, or where you are seeking more suitable accommodation; are affected by the benefit cap and are seeking employment; have been affected by previous Housing Benefit changes such as the extension of the Local Housing Allowance shared room rate to under 35s; have higher living costs because you are sick or disabled. The award of a DHP is a discretionary decision and there is no statutory right to a payment. Each application will be treated strictly on its own merits. There is a limited amount of money available to the Council to provide this help. Due to this, any payment made is likely to be for a short period of time only. You may wish to read our DHP Policy (100 KB PDF) for further information. Apply for a Discretionary Housing Payment Universal Credit Universal Credit (UC) is administered by the Department for Work and Pensions and aims to make the welfare system simpler by replacing six benefits and tax credits with a single monthly payment. Universal Credit applies to claimants of working age only. Download the Universal Credit guide (1.4MB PDF) Universal Credit replaces:- Housing Benefit Income Support Jobseekers Allowance (Income based) Employment Support Allowance (Income based) Working Tax Credits Child Tax Credits If you are currently receiving one of the above benefits, there are certain changes in your household circumstances that can trigger a new claim for UC. From 8 November 2017, new claims for these legacy benefits can no longer be made unless you fall into one of the following categories: You have reached Pension Credit qualifying age You are entitled to a Severe Disability Premium You live in supported or temporary accommodation Universal Credit is paid monthly in arrears, direct into your bank account and it includes any housing costs you are entitled to. It could be up to 5 weeks before you get your first Universal Credit payment. In Scotland, UC customers are given the option to have their payments monthly or twice monthly and their UC Housing Costs paid directly to their landlord. This option will be available after you receive your first payment of UC. You will be expected to make your Universal Credit claim online. For more information on Universal Credit and to apply visit www.gov.uk/universal-credit (link is external). Where this is not possible call the DWP helpline (Free) Tel : 0800 328 5644Text : 0800 328 1344 If you don’t have access to the internet you can apply for and manage your Universal Credit online at any one of these venues. Digital access and support to make and manage UC claims online is available at Dundee's Central Library. Providing evidence or information If we've asked you to provide documents and/or information to support a claim, you don’t need to visit our offices or send documents through the post. You can supply this information using our online evidence upload form. This is the fastest and easiest way to get information to us. This form can be used to provide information for the topics below: Council Tax Council Tax Reduction Housing Benefit Discretionary Housing Payment Free school meals and Clothing Grants Education Maintenance Allowance Providing evidence using our online form You can use our online form to upload evidence. To upload your evidence, or to let us know that something has changed, follow these easy steps: Take a picture of, or scan, the document you want to send us and save it on your device. Complete the online form with your details and attach the files that you want to send to us. Submit the form. Your details and documents will be securely sent to us. Please check all pictures and files before you submit them to make sure that all details can be seen clearly. If you are using a camera enabled device (such as a smartphone or tablet) to photograph a document, please make sure that the whole page is shown in your image. No single file should be more than 10MB in size. Submit evidence online Providing evidence in person Visit during opening hours : Dundee House, 50 North Lindsay Street, Dundee DD1 1QE West District Housing Office, 3 Sinclair Street, Dundee DD2 3DA East District Housing Office, 169 Pitkerro Road, Dundee DD4 8ES All offices are situated on the ground floor and have full disabled access. Opening Hours: Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, 9am to 5.00pmWednesday, 9.30am to 5.00pm Providing evidence by post Documents can be sent by post to: Executive Director of Corporate Services, Customer Services and IT, PO Box 216, Dundee, DD1 3YJ We can’t accept responsibility for documents that are lost in the post. Information for landlords If you are a landlord who receives Housing Benefit payments directly, you can now view your payments and receive information quicker and more securely via our new landlord portal. The new improved portal is easier to navigate and compatible with all devices. The features available on the Landlord Portal allow you to: Have 24 hour access to your account Check payments, giving you a breakdown of the payments you have received for each of your tenants in receipt of Housing Benefit and Discretionary Housing Payments. Check individual cases, allowing you to view claim details such as next payment dates and entitlement details Export information to spreadsheets Download payment schedules as a spreadsheet instead of receiving paper schedules Search for all claims where payment is currently suspended View and download benefit notification letters online instead of receiving paper notifications Web-friendly, works on smartphones and tablets Log in to the Landlord Portal Please check your account regularly to view your notification letters and schedules. Need an account? To register please click the button below. A login will be issued once you have agreed to the terms and conditions. Register for the Landlord Portal You will be asked to provide the following information: If you are an individual landlord or an organisation Your landlord reference (this is the 4 digit reference that can be found on your payment schedule) Your full name, address, phone number and email address If you are an organisation requesting more than one user, the names and email addresses of all users Reporting Housing Benefit Fraud Investigations into Housing Benefit fraud are carried out by the Department for Work & Pensions. If you suspect someone of committing Housing Benefit fraud you can report this via the DWP website. You can also contact them by telephone on 0800 854 440. For customers who are hard of hearing, a textphone number is available 0800 328 6341. Independent Advice Information about benefits, money, debt, welfare reform, welfare rights and credit union services in Dundee. Independent money advice Other available grants Social Security Scotland have introduced a Best Start Grant which is made up of three payments. The Pregnancy and Baby Payment was launched successfully on 10 December 2018, the Early Learning Payment launched on 29 April 2019 and the School Age Payment launched on 3 June 2019. As part of a programme of measures, including the Baby Box, targeted at children's early years, the aim of the payments is to support parents and tackle inequality, improving health outcomes and raising attainment. A Pregnancy and Baby Payment of £600 for a first child and £300 for any subsequent child. This will help with expenses in pregnancy or of having a new child. There will be an extra £300 if you have a multiple birth; An Early Learning Payment of £250. This will help with costs with early learning at around the time a child may take up a nursery place, to support child development; and A School Age Payment of £250. This will help with the costs of preparing for primary school. Social Security Scotland have also introduced a Young Carer Grant which was launched on 21 October 2019. The Young Carer Grant is a new yearly payment of £300 for 16-18 year olds and is in recognition of the invaluable contribution young carers make to society. The benefit is a cash payment which carers can spend as they choose. Young carers can claim if they are at school, in further education, employed or unemployed and may be eligible if they meet the qualifying criteria. For further information about Best Start Grants can be found on the Scottish Government website. Contact Us Email : firstname.lastname@example.org Telephone: during opening hours : 01382 431205 New Appointment Service for Council Tax and Benefits Dundee House has moved to an appointment only system, if you cannot find what you are looking for online and require to speak to an advisor, you can book an appointment.