Housing Benefit - Frequently Asked Questions content You may find the following Frequently asked questions useful Can I claim Housing Benefit ? Housing Benefit is available to people who rent their property from Dundee City Council, a Housing Association, a Housing co-op or a Private Landlord. You can complete an online application form, apply by dialling 01382 431205 (calls are recorded for quality and training purposes), or by visiting one of our enquiry offices. If you apply for Pension Credit, the Pension Service will send you a claim pack, which includes an application form to allow you to apply for Housing Benefit. You will have to provide us with proof of your National Insurance number and proof of your identity. If you have a partner, you will also have to provide us with proof of their National Insurance number and proof of their identity. If you are a private tenant you must provide your tenancy agreement. All the documents you provide must be original documents. We cannot accept photocopies. You can Claim Housing Benefit if:- you are on Income Support, Jobseeker's Allowance or Employment and Support Allowance you are in receipt of Pension Credit (savings part or guaranteed) you are on a low income (this includes people who are self-employed) You cannot get Housing Benefit if:- you, or you and your partner between you, have more than £16,000 in savings (unless you receive Pension Credit (guaranteed) The definition of a partner is: someone you are married to or live with as if you were married to them, or a civil partner or someone you live with as if you were civil partners. How long will you take to assess my claim ? Your application for Housing Benefit will be dealt with within 14 days of being received, or as soon as reasonably practicable, as long as you have supplied all the information required.If you have not supplied all the information required, we will be unable to process your claim. We will write to you to request this information. All the documents you provide must be original documents. We cannot accept photocopies. Once the relevant information has been received, it will be dealt with as soon as possible. We will send you a benefit notification letter telling you how we worked out your Housing Benefit. Please check the information in this letter very carefully. If there is anything you think is wrong, you must tell us straight away. If you are in receipt of Pension Credit, the Pension Service will provide us with an Assessed Income Figure to use as your income to work out your Housing Benefit. If you think the Assessed Income Figure is wrong, you must tell the Pension Service. When will my Housing Benefit start ? 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 benefit can be backdated for up to 1 month if you are working age, or 3 months if you are a pensioner; providing you have good reason(s) for not claiming earlier. How much Housing Benefit will I qualify for? Any Housing Benefit claim is assessed on individual circumstances and is means tested. Can Council tenants claim Housing Benefit ? If you are a Dundee City Council you may be able to get Housing Benefit for the full amount of rent that you have to pay. This will depend on your income and whether you have other people living in your house. We will pay your Housing Benefit directly to your Council Housing Rent Account. For a trial calculation, please contact us by phoning 01382 431205 or visit one of our enquiry offices where staff will calculate any possible entitlement to Housing Benefit.Alternatively, you can apply for Housing Benefit. Notification of your entitlement (if any) will be sent to you in writing as soon as possible. Can Private tenants claim Housing Benefit ? Housing Association or Housing Co-op tenant, if your landlord is a registered charity or if your tenancy started prior to 2 January 1989 If you are a Housing Association or Housing Co-op tenant you may be able to get Housing Benefit for the full amount of rent that you have to pay. If you are in a private tenancy that started prior to 2nd January 1989, the amount you qualify for may be restricted by the Rent Officer. We will pay your Housing Benefit directly by automatic credit to your bank account or by cheque (four weekly), or we can pay your Housing Benefit direct to your landlord. Private tenants (Paid under Local Housing Allowance scheme) The amount you receive will depend on who lives with you - this determines the Local Housing Allowance rate that you qualify for. We will pay your Housing Benefit directly by automatic credit to your bank account or by cheque, every four weeks. We can only pay your Housing Benefit direct to your landlord if you are classed as vulnerable (e.g. have more than 8 weeks rent arrears) For a trial calculation, please contact us by phoning 01382 431205 or visit one of our enquiry offices where staff will calculate any possible entitlement to Housing Benefit.Alternatively, you can apply for Housing Benefit. Notification of your entitlement (if any) will be sent to you in writing as soon as possible. How has my Housing Benefit been worked out ? If you work for an employer We count the money you earn from work after money has been taken off for: Tax and National Insurance half of any money you pay into a pension fund We do not count: the first £5.00 of the money you earn each week, if you are single the first £10.00 of the money you earn each week, if you are a couple the first £20.00 of the money you earn each week, if you are disabled the first £25.00 of the money you earn each week, if you are a single parent Please ask your employer to fill in a Certificate of Earnings form, which can be collected from one of our enquiry offices or by calling our Customer Services Team by dialling 01382 431205. If you cannot get your employer to fill it in, you will have to send us: your last 5 payslips, if you are paid weekly your last 2 payslips, if you are paid monthly If you are self-employed If you are self-employed, please send us your recent day-to-day accounts covering a 6 month period. If you only recently started self-employment you should maintain business record books. Benefit may be awarded if you can supply evidence of your takings and expenses. If you cannot do this, get in touch with us for more details. If you are claiming Pension Credit, you must send proof of your income and savings to the Pension Service. You must send any details of money you earn from work to the Pension Service, who will use this to calculate your entitlement to Pension Credit. If you are receiving Pension Credit (savings part), the Pension Service will tell us the amount of income to use to work out your Housing Benefit. This income amount is called the Assessed Income Figure. It will include any money you earn each week. Since the disregard, from money you earn each week, to work out Housing Benefit may be higher, we may change the Assessed Income Figure. We also count any other money you have coming in. This includes most Social Security benefits, works pensions and any savings or investments you have. If you receive maintenance payments for children, these are disregarded by both us and the Pensions Service. If you receive matrimonial maintenance, this is counted in full by the Pensions Service in your Assessed Income Figure. However, we would disregard £15 of this amount if you are entitled to the family premium. We do not count: Disability Living Allowance Attendance Allowance Mobility Allowance War Widows Pension War Disablement Pension Child Benefit Child Maintenance Payments (if you have dependant children) But we need to know if you get any of these, as you may get more Housing Benefit. If you are in receipt of Housing Benefit and are paying for child care, the amount you pay may be disregarded from your weekly income in your benefit calculation How is Housing Benefit calculated ? We calculate your income - less any disregards (an amount of money the Government says we should deduct from your income) and your applicable amount - this is the minimum the Government says you can live on. The applicable amount is then deducted from your income. If your income is less than your applicable amount then you are entitled to full Housing Benefit (dependent on the Local Housing allowance Rate or Rent Officer valuation if you are a private tenant). If there is excess income (money left over after the applicable amount is deducted from your income) a taper is used to calculate the amount of Housing Benefit you may be entitled to. The taper works as follows: Calculate 65% of the excess income and deduct this amount from the rent liability in order to calculate the entitlement. If there are any non-dependants (people aged over 18 years of age excluding claimant, partner, joint tenants or owners) in the household, we will deduct a charge for them. What if I cannot send you all the information now ? Do not delay sending in your claim form if the proof we ask for is not available at the moment. But you must send this information as soon as possible. We cannot work out your benefit without it. What happens if I have savings or investments ? Government rules say that if you (and your partner, if you are a couple) have savings or investments of more than £16,000, and do not receive Pension Credit (guaranteed), you cannot get Housing Benefit. If you (and your partner, if you are a couple) have savings or investments of more than £16,000, and you do get Pension Credit (guaranteed), you can get Housing Benefit. If you have savings or investments of up to £6,000, we ignore this when we work out your benefit. However if you are 65 years of age or over, this increases to £10,000. If you have savings or investments of £6,000.01 to £15,999.99, this may reduce the amount of benefit you may be entitled to. For more information contact us. If you are 65 years of age or over and claim Pension Credit (savings part), the Pension Service will include your savings or investments when they work out the Assessed Income Figure. This Assessed Income Figure is the amount that we use to work out your Housing Benefit. If you are in receipt of Pension Credit (savings part) and your savings or investments are more than £16,000, you cannot claim Housing Benefit What happens if I am paid too much benefit? When we pay you too much Housing Benefit we will send you a letter. We call this a Housing Benefit overpayment. The letter we send you will tell you:- why we gave you too much benefit how much the overpayment is if you have to pay back the amount how you can appeal if you think this is wrong If you are still in receipt of benefit payments we will take back the overpayment by weekly deductions from your ongoing entitlement. If you are no longer in receipt of Housing Benefit we will issue you with an invoice detailing where and when payment should be made. In the case of private tenants, we will notify you and your landlord of who we will take the overpayment back from. Can I appeal a Housing Benefit decision or request a revision ? 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 in writing 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 are 65 years of age or over and 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. A useful guidance leaflet (366KB PDF) explains appeals in more detail. What is a non-dependant and how is my claim affected ? A non-dependant is someone who is 18 or over and normally lives with the Housing Benefit claimant such as an adult son, daughter, relative or friend. Boarders, sub-tenants and joint tenants are not non-dependants. A fixed deduction is made from the claimant's entitlement to their Benefit entitlement based on the non-dependant's gross weekly income. Any money paid to the claimant by the non-dependant for their keep is not treated as the claimant's income. Non-dependants cannot claim Housing Benefit for any payment they make for their keep. The Housing Benefit non-dependant deductions are as follows:- Non-dependant deduction 2021 Amount In receipt of Pension Credit NIL Aged under 25 and in receipt of Assessment phase Employment and Support Allowance (IR) NIL In receipt of Main phase Employment and Support Allowance (IR) £15.95 Aged 25 and over and on Income Support or Jobseeker’s Allowance (IB) or aged 18 years or over and not in remunerative work £15.95 Gross Weekly income less than £149.00 £15.95 Gross Weekly income between £149.00 and £216.99 £36.65 Gross Weekly income between £217.00 and £282.99 £50.30 Gross Weekly income between £283.00 and £376.99 £82.30 Gross Weekly income between £377.00 and £468.99 £93.70 Gross Weekly income £469.00 and above £102.85 Exceptions:- A deduction does not apply for any non-dependant if the Housing Benefit claimant or partner is: registered blind in receipt of Attendance Allowance in receipt of Disability Living Allowance Care Component or if the non-dependant: is under 18 is under 25 and in receipt of either Income Support, Jobseeker's Allowance (income based), Pension Credit or Employment and Support Allowance (income related) is on a youth training scheme is a full time student normally lives elsewhere If you or your partner are over 65 and a non-dependant moves into your house, then in cases where a non-dependant deduction would normally be taken, there will be a 26-week delay before the non-dependant deduction is taken. The 26-week delay would also occur when a non-dependant receives an increase in their income which would result in an increase in the amount of non-dependant deduction which is taken. In these cases, the change is treated as happening 26 weeks after it actually happened. If the non-dependant's income decreases, resulting in a lower non-dependant deduction, or if the non-dependant leaves the house, then these changes are treated as happening on the date the change happened What if my circumstances change ? 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). If any of your circumstances change, you must write to us as soon as the change happens, or before the change happens if possible. To report a change of circumstances you can submit a benefit change of circumstances form, or alternatively visit one or our enquiry offices. 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 in writing: 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 or capital changes. If any absence from home is likely to be more than 13 weeks. More Frequently asked Questions If you are in receipt of Pension Credit (savings part) and not in receipt of Pension Credit (guaranteed), you should report changes relating to the following directly to us in writing: If a dependant child moves in or out of your home. Changes to your household composition and changes relating to non-dependants. Changes to Child Tax Credit. Changes to Child Benefit. If your capital exceeds £16,000. Changes to income and capital of a partner who is not included in your Pension Credit claim. Changes which would cause your rent to be referred to the Rent Officer. If any of the above changes happen, you must write to us as soon as the change happens, or before the change happens if at all possible. We will then contact you to tell you what happens next. I have signed up for a new tenancy and moved address, can I claim Housing Benefit on both properties? Housing Benefit is only paid for the property you are living in. However, you may be able to have your rent paid on both properties in certain cases. Overlapping benefit You may still be entitled to Housing Benefit for a maximum of four weeks on a property you have vacated if: Your landlord is still charging you rent You have moved to a new home other than a temporary home and You can prove it was unavoidable to pay rent on both homes. It should be noted that unavoidable liability for the old and new homes does not arise where a tenant simply failed to give notice despite having the opportunity to do so. Can I get benefit for a period before moving in? If you have to pay rent from your tenancy start date to the date you move in, you may qualify for benefit prior to occupation if: The delay in moving was necessary in order to adapt the dwelling to meet the disabled needs of you or a member of your family; or You are waiting for a social fund payment to meet a need arising out of the move or in connection with setting up the home and a family member is aged 5 or under, or your applicable amount includes one of the following premiums - Pensioner, Enhanced Pensioner, Higher Pensioner, Disability, Severe Disability or Disabled Child; or You became liable to make payments in respect of the dwelling while you were in hospital or a residential home. However, even when the above conditions are met for (1) or (2), benefit cannot be paid if you had to pay rent on a previous property immediately prior to the tenancy commencing at your new address. Slightly different criteria apply to victims of domestic violence. To qualify, you must apply for Housing Benefit when you become liable for rent at your new property. You should advise of the reason for your delay in moving. If you are receiving Pension CreditThe amount of Housing Benefit you receive is based on the information you gave us in your application form and the income details the Pension Service gave us. If your circumstances change, your Housing Benefit may change too. If you are receiving Pension Credit (savings part) but not Pension Credit (guaranteed), you should write to us if: the Child Tax Credit you get changes; the Child Benefit you get changes; your savings or investments of your partner, who is not included in your Pension Credit claim, change; or if someone who is living with you moves out, or if anyone moves in with you. In any of these circumstances you must write to us as soon as the change happens, or before the change happens if possible. We will then contact you to tell you what happens next. You must tell us about any changes 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. Please tell us if: you, or your partner, go into hospital you, or your partner, become a student, or stop being a student You do not have to tell us about changes in age (for example, if one of your children becomes 16 years old), as we will have this information already.I have started work (or increased my hours) - am I entitled to an extended payment? To be eligible for an extended payment, you must be in receipt of Income Support, Jobseeker's Allowance (income based), Employment and Support Allowance or Severe Disablement Allowance, which will cease when you or your partner start work or increase your hours or wages.Why has my benefit changed? The most likely reason is that you have had a change in circumstances, for example: Your income has changed Someone has moved in or out of your household A dependant child has reached the age of 16 or 18 Your rent has changed You have been overpaid and your benefit is reduced to pay back the overpayment. You will be issued with benefit notification letters to explain the reason for your benefit being amended and how it has been calculated. If you are unsure why you have received this, please contact us by dialling direct on 01382 431205 or by visiting one of our enquiry offices. What if I cannot afford the shortfall in rent?If you are unable to pay the difference between your eligible Housing Benefit award and the rent charged, you may (in certain circumstances) be able to apply for a Discretionary Housing Payment.