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Birmingham City Council

Housing Benefit - New Claims

Overview

Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit help pay towards rent and council tax. It’s for people who are on a low income whether they work, or receive state benefits, such as:

  • Income Support;
  • Jobseeker’s Allowance;
  • Pension Credit;
  • Incapacity Benefit;
  • Employment Support Allowance;
  • Statutory Sick Pay;
  • Maternity Pay; or
  • Retirement Pension.

Benefits Service

If you’re eligible, the amount you can get depends on who lives with you, your total income, any savings you have and if you live in private rented accommodation the number of rooms your family require.

Essential Information
  • We want everyone who qualifies for housing and / or council tax benefit to apply for the help they’re entitled to.

    Please have the following details available when you contact us to make a claim for housing and council tax benefit;

    • Your income details including your employers name and address;
    • National Insurance numbers for you and your partner, if applicable;
    • Dates of birth of all household members;
    • Tenancy start date, if applicable;
    • Rent amounts and number of rooms, if applicable;
    • The income details for other household members;
    • Your landlord details, if applicable;
    • If you’re a private tenant, your bank accounts details.
  • To qualify, you must:


    • Live in Birmingham;
    • Be liable for rent;
    • Rent your home from a private landlord, local authority or registered social landlord; and
    • Not have savings of more than £16,000, unless you are of pensionable age and receive pension credit guarantee.

    You could also qualify if:


    • You live in a mobile home or houseboat;
    • You are renting under a shared ownership scheme; or
    • You are a boarder whose rent includes meals.

  • If you are a Local Authority tenant:

    • We will pay your Housing Benefit directly into your rent account

    If you are a tenant of a Housing Association or charity;

    You can choose how your Housing Benefit is paid

    • into your Bank or Building Society or Credit Union account;
    • Direct to your landlord;


    If you are a private tenant;

    You can choose how your Housing Benefit is paid

    • into your Bank or Building Society or Credit Union account;
    • We will consider making direct payments to your landlord if you are not able to manage your own financial affairs. Please contact us if you think this applies to you.

    There are two situations where we must pay your housing benefit directly to your landlord:

    • If you are in rent arrears of eight full weeks or more; or
    • If deductions for rent arrears are being made from either your Income Support, income-based Job Seeker’s Allowance, or income-related Employment and Support Allowance.
  • We aim to assess all benefit claims within 14 working days, if not sooner. We can do this faster if you provide Original Proofs when you make your claim to us.


    The time it takes us to process your claim depends on how straightforward it is. If we need to ask you for more information or proofs to support your claim, it could take longer than the times stated above.


  • If you want to make a new claim, you can do this by:

    Before you contact us, please read the Verification Guidance. This will tell you what information we will need you to provide when you make your claim.

  • If you haven’t made your claim for housing benefit or council tax support on time, you can ask us to consider backdating it to when you first needed it. You can also ask us to do this if your circumstances have changed but you were unable to tell us straight away.

    We will always give consideration to the effect that missing housing benefit or council tax support would have in terms of creating hardship. Please go to the Backdating Your Benefit pages for more information.

  • Before we can pay you Housing benefit or Council Tax Benefit, we will need to see certain documents to support your claim. Please go to the Verification Guidance guidance pages for more information.

  • You can View The Status of Your Claim and Make an Enquiry Online if you have registered for an online account.

    If you haven’t already done so, you can Register For an Online Account.

    Alternatively, you can call us on 0121 464 7000 or make an Appointment at your nearest Neighbourhood Office, you can find out:

    • Advice on any further information you need to provide;
    • The date we must receive this information;
    • How long it might take to assess your claim, once you have provided all the necessary information; and
    • What steps you need to take next.
  • To qualify you must:


    • Live in Birmingham;
    • Be responsible for payment of Council Tax as a home owner, tenant, etc;
    • Not have savings more than £16,000, unless you are of pensionable age and receive pension credit guarantee.

    Even if you do not qualify for Council Tax Benefit someone in your household may qualify for Second Adult Rebate.

  • Your Council Tax benefit will be deducted off your Council Tax bill and a revised bill will be issued to you.

    If you have over paid you need to contact us on 0121 303 1113 to request a refund.

    You can also contact your Local Neighbourhood Office on 0121 303 1111.

  • What is it?


    Local housing allowance was introduced on 7 April 2008. It’s a simpler and fairer way of working out housing benefit for people on a low income who live in privately rented accommodation (not housing associations).


    Who does it apply to?


    We will assess your housing benefit under local housing allowance regulations if you are a private tenant (excludes tenants of registered social landlords) and:

    • make a new claim for housing benefit;
    • notify us of a change of address to other private rented accommodation;
    • the person claiming housing benefit changes; or
    • you have a break in your claim of one week or more.

    What is it based on?


    Local housing allowance is based on:

    • The make up of the household;
    • what income and savings you have; and
    • how many bedrooms you need and not how many rooms there are in the property.

    The number of bedrooms you need is based on the number, age and gender of people you have living with you. However, no more than 5 bedrooms can be counted when we assess your claim.

    You are allowed one bedroom each for:

    • a couple;
    • any other adult (age 16 or over);
    • any two children under the age of 10;
    • any two children of the same sex under the age of 16; and
    • any other child under the age of 16

    It is not based on how much rent you pay.


    Ineligible service charges and meals are not a factor when calculating the maximum rent with LHA. To calculate the maximum rent the following must be established:

    • The contractual rent;
    • The applicable LHA rate;
    • Whether the contractual rent is higher than the LHA rate.

    If your rent is less than the Local Housing Allowance that applies to you, you will be able to keep any extra benefit to a maximum of £15.00 per week. For example, if your rent is £90.00 per week and the Local Housing Allowance rate is £100.00, the maximum you could receive is £100.00 per week.

    If your rent is more than the Local Housing Allowance rate that applies to you, you will normally have to make up the difference. For example, if your rent is £110.00 per week and the Local Housing Allowance rate is £100.00 the maximum amount of benefit we could pay you would be £100.00 per week. Therefore, you would have to make up the £10.00 per week shortfall.


    Who does it not apply to?


    Local housing allowance will not apply to people:

    • who rent their home from the council;
    • who rent their home from a registered social landlord or housing association;
    • whose tenancy started before 1989 or who have a registered fair rent;
    • who live in supported accommodation; and
    • who live in hostels, caravans and houseboats.

    It may also not apply if your rent includes an amount for meals.

Frequently Asked Questions
    • Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit are both means tested benefits and the amount you will receive will depend on your personal circumstances.

    • If you’re not currently entitled to Housing and / or Council Tax Benefit but know you will be eligible at a later date, you can submit a claim:


      • Up to 13 weeks in advance if you’re of working age; or
      • Up to 17 weeks in advance if you’re of pensionable age.

      You can submit your Housing and / or Council Tax Benefit claim to us up to 17 weeks before you reach pensionable age.


    • Not usually but in some rare situations it could affect the amount you get. If this is the case we will write to you. There are some situations where it is best for one member to make the claim, for example:

      • If your partner is a student, you should make the claim
      • If your partner comes from an EU state, you should make the claim
      • If your partner does not have recourse to public funds you must make the claim but you are strongly advised to consult your immigration adviser in advance
    • If you’re a married couple or living together as an unmarried couple, the other member of that couple is your partner.


      If you are polygamously married to two or more members of your household, any one of them is your partner.


      If you are a same-sex couple who have formed a civil partnership or are living together as civil partners, the other member is your partner.


    • It will usually start from the Monday after we receive your application.

      If you think your benefit should start earlier than this you should either;

      • Complete the backdating section on your application, or
      • Contact us if you have already made your application and did not request your benefit to be backdated.

      For your benefit to be backdated you should tell us the date you think it should start and the reason why you did not apply earlier.

      You must have a good reason for not having made your claim earlier.