Having your own home can be great, but it brings responsibilities. Paying rent and council tax can be difficult, especially if you are on a low income, income support or jobseekers allowance.
There are benefits available from your local Council/ Housing Office to reduce these costs, and help you stay independent in your own home.
If you are disabled, you may also be able to claim an additional Direct Payment from your social services or social work department, to pay for extra expenses.
If you’re a student in higher education, it’s unlikely that you will be able to claim benefits, but there are exceptions, so it’s worth checking.
Housing Benefit is an allowance, paid by your local Council, which helps towards paying your rent. It can also be known as a rent rebate or rent allowance.
Who can get Housing Benefit?
To receive Housing Benefit, you usually need to be on a low income and paying rent on a property. You don’t have to be receiving any other benefits to be entitled to it.
Housing Benefit is not available to students in higher education, unless you are disabled or have children.
To apply for Housing Benefit you need to complete a claim form and apply at your local Housing Office or look for further information on the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) website at http://www.dwp.gov.uk/
You can find more information on the DWP website, download claim forms and find help with queries like:
- Can I get Housing Benefit?
- How much will I get?
- How do I claim?
- What do if you disagree with the councils decision
- I am already getting Housing Benefit – what happens if my circumstances change?
Council Tax Benefit
If you pay council tax and your capital (savings and property) and income are below a certain amount, you may be able to claim council tax benefit.
If you are already entitled to income support or income-based jobseeker’s allowance or you may get the maximum amount of council tax benefit to cover 100% of your council tax, although this could change if you live with someone else.
Even if you are not on income support or income-based jobseeker’s allowance you might still be eligible for either council tax benefit or second adult rebate – so it’s worth looking into.
Most students in higher education cannot claim council tax benefit. If a student is not entitled to council tax benefit and has a partner who is not a student, the partner should claim council tax benefit for both of them.
If a student who is not entitled to council tax benefit (CTB) lives with a non-student who claims CTB, the non-student’s benefit will be based on their whole council tax bill.
Find out more on the Citizens Advice website at http://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/
From the age of 16 you could be eligible for a Direct Payment from your social services or social work department. It is a new flexible way of getting the support you need. You use the money to buy the services you want, such as a personal assistant.
Who can help?
Find out more by visiting the Citizens Advice website at http://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/.
The Department for Work and Pensions website has Housing Benefit information and claim forms. Find out more at http://www.dwp.gov.uk