Housing Benefit and Council Tax Rebate assistance

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  • If your pay has been cut due to reduced hours or having to isolate, or anything else, please remember that these benefits are there for you to claim. Housing Benefit will help to cover your rent, and Council Tax rebate is there to help cover your Council Tax.

    You can claim them whilst you are working, and they should be responsive enough to change week by week as your pay alters (doesn't always work like that, and things will be delayed).

    Places online that you can check your entitlements (I can't personally vouch for these, and thanks to all that have provided links to them)

    1. https://www.entitledto.co.uk/
    2. https://www.moneysavingexpert.com/family­/benefits-check/ (by Entitledto as above, but has some more details around it)
    3. https://benefits-calculator.turn2us.org.­uk/
    4. https://www.betteroffcalculator.co.uk/#/­free

    I'm going to try and put a list of where the online claim forms are for each council in the second post on this thread. It'll take a while, but I'll try to get them all there over the weekend.

    If you need help with an application or have a query, shout. If I can help I will. I've not done assessment for a number of years, but I do still work supporting the teams so I'll do my best. If there are other people here who are actively doing assessment, feel free to help out too!

    Claims start from the Monday following the day on which you contact the Council, providing you complete the process within a month, otherwise it's the Monday after you get the form in. I would strongly suggest contacting by email, as this provides you with proof that you contacted them, and that it was regarding a benefit claim.

    Claims can be backdated if there is a good reason for you not having claimed earlier (not being aware that you couldn't claim isn't a good enough reason usually, having got Covid19 and being too ill to put in a claim likely would be).

    If you are already claiming, please remember to notify of change of circumstances as soon as possible, as that Monday following rule also applies here.

    Some Councils have been switched to Universal Credit for Housing costs, but you will still need to claim with them for Council Tax Rebate. I'll try to note the situation as far as I can below.

  • good post, thanks

  • This is excellent, will do.

  • Worth a go at this as well: https://www.entitledto.co.uk

  • Thanks, I'll add that to the first post

  • Link for Lewisham to add to the list: https://lewisham.gov.uk/myservices/benef­its/housing-benefit/apply-for-housing-be­nefit

    Applied for Universal Credit as currently unemployed and looking for work, the virus of course made it that more difficult now. Not desperate for money just yet, but being cautious since facing all this uncertainty.
    Not sure why Jobseekers Allowance is still out there when UC covers JSA. But since UC is fairly new wanted to see how it works and where/if it fails.
    Online form is easy to complete. But you have to call to book a Jobcentre appointment - after 4 attempts and cumulative 4hr wait in the queue (1.5hr on the last call) finally got to speak to someone. The actual conversation only lasted 1min - check details, here is your date (in 2 weeks), bring xyz, potentially changing to phone interview because coronavirus, done.

  • Are the council tax rebates only for those on housing benefit?

    Infact, it's probably completely different with me being in Scotland innit.

  • No, Council Tax rebate is completely separate to Housing Benefit, but the claim forms are often run together for historical reasons.
    I don't know too much on the Scottish side of things I'm afraid, but Council Tax Rebate will exist in Scotland in some form, have a look on your local council website.

  • But you have to call to book a Jobcentre appointment.

    Well, bugger.

  • Cheers, found the form.

    Don't need it yet but good to know where it is.

  • 'Q&A about your rights as a renter during the Coronavirus pandemic' from London Renters Union.

    https://londonrentersunion.org/c19rentcr­isis/

  • Can anyone break down the minimum income floor bit if you're self employed? I'm utterly confused by it.

    Married, partner doesn't 'work'.

  • Good thread.

    Just thought I'd clarify a few bits and pieces, so that those that need supprt, know where to go for help.

    1) Housing Benefit (HB) has been replaced by Universal Credit (UC), with the exception of a few excluded groups (those receiving the severe disability premium in certain benefits, those living in specified accommodation (in general terms, this means supported accommodation), or those living in specified accommodation), so if you need help to meet your rent costs, you are more likely going to have to claim UC for help towards your rent, than HB.

    The advantage of claiming UC, is that it combines 6 means tested benefits, into one universal credit, so you only need to make 1 claim, rather than multiple claims that people needed to make under the legacy benefits, which UC is replacing.

    The disadvantage, is that there's currently a minimum 5 week wait before a payment is made, due to how UC is designed (it was billed as being a welfare wage), though advance payments can be made, which are recovered from future pay beta of UC.

    UC is administered by the DWP, rather than your local council, and can be claimed online, and you used to be able to verify your ID online, which is a plus in this current climate,though I think that as a result of fraudulent claims everyone needs to be seen at a jobcentre.

    The entitledto website is really good at telling you what you would be entitled to and where to claim it.

    2) In addition to UC, council's operate the Discretionary Housing Payment scheme, which provides further financial assistance to renters who are experiencing financial hardship as a result of a shortfall between their rent costs and award of UC (and is also available to those who still receive HB). The additional measures announced by the chancellor on Friday, may mean this isn't needed as much, but it is available and you need to make applications directly to your council.

    3) Council Tax Benefit was abolished in 2013, and since then, each council has had to design their own Council Tax Reduction Scheme, meaning that whilst there are some similarities between some schemes, every Council will have it's own Council Tax Reduction Scheme, and they are all different. Applications need to be made directly to your local council. A claim for UC doesn't always mean a claim for a Council Tax Reduction has been made, so it's always best to make a claim for Council Tax Support with your council.

    In addition to Council Tax Support, some councils have an additional hardship scheme to provide extra help, so it's always worth checking your council's website.

    In the budget, the chancellor announced a new £500m hardship fund for help with council tax, as a result of Covid-19, but I've yet to see any further details on what this means in practice (I thought he'd have covered it off in Friday's announcement, but I'm not aware that he mentioned it).

    4) The minimum income floor,as i understand it, was a mechanism used by DWP when calculating how much an applicant earned/received from their business, and rather than basing the assessment on what was received, enabled DWP to say that as you are self
    employed, and as you work 37hrs per week, we can assume you earned minimum wage, and calculate a notional income for the applicant, and base the award if UC, in that.

    Abolishing the minimum income floor, is a positive measure and means that if some who is self employed, and they've seen their income reduce to nil as a result of Covid-19, the DEL will accept this, rather than saying you should be earning £xxx per week.

    I think that's it...

  • You can get housing benefit for supported accommodation, caravans and/or site rentals, canal boats and or moorings and continuous ‘bricks n mortar’ claims since 2008.

  • Hi,

    Housing Benefit still exists, it’s just that a lot has changed since 2008, Universal Credit being the main change, which was introduced in 2013, and has been rolled out more widely since then.

    So yes, people who are currently claiming housing benefit, remain entitled to it, but people who now find themselves having to make a new claim for support towards their housing costs, are far more likely to need to claim Universal Credit, as only a minority of people will fall into a group who can make a claim for Housing Benefit.

    Not really sure of the relevance of 2008, to be honest. Possibly reference to when Local Housing Allowance was introduced?

  • My wife was self-employed but basically gave it up three years ago to do full-time child care for our, now 3yo, son.

    According to the UC application, she needs to agree to find a job before we're eligible for UC. Does that sound correct?

  • I'm also being asked to agree to the same: I'm self-employed and actively working (though obviously less than I used to in light of current circumstances). Not sure how to respond here - say 'yes' to get the money, but realistically I'm not going to go be going to the job centre any time soon (perhaps the optimist in me thinking I'll be able to continue doing the same self-employed work I've been doing for 10 years). And Mrs CYOA equally isn't realistically going to go off and leave our 3 yr old, even if we had child care and had to pay for it (thus adding another thing to claim).

  • ‘You will be expected to work a maximum of 16 hours a week (or spend 16 hours a week looking for work). This might include some training and work-focused interviews.’

  • Would think you need to agree and then look where you can go with work?

  • "It's important that you understand that in return for your Universal Credit payment you're agreeing to look for work.

    You'll need to commit to doing everything you reasonably can to find and take paid work. Your work coach will help you agree your commitments."

    So long as looking for paid work means doing what I'm already doing (approaching current/past/prospective clients, trying to eke some work out of them in a fucked situation) and not taking any job they offer, then I'm OK with signing it myself. But if my wife doesn't agree (because she's doing full time child care) then does that make us ineligible to apply?

  • I think you are right, and you would both be required to accept the commitment that you are both seeking work. This page covers off what they are and who may be excluded from seeking work:

    https://www.entitledto.co.uk/help/Claima­nt-commitment-Universal-Credit

    So your wife would have to accept it, and I think it’s part of the process of making a valid claim.

    However, on a practical level, because of the current situation, I’ve read that the DWP aren’t enforcing the requirement, so whilst it may be a moral decision for your wife, as she doesn’t want to commit to doing something she doesn’t want to do, as she’s the main career for your child, on a practical level, accepting it won’t make any difference to what she needs to do, on a day to day basis, whilst we are in this current situation.

    Hope it all works out for you.

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Housing Benefit and Council Tax Rebate assistance

Posted by Avatar for MrDrem @MrDrem

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