Applying for Housing Benefits/Council Tax Reduction
To qualify you must complete an application form for Housing Benefit and Council Tax Reduction. Application forms and assistance are available at your local Benefit Enquiry office. The form contains a number of questions which must be answered. Those answers provide details which are used to assess if you qualify for Housing Benefit and/or Council Tax Reduction. Your entitlement to Free School Meals and/or School Clothing Grant will also be assessed.
Angus Council aims to provide access to information about services to all our customers. This form can be translated into Chinese, Urdu, Hindu, Punjabi or Gaelic or can be made available in large print, audio or Braille.
If you require this service please contact our ACCESSLine on 08452 777 778.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is Housing Benefit?
Housing Benefit is a national welfare benefit that helps people on low income, or other state benefits, meet their rent costs. Angus Council operates the Housing Benefit scheme on behalf of the UK government. The scheme is defined by legislation.
What is Council Tax Reduction?
From 1 April 2013 Council Tax Reduction replaces Council Tax Benefit. Council Tax Reduction is a local scheme introduced by the Scottish Government that helps people on low income, or other state benefits, meet their Council Tax costs. The scheme is defined by legislation.
Whether you get help, and how much, depends on:
- Your income
- Your personal circumstances
- Who lives in your home
What is Local Housing Allowance (LHA)?
Local Housing Allowance (LHA) was introduced on 7 April 2008 and is a new way of working out Housing Benefit for private tenants who are on a low income. 'Private tenant' means someone who rents a property or room from a private landlord.
Local Housing Allowance will normally be paid to the tenant's own bank or building society account and there will no longer be the option of asking for payment of Housing Benefit to be made direct to a landlord.
However, to protect the interests of tenants, Angus Council has a safeguard policy. This will allow the consideration of direct payment to landlords where
- a tenant is in arrears with their rent
- it is thought that the tenant will have difficulty managing their affairs
- it is unlikely that the tenant will pay their rent, and
- it assists the tenants in securing or retaining their tenancy. (For example where a claimant receives a reduction in their rent in return for the landlord being paid the Housing benefit direct to them.)
For further information, download Angus Council's Safeguard policy (40 KB PDF)
For further information on Local Housing Allowance please download either Local Housing Allowance: information for tenants (200 KB PDF) or Local Housing Allowance: information for private landlords (200 KB PDF).
Applying for Housing Benefit and Council Tax Reduction
Who can apply for Housing Benefit and Council Tax Reduction?
You can apply for Housing Benefit and Council Tax Reduction if:
- You are responsible for making rent payments for the property you live in; and/or
- You are responsible for paying council tax
Note: If you and/or your partner have combined capital/savings of more than £16,000 and you are not in receipt of Pension Credit Guarantee Credit, you are not entitled to Housing Benefit or Council Tax Reduction.
How do I apply for Housing Benefit and Council Tax Reduction?
You must fill in a claim form to apply for Housing Benefit and Council Tax Reduction. You must return the form to the council straight away otherwise you may lose entitlement.
You can apply for benefit/reduction by either:
- calling into your local Benefit Enquiry office where you can pick up a claim form, or
- telephoning Freephone 0800 252 056 (there may be a charge when phoning from a mobile phone) or e-mailing RevEnquiry@angus.gov.uk and a claim form will be posted to you, or
- asking the council to visit you if you are unwell or unable to leave the house
by downloading one of the following claim forms:
If you are under state pension age (previously aged 60) please download and complete a Working Age application form. The following notes can also be downloaded to assist you to complete the form.
If you are over state pension age please download a Pension Age application form. The following notes can also be downloaded to assist you to complete the form.
If you rent your property you may also need to complete a supplementary application form.
- If you rent from a private landlord please download and complete a Housing Benefit - Renting from a Private Landlord (LHA) form (270 KB PDF).
- If you rent from a Housing Association or are a boarder where meals are included in your rent please download and complete a Housing Benefit - Renting from a Private Landlord (NON LHA) form (380 KB PDF).
- If you, your partner or a member of your household are a student or are self employed please complete either the Student Supplementary form (130 KB PDF) or the Self Employed Supplementary form (230 KB PDF)
What information do I need to provide?
The Housing Benefit scheme is based on regulations set by the UK Government and Council Tax Reduction is based on regulations set by the Scottish Government. The Council needs to know a lot of information about you and your household before your benefit entitlement/reduction can be worked out. The Council aims to ensure that the correct amount of benefit/reduction is awarded.
If you apply for Housing Benefit and/or Council Tax Reduction you will be asked to provide evidence of the following for you and where applicable your partner:
- Identity and national insurance number
- Rent Liability (if applicable)
You will also be asked to provide evidence of income and capital of any non-dependants living with you.
For further information regarding the documentation, download the "Get your Housing or Council Tax Reduction claim off to a good start" leaflet (50 KB PDF).
When should I apply?
It is important that you apply straight away. DO NOT DELAY in applying as Housing Benefit and Council Tax Reduction can normally only be awarded from the Monday following the date your application form is received by the council.
DON'T DELAY sending your application form if the evidence needed isn't available at the moment. You can send the information in later.
When will my benefit/reduction start?
Housing Benefit and Council Tax Reduction is normally awarded from the Monday following the date the Council receives your application form.
Sometimes Housing Benefit and Council Tax Reduction can be paid for a period before the date you submit your application form. This is known as 'backdating'.
From 6 October 2008, the maximum period that your benefit/reduction can be backdated for has been reduced to the following:
- If you are under state pension age, your benefit/reduction can be backdated for 6 months.
- If you are over state pension age, your benefit/reduction can be backdated for 3 months.
There has to be a good reason why your application is late, this is known as 'good cause'.
'Good cause' includes things like:
- If you were ill and had no one to hand in your application form for you.
- If you did not understand that you could apply, perhaps because of age, language difficulties, difficulty in understanding technical documents or if you were unable to manage your own affairs and did not have an appointee or someone to help you.
Entitlement to Housing Benefit and/or Council Tax Reduction
How much Housing Benefit and/or Council Tax Reduction will I be entitled to?
The amount of Housing Benefit and/or Council Tax Reduction you are entitled to will depend on the amount of your rent and Council Tax charges, your income and capital and whether you have other people living in your house.
If you get specific state benefits you may get the full amount as benefit/reduction, after any non-dependant deductions.
In all other cases your benefit/reduction is worked out by comparing the money you get each week with your 'applicable amount'. Your applicable amount is what the government says you and your household need to live on each week. The applicable amount will depend on the circumstances of your household.
*** You can calculate the amount of Housing Benefit you may be entitled to by using the GOV.UK online benefits adviser. Unfortunately there is no facility to calculate any entitlement to Council Tax Reduction on this site.
However, you can contact your local Benefit Enquiry office for advice on Council Tax Reduction and Housing Benefit.
How much Local Housing Allowance will I get?
Local Housing Allowance (LHA) is not directly related to the rent a tenant is charged so the benefit received by a tenant may be higher or lower than their contractual rent.
There is no change to the entitlement rules for Housing Benefit - these will still be based on your/your partner's income, savings, etc.
The LHA rates for 2013/14 set by the Rent Registration Service to date are:
|Month||Number of bedrooms|
|Shared Accommodation Rate*||1 Bedroom||2 Bedroom||3 Bedroom||4 Bedroom|
* This rate is for single people aged under 35 or people aged over 35 who choose to live in shared accommodation. Shared accommodation refers to a tenant who has a room of their own but shares some or all of the other rooms in the property.
You are entitled to one bedroom for:
- every adult couple (married or unmarried)
- any other adult aged 16 or over
- any two children of the same sex aged under 16
- any two children aged under 10
- any other child.
Will my savings affect my Housing Benefit and Council Tax Reduction entitlement?
That depends on how much you and your partner have.
- If you, and your partner if you are a couple, have joint savings or capital of more than £16,000, you will not normally be able to get Housing Benefit and Council Tax Reduction.
- You and your partner if you are a couple, can have joint savings or capital of up to £6,000 before it will affect your benefit/reduction entitlement
- If you and your partner are below pension age, income of £1 for every £250 between £6000 and £16000 is taken into account when working out your benefit/reduction entitlement.
- From 2 November 2009, if you or your partner are above pension age, income of £1 for every £500 between £10000 and £16000 is taken into account when working out your benefit/reduction entitlement.
- Capital includes cash, current accounts, other bank/building society/post office accounts, unit trusts, ISA's, TESSA's, National Savings Certificates, shares, premium bonds and property (other than the home you live in) or land you own.
What if there are people living with me?
If you have anyone over 18 living in your home who is not your partner, you may get less benefit. These people are called 'non-dependants' and a set amount may be deducted from your benefit entitlement each week for each non-dependant who lives in your home.
How will my benefit be paid?
If you are awarded Council Tax Reduction, this will be applied to your Council Tax Account.
If you are an Angus Council tenant, any Housing Benefit entitlement will be paid direct to your rent account.
If you are not an Angus Council tenant your Housing Benefit will normally be paid direct to either your or your landlord's bank/building society account.
Changes in your circumstances
How do I notify you of changes in my circumstances or change of address?
You must tell the council about changes either in writing, in person to your local Benefit Enquiry office or by telephone on Freephone 0800 252 056 (there may be a charge when phoning from a mobile phone). If reporting a change by telephone please quote 'Reporting a Benefit Change of Circumstance'. Don't rely on someone else telling the council about the change.
It is an offence not to tell the council about any change of circumstances that affects your benefit/reduction. The Council may take court action against you and if you are paid too much benefit, you may have to pay it back.
If you don't tell the council about changes at the time they happen you may also lose benefit/reduction. For details of the types of changes you need to notify the council about, download the Change of Circumstances - What you need to tell Angus Council leaflet (32 KB PDF).
You can also download a Housing Benefit and Council Tax Reduction change of circumstances form (30 KB PDF) Opens in a new window and hand it into your local Benefit Enquiry office.
If you have changed address please download one of the following change of address forms.
- If you rent from a private landlord, please download and complete a Housing Benefit and Council Tax Reduction - Notification of Change of Address (LHA) (250 KB PDF) form.
- If you own your home, rent from a Housing Association or Angus Council or you are a boarder where meals are included in your rent, please download and complete a Housing Benefit and Council Tax Reduction - Notification of Change of Address (NON LHA) (300 KB PDF) form.
How to dispute a decision
What can I do if I think my Housing Benefit or Council Tax Reduction decision is wrong?
If you wish an explanation of the decision you should contact your local Benefit Enquiry office. Alternatively, you have the right to request a written statement of reasons for the decision.
If you disagree with the decision, you should write to the Head of Finance at Invertay House, Maule Street, Monifieth, DD5 4JG within ONE MONTH of the date of the Decision Notice. Your letter can either:-
- ask for the decision to be looked at again - you must state WHY you think the decision is wrong
- appeal against the decision. The First Tier Tribunal will decide your appeal at a Tribunal Hearing
See also the leaflet - How to dispute a decision (25 KB PDF) Opens in a new window .
Overpayments of Housing Benefit
What are overpayments of Housing Benefit?
An overpayment is an amount of benefit that has been paid to you, to which you are not entitled. This usually happens when your circumstances have changed but you have not told us.
What happens if I am overpaid Housing Benefit?
If you have been paid too much benefit, the council will look at the circumstances and decide if it is recoverable and, if so, from whom.
If your Housing Benefit is paid to your landlord on your behalf, the council may decided to recover the overpaid benefit from your landlord.
Alternatively, the council may decide that you are responsible for repayment.
How do I pay back the Overpayment of Housing Benefit?
If you are still in receipt of Housing Benefit, the council will make a deduction from your weekly entitlement.
Housing Benefit can be recovered from you in the following ways:
- If you are no longer getting Housing Benefit you will be sent an invoice. You can pay this back:
- By sending the council a cheque (please ensure that your invoice number is written on the back of the cheque.)
- By standing order
- By coming to the cash office in Local Access Offices and paying by cash or by cheque (please bring your invoice with you.)
- By credit/debit card on phone number 01382 536598
- You must always quote your invoice number when making a payment.
- If you do not repay the money, the council may ask the Department of Work and Pensions to make deductions from a benefit that they pay you.
I am a Landlord, what information is available to me?
If you are a Private Landlord you can get help and advice about Housing Benefit and Council Tax Liability in the council's Information for Landlords leaflet (125 KB PDF).
What other benefits might I be entitled to?
The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) is responsible for claims of and the paying of Income Support as well as other benefits such as:
- Attendance Allowance (AA)
- Disability Living Allowance (DLA)
- Incapacity Benefit (Incap)
- Job Seekers Allowance (JSA)
- Maternity Allowance
The Pension Service are responsible for benefits such as:
- Pension Credit
- State Retirement Pension
- Attendance Allowance
- Carers Allowance
- Disability Living Allowance
- Pension Credit
- Winter Fuel Payments
- Vaccine Damage Payment Scheme
HM Revenue & Customs is responsible for benefits such as:
- Child Benefit
- Child Tax Credits
- Working Tax Credit
How is my personal data used?
If you apply for Housing Benefit and/or Council Tax Reduction the information collected and supporting evidence, will be used by Angus Council to process your Housing Benefit, Council Tax Reduction, Council Tax Discount, Free School Meals and School Clothing Grants claims. The information may be passed to the Department for Work and Pensions and HM Revenue and Customs as permitted by law and the Council's Education Department.
We may check information provided by you, or information about you provided by a third party, with other information held by us. We may also get information from certain third parties, or give information to them to check the accuracy of information, to prevent or detect crime, or to protect public funds in other ways, as permitted by law. These third parties include Government Departments and Local Authorities.
In this regard, information received in connection with your Housing Benefit and Council Tax Reduction may be provided to a Credit Reference Agency and Housing Benefit fraud investigations may include checks on undeclared cohabitees.
We will not disclose information about you to anyone outside Angus Council nor use information about you for other purposes unless the law permits us to.
Angus Council is the Data Controller for the purposes of the Data Protection Act 1998. If you want to know more about what information we have about you, or the way we use your information, you should contact the Head of Law and Administration on 01307 461460 or e-mail LAWADMIN@angus.gov.uk.
Where can I get independent advice on claiming benefit?
If you wish to have a benefit check undertaken you can contact Angus Council Welfare Rights by telephoning the ACCESSLine on 08452 777 778. This will help ensure you are in receipt of all the benefits you are entitled to.
How do I report suspected Housing Benefit/Council Tax Reduction fraud?
The Council are committed to ensuring that people receive their correct entitlement to Housing Benefit and/or Council Tax Reduction and every effort will be made to deal with claims as quickly as possible.
However, it is important that people who are claiming benefit/reduction to which they are not entitled are reported to the Revenues and Benefits Service so that the appropriate action can be taken against them.
If you are aware of or think that somebody may be claiming benefit fraudulently:
- You can report it anonymously using the online form.
- You can telephone us on our 24 hour freephone number - 0800 027 7373 (answer phone during out of office hours).
- We also have an email address you can use: BenefitFraudTeam@angus.gov.uk.
- Download the Benefit Fraud information leaflet (100 KB PDF) and fill in and return the Benefit Fraud referral section to the Benefit Fraud Team, Corporate Services, Angus Council, Angus House, Orchardbank Business Park, Forfar DD8 1AF
Who do I contact for further information?
Angus DD5 4JG
Tel: 01382 536500
Fax: 01382 535086
Opening times: 09:00 to 16:45 Monday to Friday
Your local Benefit Enquiry office.
Service Page: benefits.htm
Service Details Last Reviewed : 29 March 2013