Notes for a claim form

We might have sent you a form or you are considering completing a claim for Housing Benefit and or Council Tax Support. These notes explain some of the terms in the forms.

You and your partner

"Partner" means someone of the same or opposite sex that you live with as a couple; you may be married or in a civil partnership or living together as if you were husband and wife or as if you were civil partners.

"Nationality" - you must answer these questions or you cannot be paid. If you have not lived in the UK for the whole of the last two years , or if there are doubts about your immigration status, we may send you another form to complete.

For new claims you must give us proof of identity and National Insurance number for yourself and your partner, if you have one.

If you do not have all the documents to hand, e-mail or call us to let us know when you will submit them.

Children who live with you

You must tell us about any children who live with you and you, or you partner receive child benefit for them. This would usually be children up to the age of 20 at school or in further education.

Adult children, including foster children or those in higher education who still live with you should be included in the form where it asks about Other people who live with you.

Other people who live with you

These people are often referred to as non-dependants. A non-dependant is someone who lives with you, but does not pay any rent. They may have an agreement with you to pay for their keep, for example a relative or friend, grown up child or parent. A non-dependant is different from a boarder, joint-tenant or sub-tenant.

"Boarder" - someone who lives with you and has an agreement to pay for their accommodation, part of which will be for meals eaten in the home.

"joint-tenant" - someone (other than your partner) who is jointly responsible with you for paying the rent at the property you live in.

"sub-tenant" - someone who lives with you and has an agreement to pay for their accommodation, but does not include meals.

Earnings

If you cannot provide proof of your earnings, we may have to write to your employer to ask them to complete a certificate of earnings. If you have just started work and do not have any payslips, you can ask your employer to tell us in writing, your hours of work. Rate of hourly pay and the date you started. You can send us your payslips as soon as you get them.

Self-employed earnings

Where possible you should send us properly prepared accounts. If you have not been self-employed for very long, we may have to send you another form to complete. If you know you wont have prepared accounts or think you need a form as it is a new business, email us now benefits@runnymede.gov.uk

Other income

List all other income you or your partner receive. Answer every question, write 'none' if you do not get that benefit, pension or allowance.

Some benefits are disregarded, like child benefit and disability living allowance, but you must still tell us about them otherwise you will not get the right amount of benefit or support.

Students

Most students are not entitled to Housing Benefit, but the rules are complex and there are exceptions. The following groups can get help:

  • Those over 60 years of age

  • Lone parents

  • Those entitled to a disability premium

  • Those classed as unfit for work for 28 weeks

If you are unsure, e-mail us with details of your situation benefits@runnymede.gov.uk

Capital: cash, savings and investments

You must tell us about all the capital held in this country or abroad by you and your partner, if you have one.

"Capital" means bank accounts, building society accounts, deposit accounts, cash, National Savings Certificates, bonds, premium bonds, shares, stocks, unit trusts etc. It also includes any land or property you own or part-own, apart from the home you occupy.

You must also tell us about any money in a trust.

This is not a complete list, and so if you are unsure, include the details on the claim form. If your capital exceeds £16,000 you are not entitled to Housing Benefit. If it exceeds £6,000, you might not get any Council Tax Support, unless you and your partner are of pension age, receiving Pension Credit Guarantee, or in the vulnerable group of the Council Tax Support scheme.

Your home

If you rent your home then the rent we use to calculate your benefit will depend on the number of people who live in your household and their ages. If you have more bedrooms than you need then your Housing Benefit can be reduced by 14% or 25% per week.

This does not apply to pension age customers.

More details about the size criteria and exemptions can be found at www.gov.uk/housing-benefit

Your tenancy

"landlords agent" is someone employed by the landlord. It can be an individual or a company and they can be responsible for just collecting the rent or provide your tenancy agreement and be the point of contact for any problem you or the landlord may have. If you have formal tenancy agreement, it should contain the details of both the landlord and the agent. If you have lived in your property for a long time you may have a registered rent. If so, please send us the documents that you receive from the Rent Service and any letters from your landlord regarding any rent increases.

Your rent

Your landlord should explain to you if there are any service charges you must pay. You need to tell us what services you are being charged for and the amount. If you cannot give exact figures, we might have to make standard deductions which are set by government each April.

Payment

Housing Benefit is usually paid from the Monday after we receive your claim form. If you are a new tenant, we can pay from the start of your tenancy, if we receive your form by the Sunday of the week in which your tenancy began and you moved in.

Housing Benefit is paid by BACS transfer to you or your landlord. It is paid in arrears either fortnightly to you or 4 weekly to your landlord.

Council Tax Support is credited to your council tax account and will appear as a rebate on your council tax bill.

Backdating

It may be possible to backdate a claim if you have continuous good cause for the delay. The maximum period is one month for Housing Benefit and 3 months for Council Tax Support.

Appeals

If you disagree with a decision you have the right to appeal. If you think we have got something wrong write to us telling us what is wrong and provide any evidence that it is wrong. We will carry out a review and let you know our decision. If you are not satisfied you can then appeal to either the Tribunal Service for Housing Benefit decisions, and or the Valuation Tribunal England, for Council Tax Support decisions. Please note there are time limits at each stage, so tell us as quickly as possible.

Second Adult Rebate

This is only available to pension age customers: Even if your income and capital means you are not entitled, you could still get help with your council tax.

To qualify you must be the only person liable to pay Council Tax and someone else must live with you other than your partner and they do not pay rent.

When we get your completed claim form, we will automatically consider if you qualify for either Council Tax Support or Second Adult Rebate.

Changes of circumstances

We use information you have given us on this form to assess your claim. You must tell us about anything that changes and provide proof of the change. Periodically, we may send you forms to complete or contact you about a change to ensure you continue to get the right amount of benefit and support you are entitled to.

You have one month in which to tell us about a beneficial change. If you delay telling us about a change, you could lose out on the benefit you would have been entitled to.

If you do not tell us about other changes then you could be committing an offence.