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What is Housing Benefit?
Housing Benefit is there to help people on a low income pay their rent, even if you are working!
Do I qualify?
If you want to find out how much help you might get towards your rent and council tax, you can:
Whether you call someone for further advice or go online, you will need to have details of your rent, income, capital and household members handy.
How do I claim?
To claim Housing and Council Tax Benefit, you need to make a telephone claim to Telford and Wrekin Council, via their contact centre on 01952 383838. If you require assistance with this process or need access to a telephone to make your claim please call into your local trust shop.
Depending on where you live, your local council is responsible for processing your claim. They will write to you to tell you how much benefit you qualify for. If you think you may be entitled, it is important to make a claim as soon as possible as Housing and Council Tax Benefit is not always automatically backdated.
What is Landlord Verification?
Landlord Verification allows us to offer you more help with your Housing Benefit claim. Changes of entitlement can be delayed as a result of customers not providing sufficient evidence to support their claims. Aside from the inconvenience these delays cause, it could also result in rent arrears.
Landlord Verification is run in partnership with Telford and Wrekin Council. Members of all our area teams have had extensive training from the council, allowing them to help you with your claim, advise you on what documents are needed, help you to notify changes to your circumstances, copy your original documents and send your forms/documents direct to the council for you.
By signing a simple form and giving your consent, we can offer you the Landlord Verification service, and the council will keep us informed if further information is needed from you. You only need to give your consent once and you can withdraw it at any time.
For more details, drop into your local Trust shop or office.
Housing Benefit overpayments
Overpayments happen when you have received too much Housing Benefit, for example because your circumstances have changed. You should receive notifications showing any Housing Benefit that has been overpaid. If you disagree with the amounts, or can't understand the information, you should always ask for help as soon as possible.
If you are still receiving Housing Benefit, the council may reduce your weekly entitlement by a set amount (currently £10.20 per week, this can vary dependant on circumstances) until the overpayment is cleared. This means that you will need to pay extra onto your rent account to make sure that you do not fall into arrears. If the amount the council is deducting is causing financial hardship, you can ask them to reduce it. You will have to complete an 'income and expenditure' form to show what money you pay out on a regular basis and what money you have coming in. You can contact the council on 01952 383838 for further advice about this.
Your local benefits advisor can also help with overpayments. To arrange an appointment, drop into your local shop or call 217100.
Sometimes, the council will send us an invoice for the overpayment. We will always try to make contact with you in these circumstances, to explain the reasons for the overpayment and what will happen if we repay it. Once repaid, the whole amount would be debited from your rent account, and may lead to rent arrears. If you have a Housing Benefit Overpayment, you may also have a Council Tax Benefit overpayment.
If you receive a Council Tax Bill and cannot afford the payments requested YOU MUST CONTACT YOUR LOCAL COUNCIL IMMEDIATELY and discuss your options with them. Do not ignore any letters that you receive about your Council Tax otherwise you may end up with a visit from the bailiffs.
Understanding Housing Benefit Notifications
After you claim, you will receive 'notifications' about your entitlement. These can be very confusing but it is important that you check all of the details carefully. Your Housing Executive can help you with this and put you in contact with a Welfare Benefit Advisor if you need further help.
What if my circumstances change?
You should always let the council know if your circumstances change. You can report the change by telephone, but you will need to confirm the new details in writing. You can also email the details to your local council. Remember to include your name, address and Housing Benefit claim number.
Some examples of changes you must tell them about are:
- If someone moves into, or out of, your home
- If your income changes
- If there are changes in the benefits you receive
Please drop into your local Trust shop or office for further advice. If you claim other welfare benefits such as Tax Credits or Income Support, changes to your circumstances could make a difference to the amount of benefit you get. If in doubt, you should always report any changes.