If you are on a low income and are renting your home, either from a private landlord or from a housing association, you may be able to get help with your rent and council tax by making a claim for benefit.
If you own your home we cannot help with any mortgage costs you may have, although you might be able to get assistance with these payments from the Department of Work and Pensions if you are not currently working. However, homeowners on a low income may be able to claim council tax benefit and this can reduce the amount of council tax you are expected to pay.
If you think you may be entitled you should make a claim without delay. This is because your benefit will normally only start from the Monday after the date we receive your claim form.
Complete our Hertsmere Housing and Council Tax Benefit claim form or obtain one from our offices.
We have to ask a lot of questions on this claim form, and it is important you answer all the questions that are relevant. If you need help to complete the form, please contact us. If you are housebound, we may be able to visit you in your home to help you make a claim.
You can use our online Benefits calculator to work out whether you may be entitled to help with your Rent and/or Council Tax. Please note that this calculator is intended as only a guide and we accept no responsibility if your eventual entitlement differs from the figures provided by this tool.
If you have savings in excess of £16,000 then you will normally not be entitled to housing or council tax benefit unless you are also in receipt of guaranteed pension credit.
Evidence and information
In support of your claim, you will need to provide proof of your National Insurance number, plus proof of your income, savings and rent (if applicable). If you are in receipt of certain state benefits (such as Income Support, Jobseeker's Allowance or Employment Support Allowance) we may be able to obtain evidence of this directly from the Department of Work and Pensions. You will also need to provide proof of the income of anyone else living in your home. If someone is working, we will generally need to see five recent and consecutive wage slips, if they are paid weekly, or two recent and consecutive payslips if they are paid monthly.
Depending on your nationality, or whether you have only recently entered the country, you may also be required to provide us with your passport.
If you are self-employed we will need to see your most recent set of audited accounts and we may also ask you to complete a self-employed earnings certificate detailing your income and expenses over a set period, normally six months.
Details of the type of documentation we require are listed in the back of the application form. If you are unsure whether we need to see something, please contact us.
Second adult rebate
If you do not have a partner but there are other people living in your household on a low income and as a result of these people you do not qualify for a single person discount on your council tax, you may qualify for second adult rebate. Second adult rebate is not based upon your circumstances, it is based upon the circumstances of the other people in the house, and it can reduce your council tax bill by up to 25%.
You can apply using the normal housing and council tax benefit claim form, although you will only need to complete sections 1, 3, 13 and 15 and we will only need to see proof of your National Insurance number and the income of the other people who live with you.
You cannot claim second adult rebate if you are married or have a partner.