Benefits explained

Housing Benefit and Council Tax Reduction are means-tested benefits administered by the local authority on behalf of the UK and Scottish Governments. 

This simplified introduction to Housing Benefit and Council Tax Reduction is for guidance only. It does not cover all rules for all benefits/reductions in every situation and should not be treated as a complete and authoritative statement of the law.

Tenants of a local authority or a private landlord can get assistance to pay rent and Council Tax; owner-occupiers can get assistance to pay their Council Tax.

If you are of working age you may not be able to claim Housing Benefit due to the introduction of Universal Credit. For more information, please see the ‘Who will be able to claim’ section of the Universal Credit page

Working Age or Pension Age

The forms you complete and the benefit/reductions you receive may be affected by your age, please make sure you know which category you fall into before downloading any information or application forms.

If you are of pension age there are claim notes which help you complete the claim form. There are also additional forms to complete if you are a private tenant, are working or self-employed, or have any other adults or any dependant children living with you.

Claim notes and additional forms

You can view and download forms in the Documents section, and additional notes and supplementary forms below:  

If both you and your partner are working age
(the form for working age claimants is 26 pages long - if you do not wish to print this, please contact us and we will send one to you).

If either you or your partner is pension age
Pension age claimants should read the additional notes in the link below and may have to complete supplementary forms depending on their circumstances.

Working Age means you are not entitled to State Retirement Pension and/or Pension Credit.

Pension Age means you are entitled to State Retirement Pension and/or Pension Credit.

If you are unsure which category you fall into, please contact the Revenues and Benefits Team.

In order to make a claim you must provide proof of your identity, National Insurance number, income, savings and all capital. This information is also required for your partner if you have one. If you are living together as a couple your income is assessed jointly.

Benefit or reduction is normally paid from the Monday after we receive your claim form. This means it is essential that you make your claim as soon as possible and do not delay. If you wish to register your claim quickly, please download a short claim form which you should complete and return to us as soon as possible - we will contact you for further information and to complete a full claim form.

If your own income is too high for you to qualify for Housing and/or Council Tax Reduction, but someone else in your household is on a low income, you may be entitled to an Alternative Maximum Council Tax Reduction (previously known as a Second Adult Rebate) of up to 25% of your Council Tax liability. It is important you do not delay in applying as in most cases we are not able to backdate Council Tax Reduction even if you would have been entitled to an award if you had claimed earlier.

If you rent a property from the Council or Housing Association then the maximum Housing Benefit you can receive is based on your household bedroom allowance.

Benefit Cap

The Benefit Cap is part of the Welfare Reform Bill. From July 2013 a cap has been introduced on the total amount of benefit that working age people can receive. This applies to certain households out of work and is intended to ensure that people out of work do not receive more in benefits than the average earnings of working households. Couples/ lone parents can receive a maximum of £384.62 per week (£20,000 per annum); single people will receive a maximum of £257.69 per week (£13,400 per annum).

In the first instance, the cap will be administered jointly by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and local authorities through deductions from Housing Benefit payments. In the longer term it will form part of the new Universal Credit system.

Performance Reviews

The Revenues and Benefits Team is committed to continuously improving the performance of our services and being open and transparent about how well we are doing. The most recent performance report is available below:

Finance and Shared Services - How Good is Our Service May 2023.

If you have any questions or would like to discuss your own claim please contact the Revenues and Benefits Team.