Claiming Benefits

This page provides information about what help may be available to you and how you can make a claim.

Make a claim online for Housing Benefit and Council Tax Support.

For an estimate of how much Housing Benefit you may get you can visit Gov.uk and use their online calculator.

Please contact us if you would like an estimate of how much Council Tax Support you may get.

What benefits can I claim from the Council?

Housing Benefit

Housing Benefit is a government scheme to help you pay your rent.

People on low income, including those who work, may be able to get help with paying their rent by claiming Housing Benefit.

A major part of the Welfare Reform is the introduction of Universal Credit, which will eventually replace Housing Benefit with one monthly payment which will be paid in arrears.

Since 28 July 2014 Cheshire East has had Live Service Universal Credit which has meant that certain people have been able to claim Universal Credit, but they have also been able to claim Housing Benefit until their Universal Credit claim was in payment.

Universal Credit live service closes to new claims on 31 December 2017. This means that new claimants in Universal Credit live service areas must claim Housing Benefit after that date.

Customer currently receiving Universal Credit in a live service area will continue.

From 19 July 2017 part of Cheshire East will be receiving Full Service Universal Credit, this means we will no longer be able to pay Housing Benefit whilst your Universal Credit claim is completed.

Full Service will only affect residents in Cheshire East who attend Crewe Job Centre from July 2017.  The rest of the Cheshire East area will move to Full Service Universal Credit by the end of 2018.

To check if you should be claiming Universal Credit please visit Gov.uk

Some services may be included within your rent that cannot be met by Housing Benefit.

If you rent from a private landlord from 7/4/08 you may be subject to Local Housing Allowance (LHA) rules.

If you rent from a Registered Social Landlord or Housing Association from 1 April 2013 you may be subject to Under Occupancy rules.

Council Tax Support

Is help to pay your Council Tax if you are on a low income, including those who work, whether you rent or own your property.

  • it is paid direct to your Council Tax account.

Housing Benefit and Council Tax Support are means tested so we need to know how much income you have coming in and how much you have in savings including money in your current account.

Second Adult Rebate

Second Adult Rebate from 1 April 2013 can only be claimed by those who have reached the age that would entitle them to claim State Pension Credit. To find out if you would qualify please complete the Pension Age Calculator .

It is for people who would otherwise be treated as living alone and entitled to a Single Person Discount. But who have a person living in their home (usually another adult) on a low income. To claim second adult rebate you will need to provide proof of your identity and evidence of the income of the other person/s living with you.

Will I qualify for 2nd Adult Rebate?

Are you the only person who is liable for council tax and is the other adult(s) who shares your home:

  • not paying you rent on a commercial basis, such as a boarder or lodger?
  • not paying Council Tax themselves?
  • on a low income?
  • you have reached the age to qualify for State Pension Credit
  • if you can say ’YES’ to all, claim a Second Adult Rebate

The amount of benefit is based on the gross income of the other adults in your home. 

    • If the other adult(s) in your household is on Income Support, Income based Jobseekers Allowance, Income based Employment and Support Allowance, Universal Credit or Pension Credit you can get 25% discount off your Council Tax bill.
    • If the gross income of the other adult(s) in your household is less than £194.95 per week, then you can get a 15% discount off your council tax bill.
    • If the gross income of the other adult(s) in your household is between £194.95 and £252.50 per week, then you can get a 7.5% discount off your council tax bill.

How do I Claim Housing Benefit?

Complete our online claim form.  Any delay completing the form could mean you lose benefit.

You may have already answered questions regarding a Housing Benefit claim at your local Job Centre Plus or filled in a form with the Pension, Disability and Carers Service. Unfortunately this does not always hold enough information for us to process your claim so complete our claim form as well.

How do I claim Council Tax Support?

Complete our online claim form.  Any delay completing the form could mean you lose benefit. 

What information will I need to supply?

  • We will need you to tell us about all the income and capital you and your partner have.
  • We will also need details of your landlord and the rent you have to pay.
  • If you have other people living in your household we will also need evidence of their income. Unfortunately if you are unable to provide such information you may lose benefit.
  • If you can not supply the documents we need; please do not delay making a claim
  • Complete the claim form and use the further information area to tell us when you will be able to supply the evidence.
  • For further help on what we will need see our Evidence and Information page

What rent is used in your Housing Benefit calculation?

Housing Benefit can help you meet the rent payments on many different properties such as furnished, unfurnished flats, bed-sit, rented houses, hostels or lodgings. You may be renting from a housing association or a private landlord.

If you rent a property from a Private Landlord you may have your benefit assessed under the Local Housing Allowance Scheme (LHA).

However there may be an occasion where we will still have to refer to the Valuation Office Agency if your property is exempt from the LHA scheme, such as House Boats, Mobile Homes, Caravans and Board and Lodgings.

The Valuation Office  will let us know if the rent for your property is reasonable and will tell us the maximum amount of Housing Benefit you can receive. This decision is binding. This amount is based upon the average rent for similar sized property in your area.  If the valuation officer thinks your home is to big for you, the maximum amount of rent they will use will be based on the size of property the valuation officer feels is correct for you.

If you do have other services or charges included in your rent, these may not be met by Housing Benefit. This may include charges for water, meals or fuel.

If you are thinking of moving to a privately rented property please use the LHA calculator (MS Excel, 5.95MB). This will give you an indication of the maximum level of help available from Housing Benefit based on the cost of the property you wish to rent, the size and make up of your household.

The introduction of size limit rules in the Social Rented Sector are due to take effect from 1 April 2013 for those aged below State Pension Credit Age. Please use the State Pension calculator  (external link to GOV.UK) to find out if you have reached State Pension Credit Age. If someone is assessed as having more bedrooms in their accommodation than is necessary, according to the new rules, they will be considered as under-occupying that property. Those that are considered to be under-occupying their accommodation will see a reduction in their housing benefit calculated by a reduction of:

  • 14% of the total eligible rent for under-occupation by one bedroom; and
  • 25% of the total eligible rent for under-occupation by two bedrooms or more.

If you pay rent to a Social Sector landlord you can check what size accommodation your household needs by using our Room Restriction Calculator (MS Excel, 326KB).


Further help and advice

For impartial advice on benefits, debt management and welfare rights you can contact the Citizens Advice Bureau .

If you need advice about mortgage or rent arrears, please visit the Housing Options area of the website.

If you pay rent to a private landlord you can check how much rent may be met by housing benefit and what size accommodation your household needs by using our local housing allowance calculator (MS Excel, 5.95MB).

Document accessibility

To check if you should be claiming Universal Credit please visit Gov.uk

Contact us




0300 123 5013

Benefits Section
Cheshire East Council
PO Box 622
Crewe
Cheshire
CW1 9JH


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