What do I need to know about claiming benefits?

If you are waiting for your Housing Benefit or Universal Credit claim to be assessed or are receiving either one of these benefits, it is still your legal responsibility to make sure your rent is paid in full. This means that if the rent is not paid you still owe this to us. The Income Team will ask you to for information about the status of your claim. Also, if these benefits do not cover all your rent, you are responsible for the shortfall.

Please check that payments are being made and take action if there is a problem or contact your Income Officer.

You must tell the Department of Work and Pensions about your Universal Credit claim or Housing Benefit Department at your Local Council about any change in your circumstances, including:

  • Changes in household income – including the income of other adults living with you
  • Changes in the household – people joining or leaving
  • Rent increases
  • If you are going away for more than a few weeks
  • If anyone in your household leaves or enters full-time education.
  • When you decide to terminate your tenancy

If you fail to report changes, your local council may pay you too much benefit and treat it as deliberate fraud.

Your Local Authority Housing Benefit Department and the Department of Work and Pensions can send you a letter at any time requesting details and evidence from you. Make sure you reply within the timescale or you may not receive the money to which you are entitled.