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Housing Benefit


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Housing Benefit rules have changed if you are working age (18 to 65) and would like help with your rent costs.

You can no longer claim Housing Benefit from the council unless you are:

  • living in temporary accommodation provided by the council
  • living in supported accommodation

In all other cases you will have to claim help with your rent costs as part of a Universal Credit (UC) claim with the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).

To find out more visit the GOV.UK website or call 0800 328 5644.


Housing Benefit helps you pay your rent if you have a low income. The amount of Housing Benefit you get is worked out by looking at:

  • how much money you have coming in
  • your personal circumstances
  • how much rent you have to pay
  • who is living with you
  • the amount of savings you have

You cannot get Housing Benefit if:

  • you own your own home and pay a mortgage
  • have more than £16,000 in savings (unless you claim Guarantee Pension Credit)

If you rent privately your benefit may be restricted by the Local Housing Allowance (LHA) rate for your area.

If you have people over 18 other than your partner living with you your Housing Benefit may be reduced as they may be expected to contribute to the housing costs.

To find out if you might be entitled please use our benefit calculator.

To apply for Housing Benefit, please click the button below to start an application.

Apply now

Non-dependant deductions

Anyone who lives with you and is over 18 who is not your partner or sub-tenant is called a non-dependant.

It is expected that they help towards your rent and/or Council Tax. Even if you do not get any money from them, we will make deductions from your Housing Benefit and/or Council Tax Support. The amount deducted depends on the non-dependant's age and income.

The tables below show how much we take from Housing Benefit and Council Tax Support per week depending on what the non-dependant's income is. The figures shown are based on 52 weeks per year, those living in social housing where there are non collection periods will have higher deductions.

Housing Benefit

IncomeWeekly deduction
Under 25 on Income Support, Jobseeker's Allowance (Income based), Employment Support Allowance which does not include an amount for the support component or work related activity component or Universal Credit where the award is calculated on the basis that the non-dependant does not have any earned income Nil
Employment Support Allowance (income related) main phase £15.85
25+ on Income Support or Jobseeker's Allowance (income based) £15.85
18+ and not in remunerative work £15.85
In receipt of Pension Credit Nil

Housing Benefit - 18+ and working (gross earnings)

IncomeWeekly deduction
Under £149 a week £15.85
£149 - £216.99 a week £36.45
£217 - £282.99 a week £50.05
£283 - £376.99 a week £81.90
£377 - £468.99 a week £93.25
£469+ a week £102.35

Council Tax Support

IncomeWeekly deduction
Under 25 on Income Support, Jobseeker's Allowance (income based), Employment Support Allowance Nil
25+ on Income Support or Jobseeker's Allowance (income based) or 18+ and not working £10.00
18+ and working £10.00

Local Housing Allowance (LHA)

What is Local Housing Allowance (LHA)?

If you are a tenant renting a property or room from a private landlord, the maximum amount of Housing Benefit you are eligible to receive is based on the Local Housing Allowance (LHA). This is an amount determined by the Valuation Office Agency (VOA).

If you are finding out about Housing Benefit you will need to complete the room calculator and then check that result against the LHA table below.

How do I find out my LHA rate?

From 6 April 2020 the weekly Local Housing Allowance rates are:

Bedrooms High WealdAshford
Shared room rate £100.11 £78.00
One bedroom £159.95 £143.84
Two bedrooms £207.12 £168.00
Three bedrooms £260.05 £207.12
Four bedrooms £345.21 £260.05

The majority of properties in Tunbridge Wells Borough Council area are covered by the High Weald valuations.

To find out which area applies to you enter your post code on the GOV.UK website.

If you are single, under 35 and living alone you are entitled to LHA at the shared room rate even if you may be living in a one bedroom property.

When working out what your local housing allowance bedroom rate is, you can claim one bedroom for:

  • each couple
  • two children of the same sex under 16
  • two children under 10 regardless of sex
  • another person aged 16 or over
  • an external overnight carer

Apply

To apply for Housing Benefit you will need to complete an application form. Please click the button below to start an application. If you have any issues, please contact our Customer Services team.

Apply now

You need to provide evidence with your claim. If you do not have all the evidence you can complete the form first and then provide the rest of the evidence later, as long as we receive it within one month of the claim.

Evidence

We need to see the documents that prove you need benefit before we can pay it to you.

The easiest way to send us your proofs is by using our online form.

You can also email them to benefits@tunbridgewells.gov.uk or send them via post to:

Benefits Department
Tunbridge Wells Borough Council
PO Box 1358
Maidstone
ME14 9US

Please note this is not a Freepost address.

Evidence you need to provide:

  • National Insurance numbers for you and your partner. Your partner needs to be someone you are married to or living with as though you are married.
  • Identity for you and your partner. For example a passport or driving licence.
  • Capital, savings and investments, including all bank and building society current and savings accounts from the last two months.
  • Earnings of everyone living with you, including your partner and anyone else over 18.
  • Any other income including benefits, allowances or pensions.
  • Proof of rent liability (tenancy agreement).

If you do not get the evidence to us within a month we may not be able to pay you any benefit. If you are having problems getting your evidence together contact us and we can help.

Depending on your circumstances, we may also ask you for information that is not listed above.

Appeal

If you are not satisfied with our decision or how we have explained our decision, you can appeal.

You need to make it clear which decision you are appealing against and your reasons why.

You need to do this within one month of the decision you are appealing against.

Your appeal must be in writing and sent to:

Benefits Department
Tunbridge Wells Borough Council
PO Box 1358
Maidstone
ME14 9US

Please note this is not a Freepost address.

We will write to let you know the decision made after receiving your appeal. If you still do not agree with our decision your appeal will be sent to a tribunal run by the Independent Tribunals Service.

You can get further advice from local agencies such as Citizens Advice Bureau, Paddock Wood Advice Centre and Crosslight.

Overpayments

An overpayment happens when we pay you or your landlord an amount of Housing Benefit which you were not entitled to. If we have paid you too much benefit, we will usually ask you to pay back the amount we have overpaid.

You need to tell us of any changes in your circumstances as soon as possible and within one month of the change, to prevent any overpayments.

We will send you a letter giving you the full details of the overpayment. The letter will tell you why the overpayment happened, the amount you were overpaid and the period of the overpayment. It will also tell you how we intend to recover the overpayment and what to do if you disagree.

How can the overpayment be paid back?

  • If you are still getting Housing Benefit, we may reduce your payments to recover the overpayment.
  • If we are not paying you Housing Benefit, we may send you a bill and you should make arrangements to pay us.
  • If we paid your landlord your benefit then, in certain circumstances, we may ask the landlord to repay the overpayment.
  • We can ask your employer to set up an attachment to your earnings.
  • We can ask the Department for Works and Pensions to take money out of other benefits you might receive to collect the overpayment.
  • In cases where you have moved out of the area, we can take money from any Housing Benefit paid to you by another council.

How to make a payment

Paying by internet or standing order

You can make payment through your own online banking by transferring payment to the council's account or by setting up a regular standing order. Please ensure you quote your overpayment invoice number on all payments. Your invoice number is the 7 digit number beginning with an '8' or '9' and can be found at the top of your invoice.

Our bank details are:

Bank: Lloyds
Name: Tunbridge Wells Borough Council
Sort code: 30-00-02
Account number: 01396914

What happens if I do not pay the invoice?

If you are struggling to make the payment back to us, we may be able to set up an arrangement. Please complete our income and expenditure form to help us see if we can do this for you.

If the invoice and reminders are ignored then we will take other actions to recover the debt.

These include:

  • an attachment to your earnings, if you are employed
  • an attachment to other state benefits
  • the debt being passed to a debt enforcement agency
  • county court proceedings being issued against you

You may also be liable for any further costs arising from these actions, which will be added on to the debt that you already owe. Please note that a county court judgement will affect your credit rating.

Direct earning attachments

If a claimant fails to make an agreement with the authority we have powers to ask employers to make deductions from their earned income. The links on this page lead to guides giving details about how this process works.

Please read this if you are a claimant who has been advised that we may look to make an attachment to your earned income.

Please read this guidance if you are an employer who has been asked to make attachments to your employees wages.

Discretionary housing payment

What is a discretionary housing payment (DHP)?

A discretionary housing payment (DHP) can be applied for if your income and benefits does not meet the full costs of your rent.

These payments are awarded at our discretion and will help to support you for a short period if you are struggling with your finances.

How do I apply?

You can fill in our DHP form and return it to the Tunbridge Wells Gateway in Grosvenor Road, or send them in the post to:

Benefits Department
Tunbridge Wells Borough Council
PO Box 1358
Maidstone
ME14 9US

Please note this is not a Freepost address.


Some documents on this page may not be in an accessible format. If you require any documents in an accessible format, please complete our online form to request them.