There have been several recent changes to the rules surrounding benefits.
Claiming housing benefit / council tax reduction if you have two or more children
With effect from 6 April 2017 the way that we calculate your allowances for dependant children for housing benefit and/or council tax reduction has changed.
If you have more than 2 dependant children, the amount of dependant allowances will be based on your entitlement to Child Tax Credit. If your Child Tax Credit is restricted on the amount of dependant allowance you receive, then your housing benefit and council tax reduction will reflect this.
It is essential that when claiming housing benefit and/or council tax reduction, that you provide your Child Tax Credit award letter from HMRC.
Visit the GOV.UK website for further details about claiming benefit if you have more than 2 children.
Universal credit has replaced housing benefit for working-age people in the majority of cases, although it still doesn't apply in a few postcode areas. If you're aged 18-21 you might not be able to claim any universal credit towards your housing costs. Apply for universal credit. More details are available at the GOV.UK universal credit page.
If you have to pay council tax, you still claim this with us, use our online form.
Temporary absence rules
Under new regulations, the time that you can be away from Great Britain and still claim housing benefit has been cut from 13 weeks to four weeks. Northern Ireland, the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands are not within GB, so if you visit these areas, the new rules will apply. The Temporary Absence guide offers more information.
The family premium is no longer available to new claimants, or existing claimants who had a child or became responsible for a child under 16 or young person under 20 for the first time after the introduction of the new rules on May 1 2016. It also means that if you stop having responsibility for a child or young person, you can't access the premium again if you become responsible in the future. For more details, contact the benefits team.
There's a limit on the total amount of benefit that working age people can get. This is called the “benefit cap.”
Residents affected have their housing benefit or universal credit reduced so that their weekly income is no higher than these cap levels.
The level of the cap is:
- £384.62 a week for couples (with or without children living with them)
- £384.72 a week for single parents whose children live with them
- £257.69 a week for single adults who don't have children, or whose children don't live with them
For more information about the benefit cap changes, visit the GOV.UK benefit cap page.
State pension changes
Information about the new state pension changes.
If you have another adult aged over 18, who is not your partner and who normally lives at your property, the amount of deduction we take from your benefit changes each year.
- Local housing allowance: bedroom calculator
- Current local housing allowance rates 2020-21
- Current local housing allowance rates for 2021-2022
For benefit enquiries complete our general enquiries benefits form.