Process for claiming housing benefit
To claim housing benefit, you will need to fill in a form, which you can get from Arhag, download from your local council website or from your housing benefit office. If you are a Westminster resident you can have your housing benefit form verified by your housing officer. Make sure you complete the form as soon as you can to avoid delays in receiving payment. As soon as you have completed the form take it to your council housing benefit office. You will also need to provide original documents - not photocopies - to prove that the statements you have made in your form are true. Staff can advise you on the documents you need. Important documents such as your tenancy agreement, passport or pension book should not be put in the post. The benefit office will give you a receipt, which you should keep as proof of your housing benefit application. Your claim will be made from the date that you hand in the form, so if you are waiting for certain documents to go with your claim, such as wage slips, hand the form in at once, and send the information on when it arrives
What your housing benefit covers
Housing benefit may cover all of your rent, or only part of it, depending on your income and circumstances. If you have other adults living with you your payments may be reduced to take account of their contribution to the family income, this is called a 'non-dependant deduction'. Some service charges do not qualify for Housing Benefit, for instance domestic water rates, if this is included in your rent. Our housing staff can help you calculate how much you will need to pay yourself.
Changes to your housing benefit
You must tell the housing benefit office in writing about any changes in your circumstances. For example, family members leaving home, starting work, increases in your rent payments etc. It is a criminal offence to fail to tell the housing benefit office about changes which may affect your claim.
Falling behind with repayments
It is your responsibility to make sure your housing benefit is paid, so that you do not fall behind with your rent payments. If your payments are delayed, you should chase up the housing benefit office and keep us informed of your progress. We may offer assistance to enquire about your claim, but you will be expected to take responsibility.
Mistakes made to housing benefits claims
If you think that the housing benefit office has made a mistake when assessing your claim, you can ask them to review their decision. If you are still not satisfied you can ask a Housing Benefit Review Board to look at your case again. Our Staff and specialist advisors can help you with this, alternatively, you may wish to seek independent welfare advice. Whatever you do, do not forget to keep us updated.
Who to contact for more help or advice?
For advice on claiming benefits, you can contact the Housing Services Team on 020 7424 7370.
Alternatively you may wish to contact your local Citizens' Advice Bureau.