Housing benefit is a means tested benefit payable to people who are responsible for paying rent. We work out how much you will get by looking at the;
- amount of money you receive
- amount of savings and investments you have
- circumstances and income of people who live with you
If your savings and investements are over £16000 you will not qualify for housing benefit.
If you receive a Housing Cost Element as part of your Universal Credit award, you will not be able to claim Housing Benefit.
Housing benefit helps people who pay rent to the Council or to a private landlord or housing association. The Government calls housing benefit for private tenants Local Housing Allowance.
Important Changes to Your Housing Benefit
The UK Government have placed a limit on the total amount of benefits working age people can receive. This is known as the Benefit Cap .
From 7thNovember 2016 the cap amounts are changing to:
- £384.62 per week (£20,000 a year) for couples and lone parents
- £257.69 per week (£13,400 a year) if you’re single.
If your income from benefits is above these levels, the amount of Housing Benefit or Universal Credit you receive may be reduced. Further information can be found at www.gov.uk/benefit-cap.
Also introduced by the UK Government in April 2013 was the removal of the Spare Room Subsidy, also known as the Bedroom Tax. This change means that Council and Housing Association tenants of working age who have more bedrooms than the Government decides they need will have their Housing Benefit reduced by 14% if they have 1 bedroom too many or 25% if they have 2 or more bedrooms too many.
In some limited circumstance you may be able to apply for help from the DHP fund if you have been affected by the new spare bedrooms or benefit cap rules. Find out who can claim and apply online at www.fifedirect.org.uk/dhp
For more information on Welfare and Benefits visit www.fifedirect.org.uk/benefits
Check if you qualify
Enter your details into the Benefits Calculator to find out if you qualify and to see how much you may get. If you want to apply you will be taken to the application form. Please note that this is an estimate and you won’t know an exact amount until your application has been processed.
How to apply
If you don't have access to a PC with an internet connection at home, you can use;
- Self Service PC's at local offices
- EzFife PC's at any community library in Fife
- Internet cafes
- A friend or relatives house where there is internet access
If you need help or support completing the application form, please call us on 03451 55 11 55.
When you make a claim for housing benefit you will be asked to provide evidence to support your claim. All documents, certificates and evidence must be originals. Your documents can be handed into a local office by appointment or you can send them to the Benefits and Council Tax Team at the address below. Find out what we will accept as evidence.
If you are claiming housing benefit you must tell us at once about any change in circumstances you or the people living with you may have.
Some changes may mean you are entitled to more benefit, but others may mean you receive a lower amount or no longer qualify for benefit.
If you are overpaid we will write to you to explain the situation. We will make arrangements with you to pay back the overpayment, if necessary by instalments.
Fife Council has a corporate debt policy which provides information and advice to customers who may be experiencing problems with multiple debts owed to the Council.
Appealing a Decision on Housing Benefit
If you disagree with the decision we have made about your housing benefit claim and want to know more about the decision, you should get in touch with us within a month of being notified or we may not be able to consider any dispute. You can appeal by contacting us on the details below.
Acting as an Appointee
You can claim housing benefit for another person if you are acting as their appointee. As an appointee you agree to take over all responsibilities of the housing benefit claim which includes;
- receiving payment
- letting the team know of relevant change in circumstances eg end of income support / job seekers allowance, changes to family members, change of address, non-dependants, capital or income.
- repaying any overpayment of housing benefit.
If the person you wish to act for is already claiming Housing Benefit , complete and return the Appointee Form (PDF) .
If the person you wish to act for does not already receive Housing Benefit, then you can apply online on their behalf . You must also fill in the Appointee form and return it to a Local Office or the Benefits and Council Tax Team.
Your entitlement will usually start on the Monday after we receive your application. If you would like it to start from an earlier date, you must have a good reason for not applying earlier. We can consider backdating your application for up to 1 month.
If you want us to consider backdating, you must write to us giving your reasons for not applying at the appropriate time. The reasons you give must apply throughout the period which you are applying for.
If you have reached State Pension Credit qualifying age, then your application automatically covers the last 3 months from the date it is received (provided you are due to pay Council Tax during that period). If you reach State Pension Credit qualifying age within that period it will only be paid from then.
Benefits and Council Tax Team, PO BOX 18015, Glenrothes, KY7 5YJ
Tel: 03451 55 11 55