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Housing Benefit and Council Tax Support

To follow any changes to this service, visit the Council Service Updates page.

Eligibility and how to apply for Housing Benefit and Council Tax Support in North Lincolnshire, details of Local Housing Allowance and how to appeal decisions.

Council Tax reduction scam

Please be aware that there is a scam going around on email, allegedly from the Government, and you are being asked to ‘claim’ your Council Tax reduction. Please do not click on the link. If you are entitled to a reduction, it will be applied to your bill automatically by the council, you do not need to apply for it. The Government has no involvement in issuing Council Tax reduction.

 

Additional support for 2020/2021

For 2020/21 if you are of working age and currently receive Council Tax Support to help towards your Council Tax payments there are some changes to your account which we will be putting in place over the next couple of weeks. For those residents who are pensioners your account will not be changing.

If you are of working age and receive council tax support this will mean you will receive a new Council Tax bill from us;

Up to an additional £150 Council Tax Support

As part of the Governments £500m fund for Council’s to support people to still pay their Council Tax, the Council is set to receive additional funding to help people who struggle to pay their bills.

This additional funding will allow us to increase the amount of Council Tax support you receive by up to a further £150.

If you receive Working Tax Credits

The national increase in the amount of working tax credits in payment would have meant you would lose on out support as the scheme has already been set in our area. The Council has decided to put in place some further support so that if you receive working tax credit you will not lose out on any financial help towards your council tax.

When you receive your Council Tax bill it will have new payment instalments on the bottom. If you need to discuss your bill or need any further support please contact the Local Taxation and Benefits Service on 0300 3030164.

Complete and submit the online form and provide the evidence requested.

It can take up to 30 days for us to deal with your new claim or change in circumstance.  We will write to you to tell you about the decision once it has been made. Please do not contact us to check on the progress of your claim unless it has been 30 days since you completed the form.

What information will I need to apply?

When completing the online form you will be asked for:

  • Your national insurance number
  • Details of any savings and investments
  • Details about any earnings, benefits or other income
  • Details about money you pay out

If you live in rented accommodated your housing costs may be funded by Universal Credit, so please read the information contained on the  Government website. If you wish to apply for support towards your Council Tax please also complete the Housing Benefit and Council Tax Reduction/Support application form.

If you are working age you can only make a NEW claim for Housing Benefit if you meet certain criteria;

  • Live in supported accommodation where the landlord provides support
  • Live in Temporary Accommodation

If you are pension age you should make a claim for Housing Benefit.

If you are unsure please check with us by calling 0300 3030164 because if you do not claim the correct benefit you may lose money.

The housing benefit and Council Tax Support schemes help people on a low income to pay their rent and Council Tax. Anyone can claim whether they work, or receive state benefits, such as:

  • Income support
  • Jobseeker’s allowance
  • Pension credit
  • Incapacity benefit
  • Employment support allowance
  • Statutory sick pay
  • Maternity pay
  • Retirement pension
  • Universal credit (only council tax support can be claimed)

You can apply online 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It is the fastest way to get your claim for housing benefit or council tax support started.

You can also tell us online about any changes that could affect your eligibility.

Am I eligible?

The amount you can get depends on who lives with you, your total income, any savings you have and, if you live in private rented accommodation, the number of rooms your family require. You can get an estimate of your entitlement to housing benefit and council tax support using our calculator.

We make regular payments of Housing Benefit to landlords and Housing Benefit claimants by cheque or BACS payment. We make these every four weeks for a landlord, and every two or four weeks for a claimant.

If you rent from a registered social landlord (for example Ongo Homes Ltd or Guinness Northern Counties) you can choose to have your payments made to you or your landlord.

If you choose to have your Housing Benefit paid to you, we can pay you either by cheque or by BACS.

If you rent from a private landlord and we work out your claim under the Local Housing Allowance rules, we will usually pay your Housing Benefit directly into your bank account. Alternatively we can pay you by cheque.

If you do not have a bank account, we may pay your Housing Benefit to your landlord for a short time until you open one.

If you are likely to have difficulty paying your rent you can ask us to pay your Housing Benefit direct to your landlord. Please visit our direct payment to your landlord page to find out more.

Council Tax

We calculate your Council Tax and then, if you are entitled to a Council Tax Support, we apply the discount to your account.

Instead of making payments to you, we issue you with a Council Tax bill showing the discount and how much Council Tax you still need to pay after the discount has been applied.

If you think your Council Tax Support is wrong, please contact the Benefits Section benefits@northlincs.gov.uk or call  0300 3030164

To find out more, visit our Council Tax Support Scheme page.

What is BACs

BACS (Bankers’ Automated Clearing Services) is a direct transfer from our bank account into your bank account.

Using BACS allows us to pay your benefit directly into your bank account quickly and securely.  It is our preferred method of payment.

If you pay Council Tax for your home and you are on welfare benefits or a low income, you may be able to claim a reduction in your Council Tax.

There are two types of help available to people paying Council Tax:

Council Tax Support

Council Tax Benefit was abolished on 31 March 2013. It was replaced by the local Council Tax Support Scheme on 1 April 2013 because of welfare reforms made by central Government. We work it out based on your circumstances. To find out more, visit our Council Tax Support Scheme page.

Second Adult Rebate

We calculate this based on the circumstances of the other adults who live with you. You can claim Second Adult Rebate if you are of pension age and the only person who has to pay Council Tax for your home and you have other adults, such as older children, living with you.

To make an online application please visit our Housing Benefit and Council Tax Support page.

Access your Council Tax account online

This is available 24 hours a day giving you more control.  You can make a payment, see your balance, check your adjustments, apply for benefit, discounts and exemptions.  Simply visit www.northlincs.gov.uk, click on  My Account button and follow the instructions on screen.

We look at how much rent you are being charged by the housing association or registered social landlord (for example, Ongo or Guinness Northern Counties). Then we subtract anything that is included, for example water rates or heating charges.

This gives us the maximum amount of Housing Benefit you can receive.

Further information is available on our page; If I am renting from a housing association

Housing Benefit or Council Tax support can usually be backdated for up to one month if you can prove ‘good cause’. This could include:

if you did not understand that you could claim for some good reason, such as a language difficulties
if an official organisation wrongly told you that you were not entitled to Housing Benefit or Council Tax Support

If you have reached the qualifying age for State Pension Credit you do not have to show good cause, and we can backdate your claim for up to three months, as long as you qualify for the whole of that time.

What should I do?

Make sure you fill in our online claim form for the period you are claiming for and give us all of the supporting evidence we ask for as soon as possible.

What happens next?

We will decide whether we consider your reasons are good enough to backdate your benefit. We will write to you and tell you our decision.

If we decide not to backdate your benefit, we will tell you why.

Can I appeal?

If you do not agree with our decision, you can ask us to look at it again or you can appeal against it. You must write to us within one month of getting our decision. Your letter should say why you are not satisfied.

Current rates

You can calculate the number of bedrooms you will be allocated using the bedroom calculator on the Valuation Office Agency’s website.

COVID-19: Housing Benefit increases

The Government has increased some of the Local Housing Allowance rates paid from April 2020.  We are working hard to implement these increases as soon as possible.  Anyone in receipt of Local Housing Allowance that is affected by this change will receive new Housing Benefit notifications showing the increase.

Local Housing Allowance (LHA) rates (maximum allowances), from 1 April 2020 onwards, based on bedrooms only:

Number of bedrooms – Scunthorpe Broad Rental Market Area (BRMA)

Shared* rate                      £56 per week

One bedroom rate           £74.79 per week

Two bedrooms rate         £103.56 per week

Three bedrooms rate      £111.62 per week

Four bedrooms rate        £136.93 per week

* This applies to most people under the age of 35 with no dependants and most people or couples who choose to live in shared accommodation with no dependants.

The rate will be dependent on the type of accommodation you require. This is a means-tested benefit and the rates shown are the maximum entitlement.

The LHA rates are reviewed annually and may change on 1 April each year.

For more information about LHA, visit the Valuation Office Agency website.

Underpayments and appeals

If you think your Housing Benefit or Council Tax Support calculation is wrong, please let us know as soon as possible. Please have your notification letter with you when you appeal.

Overpayments

To avoid overpayments, please always inform us of a change in your circumstances and check your notification letter carefully. Contact us as soon as possible if you think there is an error. We may allow you to pay in instalments.

Further information and FAQs are available on our Benefit Overpayment page.

Rules relating to the spare room subsidy, often referred to as the ‘bedroom tax’, were updated in 2013. For the latest details please visit the spare room subsidy pages on Gov.uk

You must tell us if anything changes that could affect your eligibility for housing benefit or council tax support. You can use our change of circumstances online form:

Contact

benefits@northlincs.gov.uk

0300 3030164

Or write to:

Benefits
Hewson House
Station Road
Brigg
DN20 8XB