Find out if you are eligible for housing benefit and council tax support and how to apply. Details of Local Housing Allowance and how to appeal decisions.
Housing Benefit and Council Tax Support
New SMS text messaging service
The Local Taxation and Benefits Service (includes Council Tax, Benefits, Business Rates and Debt Recovery teams) are now using SMS text messages to provide you with information about our service. Please note that these are only used in some cases and you should not rely on us sending you a text message to update you about your account.
If we already have your mobile number in our system you will be signed up for the service automatically. If we don’t have your mobile number or your number has changed recently and you would like to receive SMS texts please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
If you would like to opt-out of receiving SMS text messages for Council Tax please email email@example.com to confirm that you do not wish to receive information from us by SMS text message. You will need to give your account number, name and address so we can update your account accordingly.
The SMS text messages are sent by North Lincolnshire Council, and will show as “NL Council”. The sending of messages is a confidential service, your mobile number will not be shared with third parties and we will not send you any other marketing messages to your phone.
Council Tax and Housing Benefit support available
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 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 pay you 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.
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.
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.
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.
You can calculate the number of bedrooms you will be allocated using the bedroom calculator on the Valuation Office Agency’s website.
Local Housing Allowance (LHA) rates (maximum allowances), from 1 April 2021 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.
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.
The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) is responsible for investigating housing benefit fraud.
If you think someone is committing housing benefit fraud, you can report it online to the DWP:
The council is responsible for investigating all other suspicions of fraud, irregularity and misuse. You can report all other types of suspected fraud to the council.
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