What are housing benefit and council tax reduction?
If you are on a low income (whether you are working or not), you may be able to get Housing Benefit to help you pay your rent. Housing Benefit is based on the income, capital (savings, second home, bonds etc.), and the circumstances of you, your partner and your household.
Rental accommodation can include:
- a tenancy with a private landlord, letting agent, council or Housing Association
- shared ownership schemes
- caravan site charges
- mooring charges
- charges for adult placement or supported accommodation schemes (amongst others)
If you are living in a Registered Care Home or with a close relative, such as your parents it is likely that you will not qualify for Housing Benefit. We do not pay Housing Benefit to help pay a mortgage.
If you are on housing benefit, are of working age and have one or more spare bedrooms, your housing benefit may be reduced from April 2013 due to the new under occupation rules.
Council Tax Reduction
If you are liable for paying council tax (your name is on the bill), and are on a low income (whether you are working or not), you may be able to get help to pay your council tax.
Council Tax Reduction is based on the income, capital (savings, second home, bonds etc), and the circumstances of you, your partner and your household.
Unlike Housing Benefit, Council Tax Reduction is available to both those who are in rental accommodation and those with a mortgage.
Council Tax Reduction is a locally run discount scheme to support council tax payers on low incomes that replaces the national Council Tax Benefit scheme from April 2013. Read more about the council tax reduction scheme.
If you are not entitled to Council Tax Reduction because your income or capital is too high, you may still be able to claim Maximum Alternative Reduction, (also known as Second Adult Rebate), which is a reduction on your council tax.
Please note you can only qualify if you are above the age to claim state pension credit.
Maximum Alternative Reduction is abolished for all working age claimants from April 2013.
Maximum Alternative Reduction
Maximum Alternative Reduction is calculated on the income of any other adults living in your property, not your income. You could receive up to 25% off your council tax bill if the other adults living in your home are on a low income.
The other adults sharing your home must not be:
- your partner
- under 18
- paying rent
- liable for the council tax
- a joint owner or joint tenant
- already disregarded for a discount on your council tax bill; for example you must not be getting a student discount of 25%
When you make a claim for Council Tax Reduction we will automatically decide whether or not you would be better off with ordinary Council Tax Reduction or Maximum Alternative Reduction. You can also tell us if you only want to claim for Maximum Alternative Reduction.
You can apply for Housing Benefit, Council Tax Reduction or Maximum Alternative Reduction on the same application form. There is no need for separate applications.
If you want more information about Housing Benefit or Council Tax Reduction, please contact us using the details on the left.
Local offices are also situated in:
|Telephone: 0300 456 0110|
All offices are open Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday 8.30am to 5.30pm, Wednesday 12pm to 5.30pm
The Housing Benefits and Local Welfare Provision ‘drop-in’ and appointment service will be closed on Wednesdays until 12pm.
The telephone service is not affected by this closure and you can therefore still contact the Housing Benefits Service on 0300 456 0110 and the Local Welfare Provision Service on 0300 003 4567 on a Wednesday morning.
Last updated: 7 November 2014