You may be entitled to claim housing benefit if you are on a low income and have savings and investments below £16,000. If you are in receipt of guaranteed pension credit, the savings amount is not applicable. Housing benefits can be awarded to those renting from the council, a housing association or a private landlord. You cannot claim if you are renting from a close relative who lives in the same house, and you cannot claim if you are paying a mortgage on the property. You may be able to get help paying the interest on a mortgage from the Department for Work and Pensions. This benefit calculator will help determine whether you are eligible to claim, and how much you may be entitled to. Please be aware that this is only a guide, not an application. You will need to have to following information to complete the calculator:
- Your and your partner’s income
- The income of any other adults living in the property
- The total amount of savings and investments you have
- The amount of rent you are charged
- Your weekly Local Housing Allowance rate
Please note that your claim may also be affected by social housing size restrictions, or by any non-dependant adults also living at your property. Further details can be found below, and in this Guide to Claiming Housing Benefit.pdf [pdf] 966K.
Making a claim
If you have completed the benefit calculator and believe you may qualify, you will need to complete a claim form. You can collect one from either of our offices, or call us on 01903 737753 to request one in the post. Once you have completed the form and gathered all of the necessary documentation (see part 15 of the claim form for a checklist) please return it all to us. You can do this by post to the Littlehampton address at the foot of this page, or in person to either office. Home visits can be arranged if necessary, please phone 01903 737753 to discuss this.
If you are eligible
When your claim will start
If you are eligible and are of working age, your claim will usually start from the Monday after you contacted us to make your application. You can request backdating for a period of up to 1 month, but must show continuous good cause in order for this to be applied.
If you are of pensionable age and eligible to claim, benefit can be backdated up to a maximum of 3 months prior to the application date. This may not apply if your 60th birthday was in this period.
How the benefit will be paid
If you are renting from Arun District Council, your benefit will be paid directly to your rent account. If you are renting from a registered social landlord, you can decide whether we pay the benefit directly to the landlord or to yourself. If you are in private rented accommodation, your benefit will normally be paid directly to you. However, in some circumstances, we may pay your landlord directly. You can read more about this in our Payment to Landlords Policy.pdf [pdf] 50KB.
Your benefit will be paid fortnightly on Mondays. If the payment day falls on a bank holiday, it will be the next working day.
Change of circumstances
Your housing benefit is likely to be affected if your circumstances change. You must inform us immediately of any of the following changes:
- Your rent
- Where you live
- The people who live with you
- Your income
- Your bank account
- Your savings and investments
If you do not, you may miss out on money you are entitled to. Alternatively, you could receive too much and have to pay it back later. More information on overpayments and recovery is available below. You can report a change to your circumstances using the change of circumstances form. If we require supporting evidence, you can post it to the address at the bottom of this page, bring it in to either of our offices, or send it as an attachment to firstname.lastname@example.org. You must include the following information:
- Claim reference number
- Full name and address
- Date of birth
- National Insurance Number
If your change of circumstance affects your entitlement, we will send you a revised decision notification. Please look at this example of the housing benefit notification.pdf [pdf] 376KB for an explanation of the layout and where to find the information we are requesting from you.
Changes to payments
If you would like to change the bank account your benefit is paid into, please complete the change of payment form.
If you are in private rented accommodation and are having trouble managing your money, you can request that your benefit is paid directly to your landlord by emailing email@example.com. You can read more about this in our Payment to Landlords Policy.pdf [pdf] 50KB
Moving house and benefit overlaps
When you move house, you might have a rental liability on both properties for a short period. You may be awarded extra help during this time. This overlap will only be awarded for the period between the date you move into your new address and the date the tenancy expires on the old property. The overlap payment is available for a maximum of 4 weeks, and you must explain why the overlap could not be avoided. We may ask you for evidence of this, such as a letter from your previous landlord confirming when you handed in your notice to terminate the tenancy and the last date you were liable for rent. Please complete this overlap request form to make an application.
If you believe your housing benefit is wrong, you are entitled to request an explanation of how we made our decision and ask us to review it. You must contact us within one month of the date of the decision if you wish for it to be reviewed, although this may be extended under special circumstances. You can use this appeals form, or telephone 01903 737753. You can supply additional supporting documentation if you wish. Further information can be found in the Housing Benefit Appeals Booklet.pdf [pdf] 801KB. When the review is complete we will either send you a new decision notice, or an explanation of why your entitlement did not change. This process can be followed once more, and if you still disagree you have a further month from the date of the new decision to appeal a final time. This appeal will have to be made in writing to the Benefits Appeals Officer at the address at the bottom of this page. The appeal will be heard by an independent tribunal, and is administered by the appeals service. The outcome of this tribunal is final.