How to claim housing benefit or council tax support

Find out how to make a new housing benefit or council tax support claim, backdate a claim or claim in advance.

Making a new claim

You will need to get a claim forms from your local council. You can do this by:

  • Downloading the form from their website
  • Calling them, using the contact details available in our Local Council Directory
  • Visiting the council offices

If you can go into the council offices with your claim form and all the documents they need to see, they can process your claim and tell you your entitlement. The time this will take will vary between councils.

If you are disabled, and cannot get to your local council, contact them using the details in our Local Council Directory and they may be able to make a home visit to you.

Information for migrants coming into the UK from the European Economic Area (EEA)

You will not be able to claim housing benefit if any of the following apply:

  • You are not entitled to public funds - for example income support, jobseeker's allowance, employment support allowance
  • You do not have permission from the Home Office to stay in the country. This is called 'leave to remain in the country'
  • You are being sponsored to stay in this country by another person living in the UK. This is called being subject to a maintenance undertaking

Rule changes that restrict migrants' access to housing benefit

In April 2014, the rules changed to restrict migrants' access to housing benefit.

You are not able to make a new claim for housing benefit for the first three months after you arrive in the UK, even if you get jobseeker's allowance.

To qualify to apply, you must have been able to support yourself (and your family if they live with you), earning at least £153 a week. Your earnings must also have been at, or above, that level for the three months before you claim housing benefit.

If you are not sure if this affects you, please contact your local council Benefits team using the contact details in the directory.

You can also find information on immigration status on the Visas and immigration pages of the GOV.UK website.

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