Housing Benefits

What is it and who can claim?

If you're on a low income and finding it difficult to pay all or part of your rent, you may be able to get Housing Benefit.

You may get Housing Benefit if you pay rent and your income and capital (savings and investments) are below a certain level.

Who is eligible to make a claim?

You may get Housing Benefit if you pay rent and your income and capital (savings and investments) are below a certain level.

• A single person above state retirement age 
• A couple who have BOTH reached state retirement age
• Anyone living in specified accommodation, exempt accommodation or temporary accommodation
• Any one in receipt of the benefits below who are receiving the Severe Disability Premium within their award;

  • Income support
  • Employment Support Allowance
  • Job Seekers Allowance

To work out your Housing Benefit, we will look at:

  • Money you and your partner or civil partner have coming in, including earnings, certain benefits and tax credits and things like occupational pensions
  • Your savings and your partner's or civil partner's savings
  • Your circumstances: for example your age, the size of your family and their ages, if you or any of your family are disabled, and if anyone who lives with you could help with the rent

If you're entitled to Income Support, income-based Jobseeker's Allowance, Income Related Employment Support Allowance or the 'guarantee credit' of Pension Credit you could get maximum help with your rent.

Who isn't eligible?

You can't usually get Housing Benefit if:

  • You have savings of over £16,000, unless you are aged 60 or over and getting the 'guarantee credit' of Pension Credit
  • You live in the home of a close relative
  • You're a full-time student (unless you're disabled or have children)
  • You're an asylum seeker or are sponsored to be in the UK
  • You are in receipt of Universal Credit

To see if you can get any help and for an estimate of your entitlement you can use our benefits calculator . (Please note, all our forms are compatible with Internet Explorer and Safari, however you may experience issues when using other browsers).

What if I own my home?

Getting help to make your mortgage interest payments.

Homeowners on certain benefits may be able to get help towards mortgage interest payments, called Support for Mortgage Interest (SMI).

You may get help if you are a homeowner and are eligible for:

  • Income Support
  • Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
  • Pension Credit

To find out more about this, follow the link to the Gov.UK Website

Check Eligibilty 

How To Claim

There is one claim form to complete and you are assessed for both Housing Benefit and Council Tax Reduction at the same time.

If you are claiming for an address in Flintshire, then the form, together with any evidence to support your claim will need to be returned to us. As benefit cannot normally be backdated, you should make your claim as quickly as possible.

Claim online:

We know that benefit forms can be quite long and complicated, so we have used new internet forms technology to make our on-line application as easy as possible:

• You can fill in the whole form off-line.  It doesn't matter if there are any problems with the internet, you can carry on with the form regardless.  You don't even have to fill it in all in one go.  You can save the form on your computer, and come back to it later.

• The form will help and guide you as you work through it, ensuring that you only fill in parts that are relevant to your claim.  This makes the form much simpler to complete.

• The form checks itself for errors and highlights anything you have missed.  When your form is free of errors it is easier for us to process.

• When completed, you can submit the form directly to our server so we can begin processing your claim without delay.

• Where we need to see evidence from you to support your claim, the form will give you a customised list of exactly what we need to see. This information must be provided within one month of your claim being submitted. 

• To protect your privacy, all information you enter on the form is encrypted.

Online Application Form .  (Please note, all our forms are compatible with Internet Explorer, Chrome and Safari, however you may experience issues when using other browsers). If you do not have internet access or require assistance to complete your claim then please visit your local Connects Office, addresses of which can be found in the contact information section or click below.

https://www.flintshire.gov.uk/en/Resident/Contact-Us/Flintshire-Connects.aspx

How It's Paid

If you are a council tenant, we will pay any Housing Benefit straight into your rent account.

If you're not a council tenant the payment will normally be made to you, straight to your bank or building society account.

If you do not already have a bank or building society account, you will need to open one.  That way you can arrange to pay the rent to your landlord automatically, using a standing order.

It is up to you to pay the rent to your landlord.  If you don't pay rent, you may be taken to court and evicted from the property.

If you are worried about managing your money, contact us to see if we can help you. In some cases, we may be able to pay your benefit directly to your landlord. Our Safeguard Policy gives more information on this.

Housing Benefit won't affect other benefits you get.

E- Notifications Service

What is E-Notifications?

E-Notifications is the new way to receive your Housing Benefit/Council Tax Reduction notifications instead of getting a traditional notification letter we will send your notification by e-mail. We can also send your landlord their notifications by email if they request.

What are the benefits of E-Notifications?

E-Notfications will provide a faster, more efficient and convenient way to receive and check your notifications. Here are some of the advantages:

• You can view your Housing Benefit/Council Tax Reduction notifications as soon as they are available and keep a copy on file.

• You still have the choice to download and print your notifications.

• You can redistribute copies of your notifications quickly and electronically.

• Notifications are issued direct to the intended recipient and are not delayed by post.

• It helps the Council to reduce printing and postage costs.

• It helps protect the environment by saving paper.

How do I register for E-Notifications?

To register to receive E-Notifications, simply complete the short application form.  (Please note, all our forms are compatible with Internet Explorer and Safari, however you may experience issues when using other browsers).

Claimant Form                                          Landlord Form

Once we have received your application form, you will be sent an email to the email address that you provided on the application form.

Within this email is a link which will take you through some security questions to ensure we have the correct email address. Once you have completed this process and clicked Submit we will then set you up for E Notifications.

Please ensure that the website address is https://digital.flintshire.gov.uk/ and that there is a padlock image showing that the website is secure.

Changes in your circumstances

What do I do if my circumstances change?

You must tell us straightaway about any change in your circumstances.  It is your responsibility to let us know of any changes that may affect the amount of benefit you get.

If you do not tell us straight away we may pay you too much benefit, and you will have to pay back the overpayment.  Even if you have told another agency, such as the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) or Pension Service, you must still tell us.

If the change means that you are entitled to more benefit and you do not tell us within one month of the change happening, you may lose benefit.

You may be prosecuted if you deliberately give us false information or fail to tell us of a change in your circumstances in order to get more benefit than you have a right to receive.

What type of changes must I tell you about?

Here are some examples of changes affecting you, your partner or a member of your household which you need to tell us about:

• Wages, pensions or benefits go up or down

• Any other change in your income

• Start or stop work

• Change jobs

• Start to get or no longer get any State Benefit

• Savings going up or down, unless they remain less than £6,000 (or less than £10,000 for pensioners aged 60+)

• If the amount of your savings goes over £16,000

• How many people live with you

• Any of your children leaving school

• If you stop receiving Child Benefit for a child

• Moving home (even if you move to another flat or room at the same address)

• Birth of a baby

• Going into hospital or a residential / nursing home

• A change in the amount of rent your landlord charges you

Please note;

This is not a full list and if you are unsure whether a change in your circumstances will affect your benefit please contact us for further advice.

Remember - If in doubt, tell us about it!

How do I report a change?

Please complete the Change in Circumstances form.  (Please note, all our forms are compatible with Internet Explorer and Safari, however you may experience issues when using other browsers).

If you are self employed and do not have an accountant please complete the following form to provide proof of your income. Self Employed Income form.  (Please note, all our forms are compatible with Internet Explorer and Safari, however you may experience issues when using other browsers).

What happens next?

Once we have been told about the change we will let you know whether a new application form or any further proof is required.

If you have provided us with everything we need, we will recalculate your benefit and notify you of your new award

Discretionary Housing Payments

Discretionary Housing Payments (DHPs) are payments that may be made by the Council to people that are receiving Housing Benefit or Universal Credit (Housing Element), but who may still need further financial help with their housing costs.

The money used for DHPs is provided by the Government every year, but it is a limited sum and the Council has to decide how best to award the money.  In order to make a payment, the Council tries to meet the following objectives;

  • To encourage and help keep people in employment
  • To prevent homelessness and aid people to retain sustainable tenancies
  • To help people who are trying to help themselves
  • To help keep families together
  • To support vulnerable people in the community
  • To help people through times in which they are stressed and vulnerable
  • To help to alleviate poverty
  • To assist people that are particularly disadvantaged by Welfare Reforms

In order to make a decision the Council will consider the following points;

  • The shortfall between a person’s Housing Benefit and their rent
  • Steps taken by a person to reduce their rent liability
  • Steps taken by the person to find cheaper alternative accommodation
  • Reasons why a person cannot move to cheaper alternative accommodation
  • Steps taken by a person to increase their income
  • The financial circumstances of the person and their family, but payments of Disability Living Allowance or Personal Independence Payment (PIP) will not be considered as income as these are intended to be used to help pay for extra costs of disability and any related expenditure up to the value of the amount of disablilty awarded.
  • Any relevant medical circumstances of the person and their family
  • Any circumstances which may be considered as exceptional
  • The level of funding available to FCC
  • The consequences of not awarding a DHP

Apply

View the Discretionary Housing Payment Policy

Please click on the following links to see if you are eligible for more assistance to help you manage your money;

Discretionary Assistance Fund

Dwr Cymru - Lower Water bills

Dwr Cymru - Customer Assistance Fund

Dee Valley Water - Lower Water bills

United Utilities - Difficulty paying bills

(Please note, all our forms are compatible with Internet Explorer and Safari, however you may experience issues when using other browsers). 

Universal Credit

For information on Universal Credit please click on the link

Universal Credit

Free School Meals and Uniform Grants

Free School Meals

What is free school meals policy?

Free school meals will be provided for pupils whose parents receive:

  • Income Support,
  • Income Based Jobseekers Allowance,
  • Support under Part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999,
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance,
  • Child Tax Credit, provided they are not entitled to Working Tax Credit and their annual income does not exceed £16,190,
  • Guarantee element of State Pension Credit,
  • Working Tax Credit 'run-on' - the payment someone may receive for a further four weeks after they stop qualifying for Working Tax Credit or Universal Credit.
  • Universal credit(If earned income is included in the assessment of UC it must be less than £616.66)

Why is it important to apply?

If you are eligible to receive free school meals it is very important to your child’s school that you apply. The school can access funding for children who qualify for free school meals that will allow them to provide targeted support programs, buy equipment and resources etc.

If your child prefers to take a packed lunch or make other arrangements it is still important to register for free school meals so the school can access funding. 

How do I apply?

You must complete an online form to apply for free school meals.

For Enquires:

Email: FreeSchoolMeals@flintshire.gov.uk

 

Uniform Grants

Please ONLY apply for children starting reception, Year 3, Year 7 or Year 10; parents must already be in receipt of or applying for Free School Meals based on the following income;

  • Income Support,
  • Income Based Jobseekers Allowance,
  • Support under Part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999,
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance,
  • Child Tax Credit,
  • provided they are not entitled to Working Tax Credit and their annual income does not exceed £16,190,
  • Guarantee element of State Pension Credit,
  • Working Tax Credit 'run-on' - the payment someone may receive for a further four weeks after they stop qualifying for Working Tax Credit or Universal Credit.
  • Universal credit(If earned income is included in the assessment of UC it must be less than £616.66)

The Funding is also available to all looked after children (Foster Care) of compulsory school age and pupils with no recourse to public funds.

You must complete an online form to apply for uniform grants.

For Enquires;

Email: benefits@flintshire.gov.uk

The Housing Benefit Cap

 In recent years there have been some changes to the amount of benefit that a working age household can receive.   Since 7th November 2016, The Benefit cap was set at, and remains as:

  • £384.62 per week (£20,000 a year) for a family or couple
  • £384.62 per week (£20,000 a year) for a single person with children living with them
  • £257.69 per week (£13,400 a year) for a single person.

If you think you may be affected by the Benefit Cap you may be entitled to claim Discretionary Housing Payments to assist you.

If you would like further information or advice, please contact us as soon as possible either by email benefits@flintshire.gov.uk or phone, 01352 704848, or call into one of the Council’s Connects Offices.

Local Housing Allowance (LHA)

On 25 March 2020, the Council received information that the Government are increasing LHA rates effective from 06 April 2020 due to COVID-19.  
We are urgently working to make sure that our customers affected by this announcement have their claims altered as soon as we can.  If you are in receipt of Housing Benefit and you are subject to LHA rules (see more information below), we will send you a letter that will detail any changes to your Housing Benefit from 06 April 2020.
We would very much appreciate if you would bear with us whilst we undertake this urgent work.
Please find more information below regarding LHA.

 

If you are renting a property or room from a private landlord and you are on a low income, you may be able to claim and receive Local Housing Allowance (LHA).

What is Local Housing Allowance?

Local Housing Allowance is a new way of working out Housing Benefit for people who rent accommodation from a private landlord. It was introduced in April 2008.  It applies to new claims for benefit and for customers already on Housing Benefit who change address or move into privately rented accommodation.

If you live in council accommodation or other social housing, such as a housing association, LHA will not affect you unless you move into accommodation rented from a private landlord.

How does Local Housing Allowance work?

The amount of LHA is based on the area that the customer rents in, the number of occupiers in the property and the size of the household.  LHA is a fairer way of calculating Housing Benefit, as it ensures that tenants with similar circumstances and living in the same area receive the same amount help with their rent.

How do these changes affect those already on Housing Benefit?

If you are already on Housing Benefit, you will not be affected unless you change address and move into accommodation rented from a private landlord.  You would then change over to LHA.

How is Local Housing Allowance calculated?

The Rent Service calculate LHA rates for each individual area or ‘Broad Market Rental Areas’, as they are known.  The rates vary for each area and also depend on the number of bedrooms in the property.  The rates are reviewed monthly.

To work out the maximum LHA rates you need to know:

1) Which bedroom rate you qualify for.

2) The (Broad Market Rental) Area that you will be renting in.

Which bedroom rate do I qualify for?

This is not the number of bedrooms in the property but the number of bedrooms your household actually needs. Follow the link to find out how many bedrooms you qualify for:

Local Housing Allowance Bedroom Calculator  .

How much is the LHA Bedroom rate for my Postcode?

You can find out which Broad Market Rental Area you are renting in by using the Post Code search facility on the attached link. Also, by selecting the number of bedrooms you qualify for, you can view the maximum LHA rate that applies.

Find Local Housing Allowance rates by Post Code  .

How much will I actually get?

The LHA rates are the maximum benefit you can receive. Remember that LHA is a means tested benefit and that you may get less than the maximum allowance.  This will depend on the money you have coming in and any savings you have.

If the rent is more than the allowance you receive, you will have to pay the difference or look for alternative accommodation.

For an estimate of your entitlement you can use our benefits calculator (Please note, all our forms are compatible with Internet Explorer and Safari, however you may experience issues when using other browsers).

Where are the rates published?

The current LHA rates for the Broad Market Rental Areas in Flintshire can be found online at: https://lha-direct.voa.gov.uk/Search.aspx 

Rent Restrictions

From the 1 April 2013, Housing Benefit will be reduced for working age people who are considered to have “spare” bedrooms in their Council and Housing Association accommodation.  This is determined under new rules.

Under these new rules one bedroom is allowed for each of the following:

  • A single adult or couple, and
  • A child, but two children can share a bedroom up to the age of 10 if they are the opposite sex, or 16 if they are the same sex, and
  • A room is also allowed for a claimant or partner that requires overnight care from a carer.

If a tenant has one spare bedroom in the house under these rules, then the full rent that their Housing Benefit is calculated on is reduced by 14%.  If there is two or more spare bedrooms, the full rent for Housing Benefit is reduced by 25%.

People that have a death in their household are protected from the reduction for 12 months.

Benefit Fraud

While most people claim benefits honestly, a small number abuse the system. Nationally, millions of pounds are stolen this way every year. You can help by reporting anyone who you suspect is committing Benefit Fraud. Any information provided will be treated in strict confidence and you do not have to give your name. 

How do I report benefit fraud?

There has to be a good reason for investigating someone for benefit fraud, so you’ll need to give as much information as possible. There are a number of ways that you can report a suspected benefit thief:

Report Benefit Fraud Online

Or you can call the National Benefit Fraud Hotline (NBFH), Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm on 0800 854 440 (Welsh Telephone: 0800 678 3722) or write to NBFH, PO Box 224, Preston, PR1 1GP.

After you have reported someone

The relevant service will look at the information you give and check the person’s benefit claim. For confidentiality reasons, you will not be told the result of any investigations.

More information

You can find out more information about benefit fraud at www.gov.uk/benefit-fraud

Customer Satisfaction Questionnaire

We value your feedback on the service you have received.  Please complete our Customer Service Questionnaire on the link below.

Customer Satisfaction Questionnaire

Contact information

You may need to contact us for a number of reasons, perhaps to tell us of a change in your circumstances or for advice on making a new claim.

You can contact us in the following ways:

By e-mail

benefits@flintshire.gov.uk

By phone

You can ring us between 8.30am - 5.00pm Monday to Friday.

Our telephone number is 01352 704848

Log a call back request here

By post

Benefits Team
Flintshire County Council
County Hall
Mold
CH7 6NA

The local Connects Offices are located in the following areas.

Buckley Library, The Precinct, Buckley, CH7 2EF

Connah’s Quay Library,Wepre Drive,Connah’s Quay,CH5 4HA

Flint, Church Street,Flint,CH6 5DB

Holywell,Old Town Hall,High Street,Holywell,CH8 7TD,

Mold Library,Earl Road,CH7 1AP