Page last updated at 14:50 GMT, Monday, May 13 2013
Housing Benefit and Council Tax Support
Are you entitled to help with your Rent and Council Tax?
If you are on a low income, you may be entitled to help with
your Rent and/or Council Tax payments by completing our
online claim form.
If you are housebound, a Visiting Officer is available to
help you complete the form at your home. Please remember that
any delay in claiming will mean that you may lose out on benefit or
support to which you are entitled.
Local Housing Allowance (Housing Benefit)
Housing Benefit in the Private Rented Sector changed from 7
April 2008 to Local Housing Allowance (LHA).
Local Housing Allowances will only apply to privately rented
accommodation for new claims or claims where there has been a
change of address. Social Housing is not included in the
rules for LHA.
The amount of Housing Benefit payable will be determined based
on the size of the family and the 'locality' they are in.
Localities are determined by the Rent Officer service and for
Eastleigh the locality will be Southampton. LHA will be payable at
the levels set even where the rent paid for the accommodation is
less than the applicable LHA. It is possible for a claimant
to receive up to £15 above the rent if the LHA is calculated as
more than the rent payable.
What Happens When Making a Claim
You will be required to fully complete a claim form and provide
original documents to support your claim as asked for on the
application form. If you do not, your claim will be delayed and we
will be unable to pay you benefit or support. When we have checked
and verified all your details we will assess your claim and write
to you with a decision.
If you have not heard from us within 14 days of making a claim
you should contact the office immediately to check that we have
received your form and are not waiting for any other
Changes in Your Circumstances
It is very important that you tell the benefit section about
changes in your circumstances. Not only does it prevent
overpayments but it also ensures that you receive the money to
which you are entitled. If the change increases the amount of
benefit or support you should receive you will not get the
increased entitlement from the date of the change unless you tell
the Council within one month of that change.
Housing Benefit payments are made by BACS. Payments are made
every 4 weeks and are normally credited to your account on the
Wednesday of the week in which payment is due. You can access your
benefit more quickly because you do not have to pay in a cheque and
wait for it to clear. Contact the Housing benefit section for more
details or a form on which to apply. With the introduction of
LHA, payment of benefit direct to the landlord will no longer be
allowed except in cases where the authority determines that the
claimant is vulnerable.
If you are paid too much Housing Benefit or Council
Tax Support an overpayment occurs.
Council Tax Support overpayments are collected through your Council
Tax account, increasing the amount you need to pay. You will be
sent a bill with the new amount and details of any revised
payments. You will need to contact the Council Tax section if you
wish to discuss the instalments shown on your bill.
Housing Benefit overpayments are recovered either by deduction from
your ongoing Housing benefit, if you are still entitled, or by
sending you an invoice. You can either pay the invoice in full or
contact the Benefits section to make an arrangement. If you fail to
repay the amount due by the due date further recovery action will
be taken against you, which will incur costs.
Where tenants are considered vulnerable by the authority direct
payments can be made to the landlord. It is the authority's
decision whether to treat a claimant as vulnerable.
Payment can still be made to a landlord where the tenant is
eight weeks in arrears with their rent as currently permitted under
the Housing Benefit regulations.
If you want to find out more about Local Housing Allowance or
payment of Benefit please contact the Benefits office on 023 8068
If you are over 60 your claim for Housing/Council Tax benefit
can be backdated up to a maximum of 3 months. When you make your
claim you will be asked to provide details of your circumstances
during this past period to enable us to make an assessment.
If you are under 60 you may ask for your claim to be backdated
for up to 6 months prior to your application. You must prove that
you had a very good reason for failing to apply earlier. This is
called "good cause". You will be asked for documentary evidence to
support your request. For instance, if you have been ill, a letter
from your doctor or the hospital.
Applicants have the right to appeal against any decision made
about their claim provided it is made within one month from the
date on the decision letter. Appeals must be made in writing to the
If you are a landlord you can only appeal against the decision
whether or not to make payment directly to you, or whether to
recover an overpayment from you. The time limit of one month also
applies to landlords.
Discretionary Housing Payments
If you receive Housing Benefit which does not meet the full
amount of your rent you can apply for Discretionary Housing
Payments. You will be required to give a breakdown of
your income and expenditure before any consideration is made.
Discretionary Housing Payments may be given for a limited period
if the Council consider it appropriate in your circumstances.
However, there is a cash limited budget and the decision whether to
give any additional payments is solely at the discretion of
the Council and does not have the same appeal rights as for Housing
and Council Tax benefit.
The Valuation Office Agency
The Valuation Office Agency (VOA) is an executive
agency of the Department for Work and Pensions. The VOA
provides valuations for local authorities in England, for use in
the assessment of claims for Housing Benefit where the tenant is
renting from a private landlord, in such cases such as caravans,
houseboats (including mooring charges), mobile homes, hostels
(including temporary bed and breakfast accommodation). The
determination will usually run for 12 months.
To learn more about The Valuation Office Agency visit their
Help and Advice for Young People
No Limits is a charity which offers free and confidential
information, advice, counselling, advocacy and support for young
people under the age of 26 living in Southampton and
To find out more about No limits, visit their
Local Welfare Assistance
Hampshire County Council has been given money by the Department
for Work and Pensions to develop what has been called Local Welfare
Assistance. This money is to be used to develop local help
and support for people who are facing crisis or struggling to
More information about Local Welfare Assistance can be found
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