Housing Benefit and Council Tax Support provide help towards
meeting rent and/or Council Tax liability for people in receipt of
Income Support, Job Seekers Allowance (Income Based) or any other
In order to claim help with rent and Council Tax a
completed application must be submitted together with any
A calculator is available to
enable you to decide if you wish to claim Council Tax Support/
Housing Benefit, it will show you whether or not you are likely to
qualify. Note that it provides and ESTIMATE only. More
information about the Benefits Calculator
Link to Regulations for Council Tax Support (default) scheme
Barrow Borough Councils Vision Statement.
The Council's vision for the Benefits Service is to pay
the right people, the right benefit, at the right time
You can claim Housing Benefit/Council Tax Support if:-
- you are on Income Support, Job Seekers Allowance or
employment and Support Allowance.
- you are on a low income (this includes people who are
- you have a liability to pay rent and or council
You cannot get Housing Benefit/Council Tax Support if:-
- you, or your partner between you, have more than £16,000
A partner is someone you are married to, or someone you live
with as if you are married to them.
Second Adult Rebate
Second Adult Rebate is for people who would not qualify for
Council Tax Support because their income is too high; but have
other people living with them who are on a low income, the person
who is responsible for Council Tax must make the claim. You
normally cannot claim a Second Adult Rebate if you are married or
have a partner that lives with you, however there is an exception
to this rule. To claim a Second Adult Rebate we would
need to see the income details of the adult(s) living with
you. We do not need your income/capital details.
How do I claim?
If you claim Income Support, Job Seekers Allowance or
Employment and Support Allowance, you can make your claim
for Housing Benefit via the DWP. (The DWP are part of the
Department of Works and Pensions).
They will send the form to us with proof of your Income
Support/ Job Seeker Allowance (income based)/ Employment Support
Alternatively, you can complete our Housing Benefit/Council
Tax Support application form and provide it to us direct. (You will
also be expected to provide supporting documentation
with your claim form.)
Even if you have not claimed income support or job seekers
allowance (income based), you can claim Council Tax Support if you
are on a low income.
You can get the claim form by contacting
, or you can download forms here:
Application forms are also available from Liberata's offices
at the Customer Service Centre in Barrow Town Hall.
Barrow Borough Council has signed up to the Verification
Framework (a government anti-fraud initiative). This means that a
high level of supporting documentary evidence must be submitted
when making any claim for Benefit.
Only original documents are acceptable NOT
Examples of some of the proof needed.
National Insurance Number:
- National Insurance number card.
- Benefit entitlement letter.
- Pay slip from current employer.
Evidence of rent payments, other than those made to the
Two proofs of identity:
- Birth or adoption certificate.
- Passport (current & valid).
- National Insurance number card.
- Current driving licence.
- Recent utility bill in your name.
- Pay slips from current employer.
- Private Pension Slip.
- Medical Card.
- Evidence of you or your partner being self employed:
- Up to date accounts.
- If you do not have up to date accounts ask for an estimate of
self-employed earnings form.
- Self employed earnings
form (MS Word 863 kb)
If you or your partner work:
- Pay slips for you and your partner
- if paid weekly, the last 5 pay slips
- if paid fortnightly, the last 3 pay slips
- if paid monthly, the last 2 pay slips
- If these are not available ask your employer to complete
a Proof of earnings
form (MS Word 69.5kb)
Evidence of any benefits being received:
- Letter of entitlement,
- Bank statements showing these payments.
Any other money coming in:
- Maintenance a letter from the person paying the money to
confirm how much they pay and how often or at least two bank
statements showing these payments.
- Capital, savings etc.
- Consecutive bank statements showing a minimum of two months
- Passbook. This must be updated to show all interest
- Share certificates
- National Savings certificates
- Unit Trusts etc.
For anyone who lives in your household:
- Income, Benefits, savings etc. documents as described
If you or your partner have children who live with you:
- Your Child Benefit letter of entitlement
If you or your partner pay for child care:
- A letter from your registered childminder/ organisation
- their full name and address
- their registration number
- the name of the child they look after
- how much is paid and how often.
If you or your partner own a property other than the one you
live in you need to contact Liberata's office.
Please remember we need to see original documents not
Claim Start Dates and Backdating
The Start Date of Your Benefit Claim
Legislation requires your claim for Benefit/Support must be
made in writing, either on a benefit application form or by
Normally we will start your claim from the Monday after we
receive your application form or letter. It is therefore very
important that you get your application form or letter to us as
soon as possible because it affects the date your benefit claim
will start from.
We can also register your interest in claiming benefit by
telephone (General Enquiries - Tel 01229 404242,
8.30 a.m. to 5.00 p.m. Monday to Thursday and 8.30
a.m. to 4.30 p.m. on a Friday), we will send you an
application form that will have to be completed and returned to the
Benefit service within 1 month of the date you contacted us. In
this instance your claim start date will be the date you contacted
us by telephone.
If there has been a reason which stopped or delayed you
applying for Housing Benefit/Council Tax Support you can ask
for your claim to be 'backdated' so that it starts from an earlier
The Rules on Backdating
You can only ask for a backdate if there is a reason why
you were unable to apply for your benefit/support earlier. If you
disagree with the date your claim starts from for any other reason
you can appeal against the decision. Link to information on how to
In order for a backdate of Housing Benefit/Council Tax Support
to be allowed you will have to show 'good cause' why you did not
apply earlier. There is no formal definition of 'good cause', each
case will be decided according to its own individual situation.
There are no formal time limits on making a backdate request, but
the maximum period that a benefit claim can be backdated is six
months from the date we receive the backdate request for working
age people, and three months from the date we receive the backdate
request for pensioners.
What To Do If You Think Your Benefit Is Wrong
When you apply for Housing Benefit, we will give you a
decision in writing about your claim. If you disagree with it, you
can ask us to look at it again.
There are different ways in which you can do this. You can
contact us to:
- ask us to explain our decision;
- ask us to look at your claim again; or
- appeal against our decision
You must be the person affected by our decision to ask us for
any of these options.
Who is a Person Affected?
A person affected is :-
- A claimant.
- Someone acting on behalf of the claimant who is appointed
by the Courts.
- Someone who the Council agrees is appointed to act on
behalf of the claimant.
- A landlord - but only in matters relating to whom payment
of Benefit is to be made.
- An agent - but only in matters relating to whom payment
of Benefit is to be made.
- Any person from whom, it is determined, an overpayment is
to be recovered.
This means that only the claimant can ask the Council to
revise a decision concerning the calculation of a claimant's
entitlement; and that the landlord or agent can only ask the
Council to revise a decision about whether payment should be made
to a landlord and whether the decision to recover an overpayment
from a landlord or agent has been correctly made.
What should you do if you are not happy with the Council's
You can ask us to give you a statement in writing to explain how
we made our decision. This does not affect your right to
appeal against our decision. The time we take to provide the
statement will mean you have more time to ask us to look at our
decision again or appeal to the Tribunal Service.
If you want us to look at the decision again you must write to
us within one month of the date on the decision
letter. If there are special circumstances which mean you cannot
write to us within one month, you must contact us to explain
because we may still be able to look again at our decision. If
we can change our decision we will send you a letter explaining our
new decision. If we cannot change our decision we will send a
letter explaining why and you have one more month to appeal to the
If you want to appeal against the decision you must appeal in
writing to us within one calendar month of the date on the decision
letter. The tribunal hearing is made up of people
who are independent from us. It is important you give your
reasons for appealing because the tribunal does not have to look at
anything you don't mention in your appeal letter.
Will the person have to attend the Tribunal?
Tribunals are held locally. The Tribunals Service will write
to the person to tell them of the date, time and place of their
hearing. They will also be asked if they want to attend or whether
they would prefer the Tribunal to consider their case without them
being present, this is called a 'paper hearing'.
In most cases the Tribunal will consist of only one panel
member who is a legally qualified person. If, however , complicated
financial matters are to be considered a financially qualified
person will also be present. The Clerk to the Tribunal and the
Council's representative may also be present.
What if I am not happy with the Tribunal's decision?
If the Council or the person affected feels that the decision
of the Appeal Tribunal is wrong in law they can seek leave to
appeal to the Social Security Commissioners.
If you have any further questions regarding appeals you can
contact us using the details above.
The amount of Benefit payable is a matter between the Council
and the claimant. Only the tenant can ask the Council to review the
amount of Benefit payable. If the Council reduces a tenant's
benefit to recover an overpayment in respect of a previous address,
the current landlord cannot appeal against the decision to recover
Change of Circumstances for Current Claims
If anything happens during this time which might affect how
much benefit you get, you must tell us
If you don't tell us about a change, and we pay you too much
benefit, you may have to pay it back.
You must tell us about the following changes:-
Changes to the money you get.
Please tell us if:
- you start or stop getting Income Support, Job Seekers
Allowance or Employment Support allowance.
- you start or stop getting Child Tax Credit or
Working tax Credit.
- the money you or your partner gets increases or
- the money non-dependants get increases or
- there are any other changes in the money people in your
home get. For example, someone starts getting Disability Living
Changes in your home.
Download change of
address form pdf 189kb
Please tell us if:
- you change your address.
- the number of people in your home changes - for example,
someone has a baby.
- a partner comes to live with you (including Civil
- a partner leaves.
Please tell us if:
- you, or your partner, go into hospital.
- you, or your partner, become a student, or stop being a
- the amount of savings or capital you have
You do not have to tell us about changes in age (for example,
if one your children becomes 11 years old), as we will have this
An overpayment is when we pay you or your landlord an amount
of Housing Benefit/Council Tax Support that you were not entitled
to receive. If we give you too much benefit, we will send you a
The letter we send you will tell you:-
- why we gave you too much benefit,
- how much the overpayment is,
- if you have to pay back the amount,
- how you can appeal if you think this is
We will usually ask you to pay back the amount we have
overpaid, this is called a recoverable overpayment. We can recover
all overpayment except if they are caused by official error which
you could not reasonably have known about when you were paid or
told about your benefit.
Why does overpayment happen?
They happen for various reasons, below are some examples:
- you may have forgotten to tell us that your income has
- somebody may have moved into or out of your home
- you may have moved home and not told us
- you may have started work or changed jobs
- if you have other adults living with you and their
You must tell us about any changes that occur as soon as
possible and not rely on anyone else to do it for you. Even if you
have told the Department of Work and Pensions about your change in
circumstances, you must still let us know as well.
Can the overpayment be reduced?
In some circumstances we may be able to reduce the amount we
overpaid you if you can tell us about your correct circumstances
throughout the period of the overpayment. If we give you
benefit for the period you were overpaid it is called underlying
entitlement. If you do have underlying entitlement which
means you were entitled to receive some of the benefit, we will use
this to reduce the overpayment.
Renewals and Interventions
There is no renewal process for claims, but periodically the
Council is required to review individuals claim details.
To do this we will send you an application form to gather your
current circumstances/ incomes, and compare those against the
information we current hold for your claim.
We may choose to visit you to collect the completed form, or
deal with the matter by post.
Discretionary Housing Payments
Discretionary Housing Payments are extra payments to help
with housing costs. Discretionary Housing Payments provide
people with further financial assistance when the Local Authority
considers that help with housing costs is needed. You can
only apply for a Discretionary Housing Payment if you are currently
entitled to Housing Benefit. You can obtain an application
form from the Customer Service Centre at the town hall or by
downloading a form.
Download application form for Discretionary
Housing Payment pdf 59.3KB