- Can I claim housing benefit?
- How do I make a claim?
- Can I find out the rent you will use to
work out my housing benefit if I am thinking about renting from a
- Can I get housing benefit before I move
into a property?
- How much benefit will you pay?
- What do you need to know when I claim
- What documents do I need to
- Where can I take my documents to get
- What date will my benefit be paid
- How can I speed up my benefit
- What if I don't agree with the amount
of benefit awarded to me?
- How can I appeal?
1. Can I claim housing benefit?
You may qualify for housing benefit if you receive income
support, jobseeker's allowance, pension credit or other state
benefits or you are on a low income and pay rent.
If you are over 60 and receive Guaranteed State Pension Credit
you may qualify for housing benefit or council tax benefit even if
you have savings above £16,000.
You can find out if you are entitled by using our benefits
calculator or ringing our contact centre on 0151 443 4042 and
ask for a trial calculation. Remember, this will only give you an
indication of your potential entitlement.
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2. How do I make a claim?
To apply for housing benefit, you must complete an application
form. The form can also be used to claim council tax benefit.
Application forms are available from any of our One Stop Shops and
most registered social landlords and advice agencies or you
- Download one
from this website; or
- Contact us on 0151 443 4042 and we will send you a form via
post or arrange a home visit if you are elderly or have mobility
It is important that you complete and return you application to
us as soon as possible. The guidance notes will tell you what
documents we need to see, but do not delay sending the form if you
don't have all the documents to hand. Just let us know when you
will be able to provide the rest of the information we have asked
for. You may lose benefit if there is a delay in returning your
Send your completed application and supporting documents to
Knowsley Metropolitan Borough Council, Municipal Buildings,
Cherryfield Drive, Kirkby, L33 1TX or hand it in to any of our One
Please do not post any documents or items of value.
If your claim is complete
We aim to process your claim within 10 working days of receipt.
You will then get a letter telling you how much housing and/or
council tax benefit you are entitled to. When you get the letter
please read it carefully and let us know right away if you think
any of the information is wrong. Sometimes we may need some more
information before we can process your claim, if we do need any
more information we will telephone or write to you to tell you what
If your claim is incomplete
You need to provide some more information before we can process
your claim. The receipt you have been given tells you what you need
to bring in. Remember - we can’t work out how much benefit you
should get without this information. If you haven’t got the
information we have asked for please tell us right away and we will
try to help (see below for how to contact us).
Please bring the information in as soon as you can. We aim to
process your claim within 10 working days of receiving all the
information. If you don’t bring in all the information within a
month you may not get any benefit and you will have to pay full
rent and/or council tax.
You must tell us right away if anything changes that might mean
your benefit is wrong. If you need to tell us about a change you
- Call into any of our One Stop Shops
- Telephone us on 0151 443 4042
- e-mail us at Benefits@knowsley.gov.uk
- Write to us at Cherryfield Drive, Kirkby, L32 1TX
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3. Can I find out the rent you will use to work out my
housing benefit if I am thinking about renting from a private
Since the introduction of the Local Housing Allowance the level
of housing benefit we can pay depends on the size of the household
occupying the property and the broad rental market area which the
property is based.
Before deciding to move into a property, it is important that
you find out what the maximum benefit we can pay for a particular
property. To do this you need to establish how many bedrooms you
require based on the size criteria below. You will need to count
one bedroom for the following people.
- Every adult couple
- Any other adult aged 16 or over
- Any 2 children of the same sex
- Any 2 children regardless of sex under age 10
- Any other child
The Rent Service no longer values individual properties. Instead
they set monthly local housing allowance rates for different size
properties within different areas based on the mid point of rent
charged by private landlords.
These areas are called Broad Rental Market Areas (BRMA). Each
local authority has at least one BRMA. There is no right to appeal
against these rates.
Knowsley has 3 separate BRMAs:
- Greater Liverpool - covers Huyton, Kirkby, Halewood and
- St Helens - covers Whiston and Prescot
- North Cheshire - covers Cronton
It is important to understand that the figure given by the rent
officer is not necessarily the amount of weekly entitlement we will
pay. This will depend on your income and personal
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4. Can I get
housing benefit before I move into a property?
Only in certain circumstances. If you have to pay rent from your
tenancy start date to the date you moved in, you may qualify for
benefit before moving in. The delay in moving in must be for one of
the following reasons:
- To adapt the house if you or a member of your family have a
- You are waiting for a social fund payment to meet a need
arising from the move or in connection with setting up the home; a
family member must be aged 5 or under, or your applicable amount
includes one of the following premiums: pensioner, enhanced
pensioner, higher pensioner, disability, severe disability or
disable child premium
- You became liable to make payments in respect of the property
while you were in hospital or a residential home.
However, even when the conditions are met for 2 or 3 above,
we cannot pay benefit if you had to pay rent on a previous propery
immediately before the start of the tenancy at your new address. To
qualify you must apply to the council within four weeks of moving
into your new home.
Slightly different criteria applies if you are a victim of
The rules about rent prior to occupation are complicated. Please
contact us on 0151 443 4042 if you want to find out more.
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5. How much benefit will you pay?
It depends on your circumstances, such as:
- The amount of rent and council tax you pay
- Your income
- Your savings
- Who lives in your home and what their circumstances are.
If you would like to know how much rent or council tax you
should pay while you are waiting for us to assess your claim then
you can use the benefit
calculator or contact us on 0151 443 4042 and ask for an
estimate of your housing or council tax benefit. This is called a
trial calculation. It does not guarantee exactly the amount of help
you will receive but it will give you an idea of how much you
should be paying until your assessment is received.
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6. What do you need to know when I claim
We need to confirm all of the information that you give us on
the application form. In most cases we will need to see proof of
your identity and National Insurance Number but we may also ask you
for proof of income, savings and rent.
The guidance notes on the application form will tell you what
you need to provide. We will only accept original documents. You
can bring your documents into any of our One Stop Shops. Please do
not send valuable documents through the post.
Sometimes, we can get proof of benefits and allowances from
other government offices such as the Department for Work and
Pensions and the Pension Service and we will try not to ask you to
provide the same information to more than one office.
If you cannot provide the information, please contact us. It is
important that you do not delay in returning your claim for
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7. What documents do I need to provide?
For a new claim, we need to see proof of the following for you
and your partner:
- Proof of identity. You will need to provide 2 items which may
include a passport, birth certificate, driving licence, or a recent
- National Insurance Number. You can find this on benefit books
or letters from the Department of Work and Pensions, wage slips,
P45 or P60 or a National Insurance card or letters from the tax
- Savings and investments. We need to see up to date proof of all
your bank and building society accounts, even if they are
overdrawn. We will normally need to see two consecutive months of
bank statements for each account. We also need to see proof of any
stocks, unit trusts, shares, national savings or any other savings
or investments that you have.
- Income and benefits. We need to see 5 consecutive wage slips if
you are paid weekly, or 2 if you are paid monthly. If you have just
started work do not wait until you have these before claiming
benefit. You can send us your first wage slip or ask your employer
for a letter confirming what your wage will be. We can estimate
your entitlement and revise the calculation when your payslips are
available. If you can't find your payslips, ask us for a
certificate of earnings to send to your employer. We also need to
see proof of any benefits or other income you receive. This could
include child benefit or tax credits. If you do not have the proof,
we may be able to confirm the details with the relevant office.
Please contact us for advice on 0151 443 4042.
- Proof of rent.
- Your tenancy agreement or a letter from your landlord.
- Evidence of all income for anyone else who lives with you, for
example, a relative or friend.
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8. Where can I
take my documents to get them verified?
Do not send valuable documents through the post. You can take
them to any of our One Stop Shops and the staff will verify that
they have seen the original document. They will take a copy and
give the original back to you.
If you are elderly or have mobility problems please contact us
on 0151 443 4042 and we will arrange to come out and verify the
documents in your own home.
9. What date will my benefit be paid from?
We normally pay benefits from the Monday after the date we
receive your benefit claim form. If you claim your benefit in the
week in which you move into a property, then we can normally pay
benefit from the start of your tenancy. In special circumstances we
can backdate housing and council tax benefit for up to 52 weeks.
You must ask us for this in writing and give us the reason why you
were unable to claim earlier.
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10. How can I speed up my benefit claim?
Make sure you complete all of the questions on the application
form. Bring the form and your documents into one of our One Stop
Shops and ask the customer services officer to check the form and
verify the documents that you have brought in. If we ask you for
any further information, bring it to us as soon as you can. The
sooner you bring this information the quicker we can process your
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11. What if I don't agree with the amount of benefit
awarded to me?
If you do not understand our decision you can follow the three
- Ask us to explain it to you. This should be requested within
one month of receiving our notification letter.
- Ask us to look at the decision again.
- In certain circumstances, you can appeal to an independent
tribunal who can change the decision if they agree that it is
If you request information after the one month time limit, we
may still explain our decision in more detail but may not look at
our decision again if you later decide that it is wrong.
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12. How can I appeal?
You can make an appeal to the Tribunal Service by downloading a
benefit appeals form. Complete the form and the reasons for your
appeal. It is important that you write down everything as the
tribunal does not have to look at anything you do not mention. Once
you have completed and signed the form, send it to us within one
calendar month of the date on the notification letter. The Tribunal
Service will decide on your appeal at a tribunal hearing.
If you need further help with appeals, you can phone or visit
your local One Stop
Shop or call 0151 443 4042.