Housing Benefit

Frequently Asked Questions for this Service

Question: Can you tell me why I or my tenant has rent arrears when in receipt of Housing Benefit?

Answer: There are a number of circumstances which may prevent a person from receiving support towards their rent, for example:

Their benefit may have been suspended following a change in circumstance
We may not be able to award them benefit to cover the full level of rent they are charged in accordance with legislation
Their benefit is usually paid in arrears whereas their rent liability may be payable in advance
They have a non-dependant deduction applied to their benefit and they have not paid the shortfall to their landlord
We are recovering an overpayment of housing benefit from their ongoing payments and they have not paid the shortfall to their landlord
A benefit application assessment is outstanding, which could be delayed pending further information/evidence being provided. - Related Link

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Question: Why have I been overpaid benefit and what is the amount owing?

Answer: An overpayment is an amount of benefit which has been paid to you but to which there is no entitlement under the relevant rules. Overpayment of benefit can occur both in Housing Benefit and Local Council Tax Support.

Overpayments can occur due to many different factors. A typical reason is when your income increases for a past period which then reduces the level of Benefit awarded.

It is important that change in circumstances are reported as soon as possible and no longer than one calendar month to avoid any unnecessary overpayment occurring.

A letter detailing the period of overpayment, the amount overpaid and the reason for the overpayment will have been provided to you to explain this. The letter also provides you with your dispute and appeal rights. - Related Link

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Question: When will my new claim or change in circumstance be processed?

Answer: On receipt of all the required information and evidence being provided to the office to support your claim, a benefit decision should be made within 14 days.

The quicker information is provided by the claimant, the sooner the benefit can be considered.

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Question: Why have I received a visit request asking me to contact the office to rearrange the visit?

Answer: The Benefits Service are required to review benefit claims periodically. This may involve a visit to a claimants address to run through and check that information held on their benefit claim remains correct.

Where a visit is unsuccessful and the visit cannot be re-arranged, this could lead to the benefit being suspended, which may affect a persons ability to pay their rent and or Council Tax.

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Question: What are the levels of Local Housing Allowance for the Island?

Answer: For more information about Local Housing Allowance, please visit the link below: - Related Link

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Question: Where can I get assistance with completing an on-line benefit application?

Answer: Initially we would ask you to seek assistance from a relative, friend, neighbour, landlord or support worker if you have one. Assistance may also be provided by some welfare agencies by prior appointment.

Where this is not possible, you may need to visit Newport or Ryde Help Centre where some guidance can be provided with the use of the self-service application form. - Related Link

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Question: Can you explain the benefit decision notice calculation sheet that I have received?

Answer: The notice letters that you have received usually contain a decision notice and a statement of reason. This must be checked to ensure that the information used in the assessment is correct and any discrepancies notified to the office.

The contents of the letter will confirm the amount of benefit awarded, the start date, the financial details, any capital, non-dependant deductions, appropriate rent level and or council tax liability used to make an assessment and the 'applicable amount' (to reflect the basic living needs of the claimant and family as set by the government).

The regulations used to determine a benefit award can be quite complex and varied depending on an individuals circumstances. If you are unsure or require clarification on how an award has been made, in the first instance you may need to speak to the Benefit team who will try to assist you.

Information about the calculation of Housing Benefits and Local Council Tax Support is available from the web link below. - Related Link

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Question: I am moving address soon, what do I do?

Answer: You will need to inform the Benefits Service as soon as possible. You can contact the service to inform them of your new address by emailing housing.benefit@iow.gov.uk however you will also need to complete the change of address form available on the web link below. You will also be required to supply proof of your tenancy agreement for your new address if you wish to claim further Housing Benefit.

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Question: I have Local Council Tax Support pending, do I have to pay my rent and/or Council Tax bill?

Answer: Yes, you will need to continue to pay your rent and/or Council Tax bill as there is no guarantee that benefit will be awarded. If you have concerns over your ability to pay, it is important that you discuss with your landlord and council tax department as soon as possible. - Related Link

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Question: Why have I been charged a penalty of £50?

Answer: Penalties of up to £50 may be imposed by the authority where changes are notified outside of the 30 day period to notify the authority of a change in circumstances. To report a change in circumstance you can either contact the council’s benefit department by telephone, email housing.benefit@iow.gov.uk or in writing to Revenues and Benefits Services, PO Box 238, Newport, PO30 9FL.



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Question: What benefit payments am I due to receive including when I will receive it, how much and by what method?

Answer: Your benefit decision notice will confirm the net benefit entitlement payable (after any overpayment recovery adjustments have been deducted), the method of payment and frequency of payments.

Whilst the notice indicates the first scheduled payment date, any arrears of benefits due can be paid through an interim payment before the scheduled date to bring the benefit payment up to date. - Related Link

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Question: What is a Discretionary Housing Payment?

Answer: The Discretionary Housing Payment (DHP) scheme, covers shortfalls between rental liability and payment of housing benefit or housing costs if in receipt of Universal Credit. A DHP may also be considered towards removal fees, deposits or rent in advance. - Related Link

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Question: Can my Housing Benefit be backdated?

Answer: Backdating will only be considered where there is continuous good cause for not having made an earlier claim and where you are eligible to claim for Housing Benefit.

The maximum time the council can go back is 1 month for working age claimants, and 3 months for pensionable age claimants. This will take effect from the date your claim for backdating was actually made or your request in writing was received.

Please click on the related link below for further information - Related Link

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Question: How can I have Housing Benefit paid into my Bank Account?

Answer: You will need to inform the Benefits Service by email to housing.benefit@iow.gov.uk or alternatively write to us at: Revenues and Benefits Services, PO BOX 238, Newport, PO30 9FP . You should include the benefit claim reference number, the name(s) the bank account is in, account number and sort code number.

However if you are more than 8 weeks in arrears with your rent, Housing Benefit can only be paid directly to your landlord.

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Question: How do I request a Discretionary Housing Payment?

Answer: You can complete and submit an online application form by clicking on the related link below.

- Related Link

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Question: How can I report someone for Benefit Fraud?

Answer: The Department of Works and Pension (DWP) are responsible for investigation of Housing Benefit Fraud together with Social Security Benefits.
You can contact the DWP on their National Benefit Fraud Hotline 0800 854 440 or by post to NBFH, PO Box 224, PR1 1GP

Further information on how to report benefit fraud can be found on the Gov.uk website

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Question: Can I have my Housing Benefit paid to my Landlord?

Answer: The Council can decide to make payment direct to a landlord in exceptional circumstances for a determined period of time. To request for payments of Housing Benefit to be paid direct to your landlord, you will need to compete the online application form by clicking on the related link below.

- Related Link

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Question: If someone moves in with me and they are over 18 years of age, will this affect my claim?

Answer: In most cases yes this will have an affect on your claim. Depending on who this is and the relationship to the claimant, it could increase the number of bedrooms required for your needs, your personal allowances or a non-dependant deduction may be applied.

The Benefits office will require the full name of the person moving in, their date of birth, income, and their relationship to you. These details will need to be advised immediately in writing to ensure the correct level of benefit is awarded and to avoid any overpayment of benefit that will need to be repaid. Please email the Benefit Service at housing.benefit@iow.gov.uk or write to Revenues and Benefits Services, PO BOX 238, Newport, PO30 9FP .

Please see below link for further information - Related Link

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Question: Can I view my benefit entitlement online?

Answer: You can access your basic Housing Benefit details via the Isle of Wight Citizens Access Portal.

Please note - you will not be able to view your Housing Benefit details using the Citizens Access Portal without correctly inputting the following information:
•Full Name - your name as it appears exactly on your Housing Benefit notification letter.
•Your date of birth, National Insurance and claim number.
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Question: Will Universal Credit affect me if I am of Pension Credit age?

Answer: If you are of pension credit age and do not have a partner OR you and your partner are both of pension credit age, you are not required to claim Universal Credit.

If you are working age and your partner is of pension credit age, you will need to check with the Department of Works and Pensions to see if you are eligible to claim Universal Credit.

If you are unsure when you will reach pension credit age you can check this online via the related link.
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Question: How is Universal Credit paid?

Answer: Universal Credit is paid in one single payment, by bank transfer, direct to your bank account. Most High street banks now offer a basic bank account that is accessible to all.

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Question: I am not confident using a computer, where can I get help from to apply for Universal Credit?

Answer: Newport Help Centre, County Hall and Ryde Library can offer help completing an online application for Universal Credit where there will be PC’s available for you to use.

Please see the related link for help centre opening times.
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Question: Will my landlord still receive my housing element of Universal Credit directly?

Answer: No. Part of your Universal Credit that is paid towards your rent (housing element), will ordinarily be paid directly to you as part of your single monthly Universal Credit payment and you will be responsible for paying your rent to your Landlord.

In some circumstances the Universal Credit payment can be split, and the Housing Element can be paid directly to you Landlord. This is called an “Alternative Payment Arrangement”. Further information is available on Gov.uk
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Question: What happens if I move out of a Universal Credit Full Service area?

Answer: If you move out of a Universal Credit Full Service area you will still continue to receive Universal Credit, as long as you are still entitled to the award. Once Universal Credit has been awarded, you will continue on this benefit and will not move over to a “legacy” benefit.

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Question: What can I do if the Housing element of my Universal Credit does not meet my full rent?

Answer: If there is a shortfall in the amount of Universal Credit you receive towards your rent, and your actual rent, you may be eligible for a Discretionary Housing Payment (DHP).

A DHP can be made to help top up your Housing element should you be suffering financial hardship although no guarantee can be made that this will be granted. You will need to apply online for Discretionary Housing Payment with the Isle of Wight Council using the link below.

Discretionary Housing Payments can also be used to help towards your rent in advance, rent deposit or moving costs should you need to move to more suitable accommodation, that you can afford within your own budget.
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Question: What is Universal Credit?

Answer: Universal Credit is a new benefit for working age customers that brings together six of the existing “legacy benefits” to simplify the benefits system and help ensure people are better off in work. Universal Credit is paid as a single monthly payment direct to the customer.

The six “legacy” benefits are Income Support, Jobseekers Allowance, Employment and Support Allowance, Working and Child Tax Credit and Housing Benefit. This does not include Local Council Tax Support – if you wish to make a claim for this, please apply online by clicking on the link below:

Once your local Jobcentre is under Full Service, you will have to apply for Universal Credit unless you fall into an exception (see ‘Who is excluded from claiming Universal Credit) and will be awarded by the Department of Works and Pensions. If you are working age (under pension credit age), depending on your circumstances, you will not be able to claim one of the six “legacy benefits” listed above and instead will need to apply for Universal Credit.
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Question: Does my tenant need to claim Universal Credit or Housing Benefit ?

Answer:

They will need to claim Universal Credit unless they come under one of the excluded conditions.
Further information for landlords can be found by clicking on the link below:

- Related Link

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Question: How long is a Discretionary Housing Payment awarded for?

Answer: The Discretionary Housing Payment Scheme is designed to help people who, because of special circumstances, need financial assistance with their rent. DHP awards should generally be viewed as short-term emergency funds rather than on going top-up payments in addition to housing benefit entitlement as set out within the Housing Benefit legislation.

The housing benefit officer will usually award a DHP for 13 weeks. Repeat applications will only be considered in exceptional circumstances. Each case is considered on its own merits and both the financial and personal circumstances of the individual are taken into account, along with any steps that the applicant is taking to address the situation with any shortfall.





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Question: What do I do if I do not agree with the way my Housing Benefit claim has been assessed/the amount of Benefit you are giving me?

Answer: If you have received a decision and you do not understand it, you can ask for it to be explained in a ‘statement of reasons’, which will provide more detail about how we calculated your entitlement. You must do this in writing within one month of the date of the decision, either by emailing housing.benefit@iow.gov.uk or alternatively write to us at PO BOX 238, Newport, PO30 9FP

If you think the decision is wrong, or if you think that we have not considered all of the information you have given us, or if you think that we have applied the regulations governing the Housing Benefit scheme incorrectly, you can ask us to look at it again. You must do this in writing within one month of the date of the decision by writing to us at PO BOX 238, Newport, PO30 9FP

Further advice can be obtained from the link below.
- Related Link

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Question: I have had a change in my circumstances, what do I do?

Answer: If you are currently receiving Housing Benefit and/or Local Council Tax Support and the circumstances for yourself or anyone else living with you change, you must tell the councils Benefit Office immediately as it may affect the amount of benefit you are entitled to. You can report a change in your circumstance through our Customer Porter, or by writing to the Revenues and Benefits Services, PO BOX 238, Newport, PO30 9FP.

You must tell them within one month of the change and you must provide proof of the change.

You may be required to complete a change in circumstance application form which can be found on our website following the link below.
- Related Link

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Question: How do I claim Housing Benefit and or Local Council Tax Support?

Answer: If you are exempt from Universal Credit you can apply for Housing Benefit to help with the payment of your Rent. You will need to make a claim for Local Council Tax Support regardless of whether you receive Universal Credit.

You can make a claim for Housing Benefit or Local Council Tax Support through our Customer Portal from the link below.

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Question: What do I do if I have completed my application for Local Council Tax Support but do not have all the evidence I have been asked to supply?

Answer: If you cannot send the evidence we need straightaway, please ensure that you submit the online application form immediately and let us know you will be sending some evidence later. If you do not submit the form straightaway, you might lose money. We can start to process your claim, but we will not be able to pay you any benefit until we have all the evidence.

Ideally we would encourage claimants to provide any supporting evidence within 24 - 48 hours of submitting their claim to avoid any delays in assessing their benefit award and making payment. Where this is not possible you will need to contact the Benefit Service to advise them and to seek further advice.

Please see link below for a list of documents you may be required to supply to support your claim. - Related Link

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Question: How can I find out if I will be entitled to Housing Benefit and Local Council Tax Support?

Answer: You will need to check first whether you are eligible to claim for Housing Benefit or if you should be making a claim for Universal Credit. From 24 October 2018 some residents cannot apply for Housing Benefit because they can get Universal Credit which includes money for their rent. To make sure you don't miss out on Universal Credit check your eligibility by visiting the GOV.UK website at www.gov.uk/apply-universal-credit.
If you are eligible to claim for Housing Benefit, you can access the web calculator on-line to obtain a rough indication of any benefit you may be entitled to prior to making a full application for benefit, see web link below. Please follow the instructions as you will need the relevant local housing allowance rate and details of any council tax liability before proceeding.

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Question: How do I get help with my Council Tax if I receive Universal Credit?

Answer: Help towards your Council Tax, called Local Council Tax Support is still awarded by the Isle of Wight Council.

You will need to make an online application for Local Council Tax Support using the related link, alongside your application for Universal Credit.
Please make your claim at the earliest possible point. - Related Link

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Question: If payments are made monthly, how will tenants pay their rent while they are waiting for their first payment of Universal Credit?

Answer: Many new claimants of Universal Credit will be coming from work and will be able to support themselves in the first month using their final payment of earnings.

However, where needed, claimants will be able to ask the Department of Works and Pensions for an advance in the first month of their claim to support them until their first payment is made. This will be a proportion of the full payment and will be recovered over a period of time. If a tenant is in receipt of Housing Benefit directly before claiming Universal Credit, they will automatically receive a transitional payment of Housing Benefit for 14 days whilst waiting for their first Universal Credit payment.

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Question: When will I be affected by Universal Credit?

Answer: Universal Credit is now in full service on the Isle of Wight. Therefore, if you are making a new claim or if you have a change in your circumstances that mean you would need to make a new claim to one of the six “legacy” benefits (Income Support, Jobseekers Allowance, Employment and Support Allowance, Working and Child Tax Credit and Housing Benefit) you will instead need to claim Universal Credit (unless you are excluded from claiming Universal Credit). For more information please see the Governments website link below.
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Question: How do I apply for Universal Credit?

Answer: You need to claim Universal Credit through the Department for Works & Pension online application. If you have been advised that you are not eligible to claim for Universal Credit at this time, you will need to make a new claim for Housing Benefit at www.iow.gov.uk/housingbenefitonline/ - Related Link

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Question: What evidence do I need to provide with my application for Housing Benefit?

Answer: If you complete your application on-line you will need to review the checklist of evidence that is required. In general we may need to see evidence of your identity, national insurance number, evidence of your income, capital, savings and investments, and proof of your rent for both you and any partner who is included on your claim.
We would encourage claimants to provide any supporting evidence within 24 - 48 hours of submitting their claim to avoid any delays in assessing their benefit award and making payment. The quicker the information is provided the sooner the benefit can be considered.
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Question: Am I entitled to Housing Benefit and or Local Council Tax Support?

Answer: Universal Credit is a new type of financial support provided by the Department for Work and Pensions, for people of working age who are looking for work or on a low income. Most people will no longer need to claim Housing Benefit because they can claim Universal Credit. Before you make your claim for Universal Credit, please check if any of the exceptions mean that you should still claim Housing Benefit from the link below. If you are exempt from Universal Credit you can apply for Housing Benefit to help with the payment of your Rent. You will need to make a claim for Local Council Tax Support regardless of whether you receive Universal Credit. The amount of benefit/support you may be entitled to is calculated by looking at how much money you have coming in, your personal circumstances, how much rent and/or Council Tax you have to pay, and the amount of savings you have. For Housing Benefit if you have more than £16,000 in savings we cannot usually pay you any benefit. For Local Council Tax Support if you have more than £6,000 in savings we cannot usually pay you any benefit.

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Question: Who is excluded from claiming Universal Credit?

Answer: You cannot make a new claim to Housing Benefit unless you meet one of the following conditions –

• If you are a resident in supported exempt accommodation or you have been placed in temporary accommodation by the Isle of Wight Council's Homelessness team you must inform Universal
Credit of this and make a claim for Housing Benefit with Isle of Wight Council.
• If you have reached State Pension Credit age.
• You are part of a couple where one of you has reached State Pension Credit age .
• You are receiving Contribution-based Jobseeker's Allowance with no Universal Credit top up.
• You are receiving Contribution-related Employment and Support Allowance with no Universal Credit top up.
• If you are receiving the severe disability premium as part of your Jobseekers Allowance income-based, Employment and Support income-related or Income Support - Related Link

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