- Can students claim Housing Benefit/Local Housing Allowance?
- Which students may be able to claim Housing Benefit, Local Housing Allowance and/or Council Tax Reduction?
- Can students who rent property from an University/College claim Housing Benefit/Local Housing Allowance?
- I have to maintain two homes – one at University/College and one at home. Can I claim Housing Benefit/Local Housing Allowance?
- I live in a property with other students. Will we have to pay Council Tax?
- I live in a hall of residence. Will I have to pay Council Tax?
- I share my accommodation with other people who are not all students. Will I have to pay Council Tax?
- How do I claim if I am eligible?
- What information do I need to provide?
- How do you calculate the income of a student?
- Does the amount of capital I have affect my claim?
- What happens if I have other people living with me?
- What happens when you receive my claim?
- How long will it take to assess my claim?
- Will Housing Benefit/Local Housing Allowance meet the full rent that I have to pay my private landlord?
- What is The Rent Service?
- What if I am under 35 years of age?
- Can I find out the maximum Housing Benefit/Local Housing Allowance I am entitled to before I move into new accommodation?
- How much Housing Benefit, Local Housing Allowance and/or Council Tax Reduction will I get?
- Is there a minimum amount that is payable?
- How will my benefit/reduction be paid?
- When will my claim start?
- Can my claim be backdated?
- How long will my benefit/reduction be paid for?
- What happens if I disagree with your decision?
- What happens if my circumstances change?
- Can I get any extra help to pay my rent?
Most full-time students cannot claim Housing Benefit/Local Housing Allowance because the Government expects them to use other money like their grant, student loan or access funds to pay their rent.
For Housing Benefit, Local Housing Allowance and/or Council Tax Reduction purposes a student is defined as any person who is attending or undertaking a course of study at an educational establishment and studying at that establishment for more than 16 hours a week. If you are not sure whether you are a full-time or part-time student, contact your College or University who will be able to give you advice.
Which students may be able to claim Housing Benefit, Local Housing Allowance and/or Council Tax Reduction?
- students who are currently receiving Income Support, Jobseekers Allowance (income-based) or Employment and Support Allowance (income-related)
- part-time students
- students under 21 following a course of further education (but not higher education)
- students under 20 for whom Child Benefit is payable
- students who have reached the qualifying age for State Pension Credit, or whose partner has reached the qualifying age for State Pension Credit
- students (couples and lone parents) who are responsible for a child or young person
- students who are responsible for a foster child
- students who qualify for a disability premium because they:-
- are registered blind
- receive Disability Living Allowance
- Personal Independence Payment
- Armed Forces Independence Payment
- receive Incapacity Benefit at the long-term rate
- receive Incapacity Benefit at the short-term higher rate (which begins after 28 weeks of being incapable of work)
- students who have been, or are treated as having, limited capability for work (as decided by the Department for Work and Pensions) for 28 weeks or more
- students who have a UK grant which includes an allowance for deafness
- students unable to get a grant or student loan following an absence from their studies (with the consent of their educational establishment) due to illness or providing care to another person.
In the case of a couple, eligibility will depend on whether or not both parties are students. If both are students they will not be eligible for benefit unless either or both of them fall into one or more of the above categories.
You will not be entitled to Housing Benefit, Local Housing Allowance and/or Council Tax Reduction if:
- You or your partner (if applicable) are not responsible for paying the rent and/or Council Tax.
- You and your partner (if applicable) have more than £16,000 in savings and/or investments (unless you get the guaranteed credit element of Pension Credit).
- You pay rent to a close relative who lives in the same property (for Housing Benefit and Local Housing Allowance cases only).
- You rent a property, which you (or your partner) previously owned (for Housing Benefit and Local Housing Allowance cases only).
- You are the parent or guardian of your landlord's child (for Housing Benefit and Local Housing Allowance cases only).
- You are an asylum seeker, unless you've been given refugee status or indefinite or exceptional leave (also called discretionary or humanitarian leave) to remain in the United Kingdom.
- You have been admitted to the United Kingdom on the condition that you have no recourse to public funds. This means that you must not claim benefits in the United Kingdom.
- You are a sponsored immigrant and have lived here for less than five years.
- You are in the United Kingdom illegally or your permission to stay has run out.
You may not be entitled to Housing Benefit/ Local Housing Allowance if:
- You used to live with your landlord as a family member, relative or friend, and now pay that person rent.
- You live in a property run by a religious order and you are a member of that religious order.
- You rent from a trust and you are also a trustee or beneficiary.
- You used to own the property which you now rent.
- You are temporarily living away from your usual home - please see 'Temporary Absence' for further information.
Please note the above is intended as guidance only. The regulations in respect of eligibility and 'Persons from Abroad' are extremely complex and you can contact us on 01970 633252 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to check if you would be eligible to claim benefit. Alternatively you can download and complete a Application form so that the Local Authority can officially determine any entitlement.
Can students who rent property from an University/College claim Housing Benefit/Local Housing Allowance?
Yes. If you are a full or part-time student and are entitled to claim Housing Benefit/Local Housing Allowance, you can claim for the accommodation you rent from your University or College.
I have to maintain two homes – one at University/College and one at home. Can I claim Housing Benefit/Local Housing Allowance?
If you are in one of the groups of students that may be able to claim Housing Benefit/Local Housing Allowance, then usually Housing Benefit/Local Housing Allowance is only payable in respect of the home you are living in and paying rent for. However, there are certain exceptions to this rule depending on your circumstances. Please contact us for advice.
Normally, you will not have to pay Council Tax. If you live in a property that only students live in, you can claim an exemption from Council Tax (where you do not have to pay Council Tax). To do this, everyone in the property must provide their student certificates* to the Council Tax office. If the Council Tax office does not get certificates for everyone in the property, they will issue a Council Tax bill.
*If you are at Aberystwyth or Lampeter University all you would normally need to supply is your full name, tenancy agreement, course and registration number and these details can be cross checked to the list provided by the University of all registered full time students.
No. You will not normally have to pay Council Tax as the property is exempt and you will not be required to claim an exemption.
I share my accommodation with other people who are not all students. Will I have to pay Council Tax?
As a student you can no longer be considered jointly liable for payment of Council Tax. You would only be liable if you were the owner or lead tenant.
The non-students in the household can claim based on their income. But you can only claim Council Tax Reduction if you fall into one of the groups of students who can claim. See the section 'Which students may be able to claim Housing Benefit/Local Housing Allowance and/or Council Tax Reduction?'
You can complete and submit an application form on-line, download a Benefits Claim Form from the Downloadable Forms page. Alternatively you can contact the Local Authority via email at email@example.com, by phone on 01970 633252 or by writing to the Local Authority at the address shown on the contact page and a form will be sent to you. You can also visit and collect a form at one of our Local District Offices.
The completed form can be returned via email to firstname.lastname@example.org or posted to the Local Authority at the address shown on the contact page or returned to your Local District Office.
Please note that in the case of a couple, the non-student should make the claim.
It is important that the correct entitlement is paid to our customers and that fraud and error are detected and prevented as early as possible. This relies on us:
- Collecting appropriate information and evidence in support of claims and
- Carrying out checks when the claim is in payment.
It also relies on you advising us immediately if your circumstances change. If you do not tell us about these changes you could miss out on money you are entitled to or it may mean that we are overpaying you and you will have to pay it back later.
In addition to your completed application form you will have to provide for both you and your partner (if applicable):
- Evidence of identity
- Evidence of address
- Evidence of national insurance number
- Evidence of capital, savings and investments
- Evidence of earnings
- Evidence of other income
- Evidence of benefits, allowances or pensions
- Evidence of private rent and tenancy
- Evidence of other money paid out
Please see Supporting Evidence Checklist for a full list of documents that can be provided in support of your benefit claim.
We can only accept original documents and not photocopies.
If you do not have all the evidence and information we need to support your claim do not delay sending in your form. Any supporting evidence should be supplied as soon as possible in order to consider your claim; however, this information must be supplied within one month of submitting your claim form.
The full amount of a student loan available is taken into account, even if the full amount is not received. However, we ignore the first £10 a week of this money.
The weekly income from a bursary will be used for a student on a nursing or midwifery diploma course.
In the case of a non-diploma nursing student, we count any bursary and the full amount of loan income in the same way that we do for all students.
Capital includes cash, current accounts, other bank/building society/post office accounts, unit trusts, ISA's, national savings certificates, stocks, shares, premium bonds and property (other than the home you live in) or land you own.
If you and your partner (if applicable) have not yet reached the qualifying age for State Pension Credit, it will depend on the amount of capital you have as to whether it will affect your benefit entitlement.
- If you and your partner (if applicable) have joint capital of more than £16,000 you will not normally be able to get Housing Benefit, Local Housing Allowance and/or Council Tax Reduction
- You and your partner (if applicable) can have joint capital up to £6,000 before it affects your entitlement
- If you and your partner(if applicable) have not yet reached the qualifying age for State Pension Credit, income of £1 for every £250 (or part of £250) between £6,000 and £16,000 is taken into account when we work out your entitlement to benefit. This is called 'tariff income'. Please click tariff income to calculate the income that will be used in the assessment of your claim.
If either you or your partner (if applicable) have reached the qualifying age for State Pension Credit, it will depend on the amount of capital you have as to whether it will affect your entitlement.
- If you and your partner (if applicable) have joint capital of more than £16,000 you will not normally be able to get Housing Benefit, Local Housing Allowance and/or Council Tax Reduction (unless you receive the guaranteed credit element of Pension Credit)
- You and your partner (if applicable) can have joint capital up to £10,000 before it affects your benefit entitlement
- If you or your partner have reached the qualifying age for State Pension Credit, income of £1 for every £500 (or part of £500) between £10,000 and £16,000 is taken into account when we work out entitlement to benefit. This is called 'tariff income'. Please click tariff income to calculate the income that will be used in the assessment of your claim.
Your entitlement may be reduced if you have somebody else aged 18 or over (other than your partner) living with you as part of your household, for example, a grown up son, daughter, friend or relative.
These people are called 'non-dependants' and a set amount depending on their income and circumstances may reduce your weekly entitlement for each non-dependant who lives in your home.
For the current level of deductions and when a deduction will apply please see Non-dependants.
We will check the application form and the documentary evidence that you have provided.
If we require additional information we will contact you. This information must be provided to us within one calendar month or we may not be able to pay you.
We aim to make a decision regarding your claim within 14 days of receiving all necessary information.
Will Housing Benefit/Local Housing Allowance meet the full rent that I have to pay my private landlord?
Housing Benefit/Local Housing Allowance may not cover your full rental liability and you will therefore be responsible for any shortfall between the benefit awarded and the actual rent you are charged by your landlord.
We will first check to see whether your claim is to be considered under the Housing Benefit or Local Housing Allowance regulations.
Please follow the Local Housing Allowance link to check if you will be considered under this scheme and to check the current weekly Local Housing Allowance rates.
If you are renting from a private Landlord (this does not include Housing Association tenancies) and you are not eligible under the Local Housing Allowance scheme, we have to ask the Rent Service if the rent you are paying is reasonable.
The Rent Service is independent from the Local Authority and they will provide us with a rental valuation for your accommodation, which will be used in the assessment of your Housing Benefit claim. The Rent Service also sets the Local Housing Allowance rates.
Housing Benefit Determinations
In making a determination the Rent Officer will consider:
- The level of rent
- The rent for similar properties within the vicinity
- The number of rooms
- The age and number of people living within the property being assessed
The determination will usually apply to your claim for 12 months unless there is a significant change to the property or the number of people included within the household.
Local Housing Allowance
The Local Housing Allowance rate will be decided by the following:
- Where you live
- The age and number of people living in your household
The maximum LHA rate that will apply to your claim will be the rate from the April of the financial year you claim i.e. April 2014 LHA rates will apply for claims made or treated as made during the period 01.04.2014 to 31.03.2015
Please see Local Housing Allowance if the rent charged by your landlord is lower/higher than the Local Housing Allowance rate.
Government rules limit the amount of Housing Benefit/Local Housing Allowance that single people aged under 35 and who have no children living with them can claim. You will only be able to claim a Shared Accommodation Rate (SAR) to help with your rent.
You will be exempt from the Shared Accommodation Rate (SAR) if:-
- You are a person under 22 who was formerly in Social Services care,
- You have a non-resident carer who regularly stays with you overnight to provide care,
- You are entitled to the Severe Disability Premium in your benefit calculation because you receive the middle or higher rate of the care component of Disability Living Allowance, Daily Living Component of Personal Independence Payment or Armed Forces Independence Payment
- You are aged between 25 & 35 and have spent at least 3 months in a specialist homeless hostel,
- You are an ex-offender who poses a risk to the public
Can I find out the maximum Housing Benefit/Local Housing Allowance I am entitled to before I move into new accommodation?
Yes. Local Housing Allowance is based on the number of rooms you and your family (if applicable) need and the area in which you live. To find out which area the property you wish to rent is located, please check directly with the Rent Service by entering the postcode on their website at LHA Direct.
LHA rates are reviewed annually from the beginning of April each year unless there is a change in your circumstances which will affect the number of bedrooms used to calculate LHA, for example, when another person moves into or out of your property.
Once you have established the number of bedrooms you and your family (if applicable) need you can - View current rates for Ceredigion.
For tenancies not affected by Local Housing Allowance, you can find out how much of the rent we will use to work out your Housing Benefit before you decide to occupy your property. You can do this by filling in a pre-tenancy determination form.
You can contact us on 01970 633252, email us at email@example.com or call in at any of our Local District Offices to request a pre-tenancy determination form.
Please note that the weekly Local Housing Allowance rates/pre-tenancy determination figures provide the maximum level of benefit that could be paid. You will be required to complete an application form and provide all supporting evidence in order that the Local Authority can calculate your weekly entitlement.
The level of Housing Benefit, Local Housing Allowance and/or Council Tax Reduction is assessed by comparing your and your partner's (if applicable) income with your Applicable Amount. The Applicable Amount is a standard amount set by the Government (UK and Welsh) every year and is the amount which the law says you need for day to day living expenses.
If you or your partner (if applicable) are receiving Income Support, Jobseeker's Allowance (Income Based), or Employment and Support Allowance (Income Related), or you are receiving the guaranteed element of Pension Credit the amount of weekly benefit you will normally receive is:
- Up to the maximum level of the Local Housing Allowance or Rent Service Assessment rate for your claim
- Your weekly eligible rental liability if you are a Housing Association tenant (NB if your rent includes service charges i.e. water rates, heating etc these will be deducted from your weekly rent as Housing Benefit cannot meet these charges). Also from 01.04.2013 working age customers renting from a Registered Housing Association could see their maximum Housing Benefit reduced if they are considered to be under occupying the property – please see "Housing Benefit Size Criteria" for more information.
- Your weekly Council Tax liability
This is the maximum amount we can pay. You may however, get less than the maximum amount if you have any non-dependants sharing your home.
If you or your partner (if applicable) are not receiving Income Support, Jobseeker's Allowance (Income Based), or Employment and Support Allowance (Income Related), we compare your weekly income and any tariff income from capital/savings with your Applicable Amount.
If you are not receiving the guaranteed credit element of Pension Credit we compare your weekly income and any tariff income from capital/savings with your Applicable Amount.
We use amounts set each year by the Government (UK and Welsh) called personal allowances and premiums to work out how much you and your household need to live on. The total of your personal allowances and premiums is called your Applicable Amount.
A personal allowance will depend on:
- Your age;
- Whether you are single or have a partner;
- How many dependent children you have and their ages.
Premiums are added to your personal allowances to recognise the special needs of:
- Disabled people;
If your weekly income is less than, or the same as, your Applicable Amount, we pay the maximum benefit (please see above), less amounts for any non-dependants that are living with you.
For Housing Benefit or Local Housing Allowance - if your weekly income is higher than your Applicable Amount we take 65p off your maximum benefit (please see above) for each £1 of your income that is over your Applicable Amount.
For Council Tax Reduction - if your weekly income is higher than your Applicable Amount we take 20p off your maximum reduction (please see above) for each £1 of your income that is over your Applicable Amount.
The minimum Housing Benefit or Local Housing Allowance payable is 50p per week.
There is no minimum amount of Council Tax Reduction payable weekly.
If you are a private tenant who qualifies for Housing Benefit since before 7 April 2008 or a Housing Association tenant who qualifies for Housing Benefit, we pay you a rent allowance. The rent allowance is usually paid to you every 2 weeks in arrears; however, we can sometimes pay it to your Housing Association or landlord. Direct payment of your rent allowance to the Housing Association or landlord will be made every 4 weeks, in arrears.
If you are a private tenant who qualifies for Local Housing Allowance since the 7 April 2008 we must pay this to you unless there are exceptional circumstances. We can only make payments to your landlord in specific circumstances and we have developed a set of criteria that help us make a decision on these cases; we call this our Safeguard Policy.
We will pay your Council Tax Reduction directly into your Council Tax account and we will send you a new Council Tax bill to advise you how much you have to pay.
If you qualify for Housing Benefit or Local Housing Allowance, we will normally pay your benefit from the Monday after you asked us for an application form (as long as you return the application form within one calendar month of contacting us).
If you qualify for Council Tax Reduction we will normally pay your reduction from the date you asked for an application form (as long as you return the application form within one month of contacting us).
When you make a claim for Housing Benefit/Local Housing Allowance and/or Council Tax Reduction over the phone through Jobcentre Plus, we will treat the date of your claim as the same date you contacted Jobcentre Plus.
If you and your partner (if applicable) have not yet reached the qualifying age for State Pension Credit the maximum we can consider backdating your claim is:
- 1 month for Housing Benefit or Local Housing Allowance
- 3 months for Council Tax Reduction
from the date you make your backdating request, providing you can show that:
- You had 'good cause' for not making your claim earlier
- You could not claim throughout the period you want your claim backdated
A request for backdating must be made in writing.
If you or your partner (if applicable) have reached the qualifying age for State Pension Credit we will automatically backdate your claim for up to 3 months providing you are able to show that you qualified for Housing Benefit, Local Housing Allowance and/or Council Tax Reduction during that period.
Please see Backdating for more information.
Your benefit/reduction is awarded for as long as entitlement remains. From time to time we will need to confirm details of your claim and we will contact you where this is necessary or we may arrange to visit.
When we have decided on your claim we will send you an official notification letter. The letter will advise you of all the details we have used to work out your entitlement and it is important that you check that the information is correct.
FOR HOUSING BENEFIT OR LOCAL HOUSING ALLOWANCE:
If you want to know more about the decision or if you think it is wrong, you should get in touch with us within one month from the date of the notification letter or we may not be able to consider any dispute.
You can either ask for an explanation or:
- ask, in writing, for a written 'Statement of Reason'
- ask us to look again at the decision – 'Dispute the Decision'. This must be done in writing. If the decision can be changed we will send you a new decision. If we cannot change the decision we will tell you why. If you still disagree you have one month to appeal from the date of the new decision.
- 'Appeal' against the decision – this can only be done in writing. If you appeal against the decision your appeal will be referred to an Independent Tribunal administered by The Tribunal Service.
FOR COUNCIL TAX REDUCTION
If you require more details on any matter set out in the notice or the reasons for the decision you can within one month of the date of the letter request in writing a 'Written Statement of Reasons'.
If you are aggrieved by the decision you can within one month of the date of this letter serve a 'written notice' on the Council clearly stating the matter(s) by which, and the grounds on which, you are aggrieved. We will consider the matter(s) to which your notice relates and will notify you in writing of our decision with reasons. If following this letter you are still aggrieved you then have 2 months to appeal directly to the Valuation Tribunal for Wales (VTW).
Please note that you may also appeal directly to the VTW if we have failed to notify you of our decision within 2 months of you serving a 'written notice' on the Council.
Please see Appeals for more information.
The law says that you must inform us if there are any changes to the information we have used to decide the amount of Housing Benefit, Local Housing Allowance and/or Council Tax Reduction you are entitled to.
It is very important to tell us straightaway. You should get in touch with us even if you are still waiting to hear from us about your claim, and even if you have told someone else, for example, The Department for Work and Pensions or your landlord.
If you do not tell us, it may mean that the amount of benefit/reduction you get is incorrect. We may not be paying you enough and you could miss out on money you are entitled to or it may mean that we are over paying you and you will have to pay it back later.
For detailed information on how to report a change in circumstance and what changes you have to report - please see Change of Circumstances.
If you are in receipt of some Housing Benefit or Local Housing Allowance but are still finding it difficult to pay the remainder of your rent, you may be entitled to receive an additional payment to help you with the shortfall. This is known as a Discretionary Housing Payment.
Each application for Discretionary Housing Payment is considered on the individual merits of the case. Payments will be awarded if you can show that you are experiencing financial hardship, or you have some other special circumstance which is causing you difficulty paying your rent.
Please see Discretionary Housing Payment for more information.