Benefit FAQs

Firstly, check whether you may be entitled by using our benefits calculator.

If you qualify for some entitlement, use our online form to start your claim and book an appointment to see a Benefits Assessor to hand in your supporting evidence.

This form is for new claims only. If you already receive Housing Benefit and/or Council Tax Support and want to report a change in circumstances or a change of address, please use the appropriate online change in circumstances form.

The date your claim will start depends on how and when you made your claim for Housing Benefit and/or Council Tax Support. 

We normally start your claim from the Monday after you first made contact with us or the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), but only if you complete the claim process within one month. If you don't complete the claim process within one month, your claim will usually start from the Monday after we receive your completed claim.

It is therefore very important that you contact us as soon as you want to start a claim and that you attend any appointments that we make for you.

We cannot usually start your claim any sooner than the Monday after you first contacted us (please see the question 'When will my claim start?'). However, in certain circumstances, we may be able to backdate your claim for up to a maximum of one month from the date you make your backdate request. To be considered for this you must:

  • make a written request for backdating
  • tell us the date you want to claim from
  • tell us why you didn't make your claim earlier - please give us as much information as you can in support of your request
  • if your income was any different during the backdate period, you must provide evidence of it.

We will then look at your request and decide whether you have good cause for not making your claim sooner.

In limited circumstances, if you are of working age and classed as "severely disabled", your Council Tax Support may be backdated for up to six months.

Housing Benefit is paid in arrears. You will receive a payment at the end of every four weeks or, if your rent is charged monthly, on the 1st of every month. If the 1st of the month falls on a weekend or a bank holiday, we will make the payment early so that it reaches you in time for the 1st.

All payments are made by BACS, so you will need a bank account.

Your payment frequency is shown on your award letter.

housing benefit payment details letter

If you are a Council Tax payer, you can view your Housing Benefit and Council Tax Support entitlement online, including the date of your last payment, the amount and the payee by signing up to My Council Tax.

The amount of Housing Benefit you receive is shown on your benefit award notification letter as a weekly amount. Find out more about your notification letter.

The amount you receive might be different from your weekly entitlement. For example, we might deduct an amount if you are repaying an overpayment.

housing benefit amount payable image - Telford & Wrekin Council

The amount of any Council Tax Support you are entitled to is shown on your Council Tax bill.

If you are a Council Tax payer, you can view your Housing Benefit and Council Tax Support entitlement online, including the date of your last payment, the amount and the payee. Find out more information about how to sign up and view your Council Tax details.

We cannot tell you how much rent you need to pay as we do not know if you have to pay your landlord anything that isn't covered by Housing Benefit, for example payments towards rent arrears.

If you are unsure how much rent you need to pay, you will need to contact your landlord.

If you are the tenant of a private landlord, the rules about Local Housing Allowances say that we must pay Housing Benefit direct to the tenant. In limited cases, we may consider paying your landlord instead - if you satisfy certain criteria. Some examples are:

  • you have a previous history of consistent non-payment of rent
  • you have severe debt problems, such as mortgage possession proceedings
  • you have a learning disability that makes it hard to manage finances
  • you have serious difficulties with reading and writing
  • you have a medical condition, such as mental health problems, that may affect your ability to manage your finances
  • you have addiction problems, such as drugs, alcohol or gambling
  • you are fleeing domestic violence, other violence or harassment
  • you've recently been released from prison.

This list is not exhaustive.

If you think you satisfy any of these criteria, please email us at Benefit.Service@telford.gov.uk - and provide more details. We may ask you for proof of your circumstances.

If we are made aware that you have rent arrears of 8 weeks or more, we will make payments direct to your landlord.

If you are the tenant of a housing association or other social landlord, you can usually choose whether we pay you or your landlord.

You can check whether you'll still be entitled by using our benefits calculator. You can do this as many times as you like, so you can see how different changes in your circumstances will affect your entitlement.

The amount that you are entitled to may have changed if you have had a change in your circumstances, such as your (or your partner's) income going up or down, if you start receiving a new income, or if someone moves in or out of your household.

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and HMRC sometimes sends us information about changes to your income. We also receive data matches from other Government bodies that could show that the information we hold for you is different to information that they hold.

Please remember it is your responsibility to report any changes to us when they happen. The fastest way to tell us about a change is to use our online form and upload evidence of the change at the same time.

If you don't tell us about a change that leads to you being paid too much Housing Benefit and/or Council Tax Support, you may receive a financial penalty (fine). You may also be investigated by the Council and/or DWP Investigation Teams.

There are two reasons why we might be making a deduction from your Housing Benefit.

Firstly, we might be making a deduction for a non-dependant.

Non-dependants are other adults living in your home, for example, a friend or members of the family - like grown-up children or parents. The Government says we must make a deduction for any non-dependants living with you. The amount of the deduction depends on the non-dependant's income.

Secondly, we might be recovering an overpayment.

If you have had a change in your circumstances that means we've paid you too much Housing Benefit, we call this an overpayment. After the change, if you're still entitled to Housing Benefit, we will recover the overpayment from your ongoing entitlement until you have paid it back in full.

If you've had a change in your circumstances since you made your original claim, this may affect the amount of Housing Benefit and/or Council Tax Support you're entitled to. You must report a change in your circumstances as soon as possible. The fastest way to report a change is by using our online form.

If you think we've made a mistake, please tell us straight away. Email us at Benefit.Service@telford.gov.uk.

If you want to know more about a decision, want us to look at your claim again or want to formally appeal against a decision we've made, please write to us or use our dispute form. You must do this within one month of us making the decision. View more information about appeals.

From April 2013, all working age people (except some severely-disabled residents receiving certain means tested benefits) who live in the borough have had to pay something towards their Council Tax. This is currently set at a minimum of 25% of the charge. The maximum Council Tax Support we can award is 75% of the Council Tax charge. View more information about Council Tax Support.

The easiest way to pay your Council Tax is by direct debit - you can even pay weekly. View more information about paying your Council Tax.

From time to time, we may review your claim to make sure our information is up-to-date. We will send you a benefit review form and ask you to return it with evidence of your income. It is important that you return the form with your evidence as soon as possible. If you don't return the form, we can suspend your payments, and if we don't hear from you then, we can cancel your claim and end your award.

Please remember, it is your responsibility to report any changes to us when they happen. The fastest way to report a change is by using our online form.

If you don't tell us about a change that leads to you being paid too much Housing Benefit or Council Tax Support, you may receive a financial penalty (fine). You may also be investigated by the Council and/or DWP Investigation Teams.

The quickest and easiest way to send us information if you are receiving Housing Benefit and/or Council Tax Support - and have had a change in your circumstances or a change of address - is to use one of our online forms. You can upload evidence of the change at the same time (for example, a photograph of your payslip, etc.).

If you haven't had a change but need to send us information, for example, that we have requested, you can email it to Benefit.Service@telford.gov.uk.

If you can't email us, you can send the information or documents to us at Benefit Service, Telford & Wrekin Council, PO Box 249, Telford, Shropshire, TF3 4LP.

We stopped sending out paper payment schedules in the post from April 2016. Landlords can request access to our online Landlord Portal, where you can view real time information about your tenants' Housing Benefit awards (for cases that are paid to you) and the payments we have made or are due to make.

You can download details of payments in Excel format and can see this before the money has even reached your account - quicker than waiting for the post to arrive.

To request access to the Landlord Portal, you can complete our application form and simply email this directly back to Landlord.Liaison@telford.gov.uk

Once returned, we will then register your details and within 10 working days will email your personal user ID, temporary password and link to the Landlord Portal, together with a user guide.

Last updated: 10.38am on Monday 16 September 2019

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