Most working-age customers who want to make a new claim for help towards paying rent, or have a change in their circumstances, will now need to apply for Universal CreditUse the Universal Credit postcode checker to find out whether you’ll need to apply for Universal Credit instead of Housing Benefit. 

Before you apply for Housing Benefit and/or Council Tax Support

Please read the information about Housing Benefit and Council Tax Support

If you rent your property from a private landlord, the Local Housing Allowance (LHA) rules will apply to you.

To find out a rough estimation of what you might be entitled to under Universal Credit, and whether you’d be better off in work, use this handy calculator

You can also use an independent benefits calculator through GOV.UK to see which benefits you may be able to get.

If you're still not sure if you qualify for Housing Benefit and/or Council Tax Support, or need to apply for Universal Credit instead, please contact us for advice:

*office hours are:
Bath One Stop Shop Mon, Tues & Thurs 8:30am - 5.00pm, Weds 9:30am - 5:00pm and Fri 8:30am - 4:30pm
Keynsham Library & Information Service Mon, Tues & Thurs 10:00am - 3:00pm
Midsomer Norton Library & Information Service Mon, Tues & Thurs 10:00am - 3:00pm

Making a claim

If you're applying for Universal Credit

You can apply for Council Tax Support at the same time, by confirming that you're liable for Council Tax on your online application. The information held on your Universal Credit claim will then be used to determine the amount of Council Tax Support you’re entitled to. If you qualify for help, we'll update your Council Tax account and send you a new bill.

If you're not applying for Universal Credit

The best way to make a claim for Housing Benefit and/or Council Tax Support is to visit a One Stop Shop in Bath, Keynsham or Midsomer Norton. An officer will go through a short application form with you and, as long as you have all the information and evidence they need to see with you, they may be able to process your claim while you wait.

If you're unable to visit us in person, please contact us to arrange for an officer to visit you at home. Alternatively, you can download an application form from our forms and leaflets page and post it to us. Please be aware that this form is much longer than those used at the One Stop Shops, so it is usually quicker to come in and see us.

Evidence we need to see to process your claim

  • Identitification for you and your partner (two documents per person).
  • National Insurance numbers for you and your partner.
  • Rent book and tenancy agreement.
  • Statements of all capital, savings and investments.
  • Evidence of any earnings.
  • Evidence of any other income.
  • Evidence of any expenses.
  • Proof of any other benefits, allowances or pensions already in payment or claimed.
  • Proof of student status (if applicable).

A more comprehensive list is available on our forms and leaflets page.

Please note that you must provide original documents, we cannot accept copies.
If you have any doubts about what you need to provide, please contact us. We cannot pay you until we have seen all the evidence we have asked for.

What happens next?

Housing Benefit

Once you have made a claim we will calculate how much Housing Benefit is due by looking at:

  • Your personal circumstances
  • The amount of rent you have to pay, or your Local Housing Allowance rate
  • Who else lives with you. 
Council Tax Support

Once you have made a claim we will calculate how much Council Tax Support is due by looking at:

  • How much money you have coming in
  • Any savings you may have
  • Your personal circumstances
  • The amount of rent and/or Council Tax you have to pay.

Claim start date

To make sure your Housing Benefit starts from the earliest date possible; you should contact us as soon as you need benefit to tell us that you plan to claim. 
We normally pay benefit from the Monday after we receive your claim. Sometimes we can pay from an earlier date if you have good reasons why you have not claimed earlier.

If you want us to consider paying your benefit from an earlier date, you must:

  • make an application in writing within 1 month of the date you are asking to have your claim backdated to, and
  • explain fully why you have ‘good cause’ for not applying sooner.

Where possible you will be asked to provide evidence to support your claim for backdated benefit. Such evidence could include letters or notes from doctors and support workers, or hospital records.

More information


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