Benefit - how to apply

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Universal Credit

Please note that most new claimants in our borough now need to claim Universal Credit. If you fall outside the Universal Credit scheme you can still claim Housing Benefit. You still apply to us for support with your Council Tax.

How to claim

To claim Housing Benefit or a Council Tax Reduction you need to complete an application form. From 1 April 2013 if you would like to make a claim on your Council Tax, you will need to make an application for a Council Tax Reduction.

Please take time to read all the notes on the claim form to make sure you complete it correctly. The form is quite long and asks for a lot of information. If you do not complete the application form correctly, your claim could be delayed.

If you get Income Support (IS) or Income Based Job Seeker's Allowance (JSA (IB)), you would have received an application for Housing and Council Tax Reduction along with your application for IS or JSA (IB). If you have applied for Pension Credit, the Pension Service will have given you a Housing Benefit and Council Tax Reduction form.

You can download the housing benefit application form, you will need to print, complete and return the application form back to us as the form must be signed. Please note the application form is 40 pages long, all of which must be returned to us to consider your application.

You can contact us by email to ask us to send you an application form. Alternatively, you can contact the benefits team on 01732 876376.

If any part of the form does not apply to you, you must still complete it by placing a tick in the appropriate box.

If you are unable to complete the application form and cannot come to our offices, a visiting officer might be able to visit you at home. Please contact us for further details.

Verification of documents

Tonbridge & Malling Borough Council need to verify documents to prevent fraud and error and ensure that we give you the correct amount of Benefit.

  • All evidence must be original documents - photocopies are not acceptable.
  • We will ask you to provide evidence of your identity.
  • You must provide evidence of your National Insurance Number, such as a P60, pay slip, national insurance card or benefit book.

Original Documents

Where you have to provide evidence we must see the original document - not a photocopy. (You can take or send the evidence to our offices).

We must then make a copy to keep on our files. We will return the original(s) to you as quickly as possible (normally the day after receipt by us).

We do not advise sending important documents in the post unless you use recorded or special delivery.

If you send in photocopies by mistake, we will write to you and ask you to send or bring in the original documents.

If you bring the original documents to our offices, we will issue a receipt for the documents.

Evidence of identity

With every new application for benefit you must also provide documentary proof of your identity. The documents must be original and not photocopies. The acceptable forms of identification are listed below (we ideally require two different items if available):-

  • Bank statement (less than four weeks old)
  • Benefit payment book
  • Your most recent electricity or gas or telephone bill in your name
  • Wage slips
  • Birth certificate
  • Certificate of employment in HM Forces
  • Certificate of employment in Merchant Navy
  • Divorce/annulment papers
  • Driving Licence
  • Identity card issued by EU member state
  • Life Assurance/Insurance policies
  • Marriage certificate/Civil partnership certificate
  • National Insurance card
  • Passport (current and valid)
  • UK residence permit

Once you have completed and submitted your application form, whenever you contact the office the staff will ask you to confirm your identity.

Evidence of your National Insurance Number

Please supply one of the following items to verify your national insurance number and, if you have a partner, an item to verify theirs also. The acceptable items are:-

  • National Insurance card
  • Payslip
  • P45 or P60
  • Tax notification from the Inland Revenue
  • Notification letter from the DWP or Pension Service
  • Benefit book
  • Bank statement for the self employed paying class 2 contributions

If you cannot provide this information, we will contact the Department For Works and Pensions (DWP), which should be able to provide us with this information. It would obviously be to your advantage if you could provide us with the information. If we have to contact the DWP, this will cause delay in dealing with your claim. We will not be able to pay benefit without this information.

Other information

Housing Benefit and Council Tax Reduction are 'means-tested' benefits and you must therefore be prepared to provide all details regarding income and capital to support your application.

The application form also requests information regarding other members of your household (called non-dependants) and details of their income and capital.