Housing Benefit payments
If you're a council tenant we will pay the benefit directly to your rent account.
If you're a private tenant, there are set dates we can make Housing Benefit payments to you. These dates will not always match the date your rent is due to your landlord.
If you are more than eight weeks in arrears with your rent, we will pay your Housing Benefit directly to your landlord.
All new benefit claims are paid in arrears whether the benefit is paid to you or your landlord.
If we make payments to you they will be paid every two weeks in arrears. If we make payments direct to your landlord we will pay them every four weeks in arrears.
How do we work out your rent
Housing benefit is calculated using weekly rents. So, if you pay rent per calendar month we will work out how much rent you pay each week over a year:
- First we use the rent charged per calendar month
- We then times that number by 12 to get a yearly amount
- Then we divide the yearly amount by 52 to get a weekly amount. Whatever this figure is, this is the rent we use.
To help us work out your benefit quickly, we need evidence of your income, savings, National Insurance Number, the job you do and some ID to be submitted with your application.
Make sure you return the form to us even if you can't give us all the evidence and information we need, as you could lose any benefit you may be entitled to. Remember to give us as much information as you can but let us know the earliest date when you will provide the additional information. If we need to contact you for more information you'll get 14 days to get back to us. If we don't hear from you or we don't receive the information we asked for we'll make a second request and give you another 14 days. If you continue to fail to give us information to support your application your claim will stop and you'll have to start again from the beginning.
Getting your money
We pay your benefit directly into your bank or building society account on a Monday. We can't pay it into a Post Office Card Account. If there's a Bank Holiday then the payment will be made slightly earlier.
You can protect your housing benefit payments by telling your bank it should only be used to pay your rent. This protection is called a 'first right of appropriation of funds order'.
You need to write to your bank at least seven days before your housing benefit is due, making it clear that any regular payments or future deposits from Gravesham Borough Council are to pay for your rent only.
For example, you may want to instruct your bank or building society:
"On or around August 20th, and every 2 weeks after, my housing benefit will be paid into my current account number 0101010101. I am exercising my first right of appropriation over these funds and wish you to pay the following items from it: £75 standing order payable to my landlord, Mr Smith on the 25th of the month."
Keep a copy of the letter in case there is any dispute later. You may want to ask your bank/building society to confirm your request.
If there are any items you no longer want to pay from your account, or which you cannot afford, you should give your bank separate cancellation instructions. This is because the first right of appropriation does not stop the bank paying items as well as those you have listed. If you do not cancel these items, your bank may return the items as unpaid, which they may charge you for. However, payments from your account to re-pay a loan with the same bank cannot be cancelled.