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Help with housing costs and council tax payments

This section provides information about the wide range of benefits that are available in England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland.

Housing Benefit – HB

 (also known as Rent Rebate in Northern Ireland), Can be paid to people on a low income and savings (‘capital’) under £16,000.00 to help with rent costs.  If you are a tenant of a private landlord, this is also known as ‘Local Housing Allowance’.  You usually have to apply for HB through your local council.

Help with mortgage interest payments  

This is usually only available if you receive Income Support, income related ESA, income based JSA or Pension Credit.  Mortgage interest payments are paid at a rate pre-set by the government so if your mortgage interest is set higher than this rate, you may be left with a shortfall that you are expected to make up yourself.  The DWP administers help with mortgage interest payments.

Council Tax Benefit - CTB

(also known as Rate Rebate in Northern Ireland).  Can be paid to people on a low income to help with your council tax bills.  You usually have to apply for CTB through your local council as they administer these payments.

Council Tax Disability Reduction Scheme  

This is a non means tested reduction on your council tax bill if you have an extra bathroom or kitchen in your property for a disabled occupier or you have another room set aside specifically for a disabled person – for example, you have to use a room in your property to store specialist equipment.  More details should be available from your local council.

Council Tax Bill Discounts

These are also available if there are less than two adults in the property.  Children under 18 and some carers are ‘disregarded’ for Council Tax purposes. Your local advice centre may be able to advise you on these.

Discretionary Housing Payments  

Your local council can make a ‘discretionary’ payment if you get some Housing and/or Council Tax Benefit but you still need extra help to meet your housing costs.  These are usually paid for a maximum of 26 weeks unless you need to re-apply.  Your local council or advice centre can advise you on how to apply for these payments. 

Disabled Facilities Grant (England and Wales only)

These grants can be paid if you need essential adaptations to your home to enable a disabled person to get around more easily in the home.  For more details on this scheme, contact your local council.  

Scotland

A similar scheme operates in Scotland and is called the Scheme of Assistance.  Scottish tenants should approach their landlords for more information on this.

Energy Assistance Packages

These can offer advice about reducing your fuel costs.  Grants may also be available for central heating and insulation.  For more information on this, contact the Energy Savings Trust at www.energysavingtrust.org.uk

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