How to claim benefits

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Benefit entitlements

You can check whether you are likely to qualify for benefits including Housing Benefit and Council Tax Support by visiting Benefit calculators.

You can claim Housing Benefit and Council Tax Support for you and your family. Your family includes:

  • you
  • your partner - someone you are married to, or someone you live with as if you are married to them
  • your dependent children

The following people cannot get Housing Benefit and Council Tax YesSupport:

  • People who do not have a rent liability
  • People who have over £16,000 in savings and investments, unless you get the guaranteed part of Pension Credit
  • Most full-time students, although there are some exceptions to this

If you are not sure, you can always phone for advice.

Special rules

Special rules apply to the following people who claim Housing Benefit and Council Tax Support:

  • Students
  • People who have to go through immigration control
  • People in hospital
  • Prisoners
  • People in residential care and nursing homes
  • Young people aged 16 or 17
  • People who have to maintain two homes

If you fall into one of these categories, you should contact us for more information.

When to claim 

You should claim as soon as possible because you may lose benefit if you delay. If you apply late and ask us to pay for a 'backdated' period, we might not be able to pay you for that period. This is because there are strict rules telling us when we can and when we can't pay for a backdated period.

If you are 60 years of age or over, you may qualify for an extra three months benefit prior to the date you made your claim.

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Benefits available and how to apply

Trafford libraries have PC’s, a laptop loan scheme and public wi-fi that you can connect your own device to, so you can complete the application form online.

Housing Benefit

We are a ‘full service’ Universal Credit area, which means that you may have to claim Universal Credit instead of Housing Benefit for help towards your rent.

You can only make a claim for Housing Benefit if one of the following applies:

  • You and your partner are State Pension age
  • You live in temporary accommodation provided by Trafford Council (including HOST)
  • You live in supported or exempt accommodation

If you fit in to the above categories you can apply for Housing Benefit.

Apply for Housing Benefit online

Universal Credit

If you do not fit into any of the above categories you need to apply for Universal Credit on GOV.UK.

Apply for Universal Credit online 

If your Universal Credit application is successful then you will be required to attend an interview at your local Jobcentre Plus.

Council Tax Support

Universal Credit does not include assistance with your Council Tax.

Apply online for Council Tax Support 

Help to make a claim

Make an appointment by phoning us on 0161 912 2220.

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Documents needed

This depends on your circumstances. You will be told what evidence you need to bring in once you have completed your online application form.

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How benefits are worked out

We work out your benefit by comparing the money you get each week with your 'applicable amount'. Your applicable amount is what the Government says you and your family need to live on each week.

The applicable amount will be higher for some people - for example, if you are disabled or if you are a one-parent family. When we have worked out what money you get each week, if it's less than, or the same as, the applicable amount, you will usually get the maximum benefit.

If you have any non-dependants living with you we might have to make deductions from your benefit for them. 

If there are other people living with you

If you have friends, relatives or anyone over 18 living in your home, you may get less benefit. These people are called 'non-dependants'. We may take an amount out of your benefit for each non-dependant who lives in your home.

Non-dependants do not include:

  • Your partner
  • A child you get Child Benefit for
  • People under 18
  • People in full-time education
  • People on youth training schemes

We will not take any money out of your benefit for non-dependants if:

  • You get Attendance Allowance
  • You get the care part of Disability Living Allowance
  • You are registered blind
  • The non-dependant is a paid carer provided by a charitable or voluntary organisation
  • The non-dependant is getting Pension Credit

The money we count when we work out benefits

We count any money you have coming in. This includes things like:

  • Social security benefits
  • Works pension
  • Wages

We count the money you earn from work after money has been taken out for:

  • Tax and National Insurance contributions.
  • Half of any money you pay into a pension fund.

Of the money you earn each week, we do not count the first:

  • £5 if you are single
  • £10 if you are a couple
  • £20 if you are disabled
  • £25 if you are a single parent

We also do not count things like:

  • Disability Living Allowance
  • Attendance Allowance
  • Mobility Allowance

These are just a few examples. Sometimes, we ignore different amounts from other types of income and benefits.

Savings and investments

Government rules say that if you, and your partner if you are a couple, have savings or investments of more than £16,000, you cannot get Housing Benefit or Council Tax Benefit. The only exception to this is if you or your partner get the guaranteed part of Pension Credit.

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When benefits are paid

If you qualify, your benefit will usually start from the Monday after you tell us you want to claim as long as we get your claim form back within one month of us sending it to you.