How and when to make a claim

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Important Information from the 1st November 2017

From the 1st November 2017 most working age claimants who wish to claim Housing Benefit will need to claim Universal Credit instead. Universal Credit is administered by the Department for Work and Pensions, not St Albans District Council.

To apply for Universal Credit, please visit

If you are unsure as to what benefit you need to apply for, please contact the Benefit Section at or ring (01727) 819220

You can still apply to us for a reduction in your Council Tax, and help with your rent if you are a pensioner.

To find out whether you may be entitled to help with your rent and/or council tax, please visit

To make an application for Housing Benefit and/or Council Tax Reduction please use our online form. Before you make an application it would be helpful if you had your National Insurance number and most recent Council Tax Bill to hand.

(The same form is also used for those claiming second adult rebate - please see below for an explanation of second adult rebate.)

Once you have completed the online form you will be sent an email explaining the type of documents we need to assess your claim. Your award cannot be paid until we have seen the proof we have asked for but if you do not currently have the proof, do not delay in making your claim.

The quickest and easiest way to send us documents is by email. You can send scanned copies or photographs of your documents to us at In certain cases we may need to see original documents, if this applies we will contact you.

When should I claim?

Claim as soon as you are able because we cannot normally backdate your claim.

If you know your circumstances are going to change, for example, if you are going to retire, you can make a claim up to 13 weeks before the change is due to take place

You cannot get Housing Benefit for any rent due before you move into a property except in special circumstances, and then only for a maximum of four weeks.

It is important to consider that we will normally only start your award from the Monday following the day we receive your claim.

What is second adult rebate?

You can claim Second Adult Rebate if you are liable to pay Council Tax but you want a reduction in your Council Tax bill based on the circumstances of another adult that lives in your household, other than your partner, who is not liable for Council Tax. 

For example, you may not be entitled to a Single Person Discount if you have an adult son or daughter living with you. However, if that adult son or daughter is on a low income or is in receipt of Income Support, Job Seekers Allowance or Employment Support Allowance, you may be entitled to a Second Adult Rebate. 

Second Adult Rebate can reduce the amount you are liable to pay by up to 25%. Second Adult Rebate is based on the income of the other adult in the property, so you can claim this even if your income and/or savings would normally mean you wouldn't be entitled to a reduction. 

How we collect and use information

We will use the information you give in your application, and in any supporting evidence you send us, to process your claim for Housing Benefit and Council Tax Reduction.

We may pass the information to other agencies or organisations such as the Department for Work and Pensions, the Employment Service and the Inland Revenue, as allowed by the law.

By law, we may check the information you have provided, or information provided about you by someone else, against other information we already have.

We may also ask other agencies, organisations, local authorities or government departments to give us information they have about you to check it is accurate, prevent or detect crime and protect public funds.

This authority is under a duty to protect the public funds it administers, and to this end may use the information you have provided on this form for the prevention and detection of fraud. It may also share this information with other bodies responsible for auditing or administering public funds for these purposes. For further information see

Date of last review: 27 October 2017