Make a benefit claim

how to make a benefit claim

You can apply for Housing Benefit (including Local Housing Allowance) and Council Tax Reduction using the same form.

If you're not sure which council you need to make a claim with, visit the Direct Gov website  and enter your postcode to find out.

When you make a claim we'll ask:

  • for certain supporting documentation (see further down the page)
  • you to tell us about all of your income, savings and capital
  • for your contact details

Claim payments usually start on the Monday following the date we receive your application. There are a few exceptions to this rule; if you want your benefit to start from an earlier date, you'll need to ask for a 'back-date' - more details at the end of this page.

Claim / apply online

When using our online system, you need to be aware:

  • You'll be asked for your income / capital and expenses on the same screen:
  1. Income: you must list all of the income you receive and be as precise to the exact figure as possible
  2. Capital: this includes all bank accounts, even the ones that may be outside of the UK or not in use
  3. If you have an income you're unsure of or that isn't in the search list - use the page ‘other income / capital and expenses’. This screen will let you insert the details
  • You must provide us with a phone number or email address so we can contact you; if you don't it will hold up your claim.
  • At the end of the claim form you must tick the declaration .

After you submit your online claim, we'll contact you within 2 working days to tell you if you're entitled or to ask for any documentation needed to process your claim.

Using the system:

  • If you need technical support to make a claim in our online system, email  with your username and a contact number. One of our officers will contact you the next working day.

Other ways to claim / apply

We'll arrange for a call-back appointment within 2 working days. Remember to have your income and any savings information ready when we call.
  • Visit us at our Customer Service Centre You can use our computers to make a claim online.
  • Or download and print our Housing Benefit and Council Tax Reduction claim form [PDF, 178.5 KB]

    Send completed forms to:

    Cambridge City Council

    Revenue Services (Benefits)

    FREEPOST PO Box 130

    Cambridge CB2 1BR

    Remember to include the supporting documentation we need to see.

    You can also bring your printed form and supporting documentation to our Customer Service Centre .

Supporting documents that we need to see

  • It's important

    that you apply without delay, even if you don't have all of the documents we may need.

  • As well as completing the form we'll need to see other documents.  If you live with a partner, we'll also need to see their information. 
  • All documents must be originals. we can't accept photocopies.

These are the documents we may need:

  • National Insurance number

You can still make a claim if you or your partner don't have a National Insurance number or can't find your National Insurance card, or a document such as a P60, P45, benefit entitlement letter etc.  We can contact the Department of Work and Pensions to get this information - but it may delay the processing of your application. 
  • Proof of ID (two per person) For example, your passport, driving licence or birth certificate.
  • Evidence of income (earned income or other benefits)
  • State benefits: A letter of your entitlement or your payment book.

    Earned income: The most recent consecutive payslips - five weekly, three if paid fortnightly or two if paid monthly.

    Self employed: Detailed accounts to show your income and expenditure.

    Any other income: Official documents confirming date payment started, how much you will receive and frequency you are paid.

    • Proof of rent and tenancy

    Backdating claims

    Benefit can't normally be backdated, so it's important that you send your completed form and documents to us as soon as possible.

    If you've claimed benefit, but think you should have done this from an earlier date, you'll need to write to us asking us to backdate your claim. You'll need to give a good reason why your claim is late. This is known as 'good cause'  and must be continuous for the period you want benefit backdated.

    • Each backdating claim is considered on individual circumstances.
    • We'll consider other things which may have affected your ability to claim such as your age, health and other circumstances.
    • Benefit can only be backdated for up to 6 months.

    If we turn down your claim for backdating, or you disagree with the decision, you can query, review or appeal your benefit decision .


    Claims made online, over the telephone or at our Customer Service Centre may be made without a signature: read details of the regulations [PDF, 39.1 KB] .

    Additional help

    Let us know immediately if you're under threat of eviction as we can liaise with landlords and prioritise claims.

    We can give DHPs to people claiming benefit who need extra help with their housing costs, if these are more than the amount of benefit they get.

    • For more details, email  or call 01223 457762. how to make a benefit claim


    Category: Credit

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