Apply for Housing Benefit and Council Tax Support

Housing Benefit and Council Tax Support are two benefits managed by Bedford Borough Council that can help you pay your rent and Council Tax. 

We have introduced more online options for applying for and managing your benefit claims, as well as a secure and direct way to provide documentary evidence online.

Housing Benefit

Housing Benefit can help you pay your rent if you are unemployed, on a low income or claiming benefits. For people of working age, Housing Benefit is being replaced by Universal Credit which is managed by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP). For details of how your claim will be assessed go to GOV.UK.

However, you can still claim Housing Benefit if you:

  • live in 'supported exemption accommodation' which is generally a hostel or sheltered accommodation.
  • are of State Pension age (if you are a couple, it is the youngest partner's age that determines which benefit you can claim)

If you are already on Housing Benefit, you will remain on that benefit until your circumstances change and you then claim Universal Credit. 

Make a claim for Housing Benefit

Council Tax Support 

Council Tax Support (sometimes called Council Tax Reduction) is a scheme offered by all Councils to reduce the amount of Council Tax due, on the basis of low income. Council Tax Support can reduce your Council Tax bill by up to 100%, depending on your circumstances. 

For people of pension age, there are rules (set by Central Government) which restrict entitlement to Council Tax Support if your savings are over £16,000 or your income is too high.

For people of working age (below state pension age), the rules for Council Tax Support are set by the Council in the Council Tax Reduction Scheme (PDF). You will not get any Council Tax Support if have savings of more than £8,000 or if other adults (not your partner) in your household earn more than £350 per week.

If you're part of a couple and one of you is a pensioner and the other is not, you will generally be treated as working age.

Make a claim for Council Tax Support

Tell us about a change in your circumstances

If you receive Housing Benefit or Council Tax Support, you must tell us straight away if any of the details you have told us in the original application have changed as it could affect your entitlement.

You can now tell us about changes in your circumstances online, such as:  

  • a change of address
  • a change in your income, saving or capital (for example a second home)  
  • a change in your household (if someone moves in or out or if you have a baby)
  • an increase or decrease in your rent 

Where possible we will obtain and use data that is either expressly shared with us or available on request from central government and other Council departments. If this is not not be possible, it is still your responsibility to report these changes.

As well as your own circumstances, we may also take the income of any other adult living in your home. This can include a grown up child (non-dependants) and is taken into consideration when calculating any entitlement to Housing Benefit and/or Council Tax Support. When legally allowed to, we will seek to collect this data directly from source.

If in doubt, tell us anyway. Failure to report a change in circumstances could lead to prosecution and will mean you are liable to pay back any benefit that has been overpaid.  

If you are reporting a death you should use the 'tell us once service'.

Tell us about a change in your circumstances 

My benefit entitlement

You can see the most up to date online version of your Housing Benefit and/or Council Tax Support entitlement by registering for an online Council Tax account. 

Register for an online Council Tax account

View your claim letters

You can register to get email notification when a new Housing Benefit or Council Tax Support letter is ready for you to view. Once registered you can also view your claim letters. 

Register or view your claim letters 

Upload a document or evidence online

You may be required to provide evidence of anything you tell us; we may have written to you asking you to provide evidence.

You can now upload documents relating to your benefit claim online. You will need to provide your claim reference and your National Insurance number. 

Upload a document online 

Help with calculating or applying for benefits

Entitled to is a free, online benefits calculator that can help you to find out what benefits you can get.

Citizens Advice Bedford provides help with making a new Universal Credit claim, find them at St Paul's Square, Bedford or use their handy Universal Credit guide.

You can also contact Customer Services for further help.