Welfare benefits team frequently asked questions

Q, I have tested positive for COVID-19 and have been isolating and not earning any income. Am I entitled to any benefit?

A, Self-isolation support payments are available for people that have been told to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace. You can apply for this support if your income has been affected and if your employer is not going to pay statutory sick pay. People who are looking after children who have been told to self-isolate can also apply. 

Find out about self-isolation support payments. Or call our advice line: 0208 753 5566

Q, I am currently receiving Personal Independence Payment and Universal Credit, including help with my rent. Will I get a disability premium on my council tax support?

A, You may be able to get the disability premium or reduce the amount of council tax you have to pay if you can prove that you have a disability, or have an extra bathroom, kitchen or other room that you need, or extra space inside the property for using a wheelchair. Contact benefits@lbhf.gov.uk

Q, I am a full time student at university. Can I claim housing benefit, Universal Credit or council tax support?

Full time students are not entitled to housing benefit, Universal Credit. There are some exceptions. 

  • If you are a lone parent responsible for a child/children and are in receipt of child benefit 
  • You have a disability and are in receipt of disability living allowance, personal independence payment or attendance allowance. 

Full time students are entitled to an exemption from council tax if they are the only adults in the property or all the resident adults are students. They need to apply to the council and provide proof of their student status.

Find out about student council tax exemption.

Q, My Universal Credit rent element has been overpaid and was paid directly to my landlord. What will happen to my claim?

If the Universal Credit claim is still ongoing, the overpayment will be recovered from the ongoing entitlement. The Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) will reduce the amount they pay to your landlord by an agreed amount each month, until they have recovered the amount that was overpaid. You will have to pay your landlord the shortfall in rent as a result of DWP deductions

Q, I am having difficulty paying my rent shortfall, can I get any other financial help in paying my rent?

A, Our welfare benefits advisers will be able to assist you to check your eligibility for financial assistance. This could be through a discretionary housing payment.

Q, My circumstances have changed. How soon do I need to inform the benefit department of this change?

A, If you have any change of circumstances, you will need to inform all benefits departments as soon as the change occurs. For most DWP benefits you should report the change of circumstances within one month of the change happening.  

Q, I struggle to use computers or do not have access to a computer, where can I get help to complete online benefit forms?

A, Get in touch with the welfare benefits team who will be able to help you with online forms and tell you about other support that may be available. 

Q, I am a disabled person and housebound and I require help with my household chores. Can I apply for home help and who from?

A, H&F can provide help for residents that are disabled and in need of help at home. The Welfare Benefits team can help you with a referral to the social services team responsible for aids and adaptations. We can also identify and help you to apply for help with the cost of care. 

Q, How do I challenge a DWP work capability decision?

A, Call the DWP helpline (0800 328 5644) and tell them that you would like to submit a request a Mandatory Reconsideration of their decision. The form can also be completed on the www.gov.uk website.

Challenge a benefit decision (mandatory reconsideration) - GOV.UK

You can submit a written request for a Mandatory Reconsideration by post but be mindful of the very strict deadlines. This is first stage of challenging a DWP decision. 

The welfare benefits team can help with challenging DWP benefits decision.

Q, How do I submit the documents to support my benefit applications?

A, If you were not given a pre-paid envelope to return your form or documents, you can take documents to your local jobcentre plus office. We advise that you make copies of all documents before submitting them.

Q, I am struggling financially. I need some help with debts and benefits. Who can I talk to? 

Call the welfare benefits advice line 0208 753 5566