Torfaen County Borough Council Civic Centre Pontypool BWRDEISTREF SIROL by pluggtwo

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									    Torfaen County Borough Council                             BWRDEISTREF   Corporate Director Resources
                                                                  SIROL
    Civic Centre, Pontypool NP4 6YB                              TORFAEN
                                                                                  Peter Durkin MIPD




Notes for filling in the Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit claim form
Help and Information
These pages will help you when you fill in the form. They also contain important information so you
should keep them for reference about Housing Benefit & Council Tax Benefit.

 About Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit
Housing Benefit can pay all or part of your rent.
Council Tax Benefit can pay all or part of your Council Tax. It cannot help with water charges.
The amount of benefit you are entitled to depends on your income, capital and family circumstances.
Second Adult Rebate
Second Adult Rebate is Council Tax Benefit for people who may not have a partner but may share their
home with someone who:-
       •       is 18 and over;
       •       is on a low income; and
       •       does not pay them rent.
If you are claiming Second Adult rebate, only fill in Part 1, Part 3 and Part 18.

About this form
We have to ask a lot of questions on this form to make sure that everyone who claims gets the right
amount of benefit. Please do not be put off by the length of the form.
You may not have to fill in all parts of the form and some parts may only need a tick to answer ‘Yes’ or
‘No’, but you must fill in any part that is relevant to you.

Filling in the form
Use blue or black ink to fill in the form. Do not use a pencil. If you make a mistake just cross it out and
put the right answer next to it. Do not use correction fluid or tape.
If someone else fills in the form for you, there is a special place for them to sign as well.
If you need help filling in the form please contact the Torfaen Customer Care Team on 01495-766430 or
01495-766349 Or alternatively you can call into any of our Customer Centres:-

 Pontypool Customer Centre,                          Opening hours
 Civic Centre, Pontypool                             Pontypool and Cwmbran
                                                     Monday to Friday: 8.30am to 5.30pm
 Cwmbran Customer Centre,                            Cwmbran also opens on
 General Rees Square, Cwmbran                        Saturday : 8.30am to 1.00pm


 Trevethin Customer Centre,                          Trevethin and Blaenavon
 Church Avenue, Pontypool                            Monday to Friday: 8.30am to 5.00pm

 Blaenavon Customer Centre,
 7-12 Lion Court, Lion Street, Blaenavon


 You can also call into your local Housing Office.
 If you are unable to visit us because of illness or disability we will visit you to assist you with your
 Benefit claim. Please contact our Customer Care Team for further details.

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What do you do next?

When you have filled in the form, sign it and send it to us with the proof we need to see, or you can bring
the form and proof to us at any of the offices listed on page i. There is a checklist (part 17 of the form) to
help you decide what proof we need. Do not delay sending in the form otherwise you may lose benefit.

Proof
We can only accept original documents not photocopies. Do not send valuable items such as bank
books or passports in the post. Bring them to one of our customer centres or an area housing office.
We will get the information we need and give the documents back to you. Please ensure that you ask for
a receipt.
If you can’t get all the proof we need straight away do not worry, send the form back now and get the proof
to us as soon as you can (within one month at the latest).
If you are having difficulty in obtaining proof please advise us immediately, we may be able to extend the
one month time-limit or alternatively if you give us written permission we may be able to obtain the information
on your behalf.



What happens next?

When we have worked out your entitlement we will write to you. We will tell you how much benefit we
will pay, the date your payments will start and how we have worked out your entitlement.
We aim to do this within 14 days of receiving all of the information. We will send you a letter which will
tell you if you are going to get Housing Benefit and/or Council Tax Benefit.
If you do not hear from us within 2 weeks please contact us to follow up your claim.

When do we usually pay benefit from?

If this is your first claim we usually pay your benefit from the Monday after we get your claim.

How do we pay benefit?

  • Payment of Council Tax Benefit - We pay this straight into your Council Tax account, reducing your
    Council Tax Bill.
  • Housing Benefit for Council tenants - We pay this straight into your council rent account.
  • Housing Benefit for private tenants - We normally pay you or your landlord every 4 weeks (in arrears)
    straight into your or your landlord’s bank or building society account as this is a more secure way of
    getting paid. We can also pay you by crossed cheque. Note: If we pay your landlord he/she will need to
    complete a Landlord’s Agreement form.

If you think our decision is wrong

If you want to know more about the decision we have made on your claim, or if you think it is wrong, you
should get in touch with us within one month of the date of the decision. You can either:
    • Ask for an explanation;
    • Ask us to look at the decision again;
    • Appeal against the decision-you can only do this in writing. If you appeal against the decision, your
      appeal will be heard by an independent tribunal handled by the Appeals Service. Please ask for our
      appeals leaflet for more information.




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Changes you must tell us about
Tell us straight away if:
   • Any of your children leave school or leave home;
   • Anyone moves into or out of your home(including lodgers and subtenants);
   • Your income or the income of anyone living with you changes;
   • Your capital or savings change;
   • You or anyone living with you becomes a student, goes on a Youth Training Scheme, goes into
      hospital or a nursing home, goes into prison, gets, changes or leaves a job;
   • Your rent changes (except Torfaen County Borough Council Tenants);
   • You move;
   • You or anyone living with you starts work;
   • Anything you have told us about changes.
This is not a full list, if you are not sure ask us for advice.

  You must tell us about these changes in writing --- a phone call is not enough.
  If you don’t tell us about these changes you may lose money you are entitled to or you may get too much
  benefit.
  You must make sure that you tell us about these changes and send proof of the new details.
  Don’t rely on someone else to pass the message on.
  It is an offence not to tell us about any change of circumstances that affects your benefit. We may
  take court action against you. If we pay too much benefit, you may have to pay it back.

How we collect and use your information

We will use the information you give in the Benefit claim form, and any supporting evidence you send us,
to process your claim for Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit.
We may pass the information to other agencies or organisations such as “The Department for Work and
Pensions” and “The Inland Revenue” as allowed by law.
We may check information you have provided or information about you that someone else has provided,
with other information held by us. We may also get information about you from certain third parties, or
give them information to:
   • Make sure the information is accurate;
   • Prevent or detect crime;
   • Protect public funds.
We will not give information about you to anyone else, or use information about you for other purposes,
unless the law allows us to.

Torfaen County Borough Council is the data controller for the purposes of the Data Protection Act 1998.
If you want to know more about what information we have about you, or the way we use that information,
please ask us.
Fraud hotline - (In confidence)
                                                     You can help.
                                                     If you know anyone who may be receiving money
                                                     they are not entitled to, phone our confidential
                                                     fraud hotline 01495-766324.
                              SAY NO                 (You do not have to give your name or contact
                                                     details)
                         TO BENEFIT
                                                     Or write to:-
                               FRAUD                      The Fraud Section,
                                                          Finance Department,
                                                          Civic Centre,
                                                          Pontypool NP4 6YB.
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                                        Other Useful Information
 Backdated benefit
Depending on your circumstances, you could be owed benefit from before the date you actually applied for it. We
can backdate your benefit by up to 52 weeks before the date of your claim if:
     • you can show that you had good cause for not making your claim earlier ; AND
     • you could not claim throughout the period you want your benefit backdated for (whether for the same or different reasons).
If you want your benefit backdated please use the space in part 15 of the claim form. You should tell us the date
you would like your benefit backdated to and your reasons for not claiming at that time.

 Discretionary Housing Payments (DHP’s)
These are payments that we can make if your Housing Benefit or Council Tax Benefit is less than the full amount
charged. However we cannot make a DHP to cover the cost of certain amounts included in your rent (such as fuel
and water charges).
If you would like more information about DHP’s please contact us and ask for our leaflet.

 Pre-tenancy determination (PTD)
If you are a private tenant, we may not be able to pay Housing Benefit based on 100% of your rent. The Rent Officer
Service may decide that your rent is too expensive or that your accommodation is too large for your needs.
If you know (before moving into a privately rented accommodation) that you will be depending on Housing Benefit
to help you pay your rent, you can ask us for a Pre-Tenancy Determination. This will allow you to know before you
accept the tenancy whether Housing Benefit will be based on 100% of your rent. It will also help you decide
whether you can afford to accept the tenancy.
A PTD will not tell you how much benefit you will get as that depends on your income and family circumstances, it will
only tell you the most you may receive in Housing Benefit.
Please contact us if you want an application form for a Pre-Tenancy Determination.

 Information and Advice
We have the following leaflets available:-

    • Advice on the Backdating of Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit
    • Help with childcare costs
    • Our Guide to help those who are starting work
    • Guidance for Private Landlords
    • What can I do if I disagree with the decision about my benefit?
    • Information for the Self-Employed
    • Information on Overpayments.
You can pick these up from any of our Customer Centres (addresses on page i ). They are also available on-line @
www.torfaen.gov.uk under Housing Benefit ➔ money matters.
 Independent advice
We are always happy to help if you need advice about filling in this form or advice about entitlement to Housing
Benefit and Council Tax Benefit.
However you can get independent advice from the following places.

  Torfaen Citizens Advice Bureau,            Torfaen Citizens Advice Bureau,               Torfaen People’s Centre Ltd,
  Castle Mews,                               21 Caradoc Street,                            Trosnant House,
                                             Cwmbran                                       Trosnant Street,
  George Street,
                                                                                           Pontypool
  Pontypool                                  Tel 01633-482464
                                                                                           Tel 01495-764835
  Tel. 01495-757421


 We welcome your opinion

  We are committed to providing the highest standards of service to our customers. To do this we need you
  to tell us when we don’t meet your expectations and where you think improvements can be made.
  Good or bad we welcome your comments about the service we provide, as well as any suggestions you
  may have for improving it. Please contact us in writing or by phone.
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