Housing Benefit

Housing benefit is a means tested benefit payable to people who are responsible for paying rent.  We work out how much you will get by looking at the;

  • amount of money you receive
  • amount of savings and investments you have
  • circumstances and income of people who live with you

If your savings and investements are over £16000 you will not qualify for housing benefit.

Housing benefit helps people who pay rent to the Council or to a private landlord or housing association.  The Government calls housing benefit for private tenants Local Housing Allowance.

Important Changes to Your Housing Benefit

From April 2013, the Government made the following changes to Housing Benefit.

Spare Bedrooms

If you live in council accommodation or other social housing and are assessed as having at least 1 extra bedroom in your house, your Housing Benefit could be reduced by:

  • 14% if you have 1 extra bedroom
  • 25% if you have 2 or more extra bedrooms

Benefit Cap

The Government introduced a cap on the total amount of benefit working age people can receive each week.  Benefit claimants in Fife who will be affected by this change will have the cap applied between 15th July and end of September 2013.

The cap will be applied by reducing the amount of Housing Benefit you receive. The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) will contact the Council to tell us the amount to be deducted from Housing Benefit and the date this is to start from.

In some limited circumstance you may be able to apply for help from the DHP fund if you have been affected by the new spare bedrooms or benefit cap rules.  Find out who can claim and how to apply at www.fifedirect.org.uk/dhp 

For more information on Welfare Reform visit  www.fifedirect.org.uk/welfarereform

Check if you qualify

Enter your details into the Benefits Calculator  to find out if you qualify and to see how much you may get.  If you want to apply you will be taken to the application form.  Please note that this is an estimate and you won’t know an exact amount until your application has been processed.

You can also check our Income Levels Guide   which will give you a quick indication if you can apply for housing benefit based on your income.

How to apply

If you don't have access to a PC with an internet connection at home, you can use;

  • Self Service PC's at local offices
  • EzFife PC's at any community library in Fife
  • Internet cafes
  • A friend or relatives house where there is internet access

If you need help or support completing the application form, please call us on 03451 55 11 55.

When you make a claim for housing benefit you will be asked to provide evidence to support your claim.  All documents, certificates and evidence must be originals.  Your documents can be handed into a local office by appointment or you can send them to the Benefits and Council Tax Team at the address below. Find out what we will accept as evidence.

Reporting Changes

Report a change online

If you are claiming housing benefit you must tell us at once about any change in circumstances you or the people living with you may have.

Some changes may mean you are entitled to more benefit, but others may mean you receive a lower amount or no longer qualify for benefit. 

If you are overpaid we will write to you to explain the situation. We will make arrangements with you to pay back the overpayment, if necessary by instalments.

Appealing a Decision on Housing Benefit

If you disagree with the decision we have made about your housing benefit claim and want to know more about the decision, you should get in touch with us within a month of being notified or we may not be able to consider any dispute.  You can appeal by contacting us on the details below.

Acting as an Appointee

You can claim housing benefit for another person if you are acting as their appointee.  As an appointee you agree to take over all responsibilities of the housing benefit claim which includes;

  • receiving payment
  • letting the team know of relevant change in circumstances eg end of income support / job seekers allowance, changes to family members, change of address, non-dependants, capital or income.
  • repaying any overpayment of housing benefit.

If the person you wish to act for is already claiming Housing Benefit , complete and return the Appointee Form (PDF) .

If the person you wish to act for does not already receive Housing Benefit, then you can apply online on their behalf . You must also fill in the Appointee form and return it to a Local Office or the Benefits and Council Tax Team.

For more information contact

Benefits and Council Tax Enquiries
Tel: 03451 55 11 55 Contact Benefits and Council Tax Enquiries online
By Post: Fife Council, Rothesay House, Rothesay Place, Glenrothes, KY7 5PQ
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