Housing Benefit and Council Tax Reduction claims

List of acceptable evidence to support new claims and changes of circumstances

You need to provide documents to us that confirm things about you, your partner and children (if appropriate) when making a new claim or reporting a change in your circumstances.

If proof of identity has been requested, please be advised that we must see the original identity documents for you and/or your partner. You can post your documents to us or come into the Guildhall One Stop Shop where a member of staff will advise you of the next available time slot. Opening times are Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday 9am-5pm and 10am – 5pm on Wednesdays.

For all other documents in support of your claim copies are sometimes acceptable, you will be advised if this applies to you. You can e-mail scanned copies of original documents to [email protected]

You must provide all documents to support your benefit claim within 1 calendar month of the date you made that claim; if you do not do so, your claim will be treated as defective and no award will be made.

Type of evidence (and acceptable forms)

Identity birth or marriage certificate, passport, medical card, driving license (we need to see both the paper and card documents for the new style licenses), UK residence permit, EU identity card or a recent utilty (gas, water, electric, etc) bill

We need to see original ID documents when you are providing identity evidence for you and your partner (if you have one).
National Insurance Number NI number card, payslips or letters from social security or the tax office.
Earnings Your last 5 payslips if you are paid weekly or last 2 if you are paid monthly; accounts for the last financial year if you are self employed or trading records so far if your business is new.

If you have just started working we will calculate your claim based on a letter from your employer confirming your new salary.
Capital, savings and investments your bank, post office or building society books, full bank statements, certificates for National Savings Certificates, ISAs, Tessas, stocks, shares and unit trusts.

Mini-statements from ATMs are not sufficient proof of capital amounts; the evidence you send must show details for the last 2 months.
Benefits, allowances, tax credits or pensions current award notices or letters from social security confirming how much you get. We may be able to check for some social security benefits.
Other income received pension slips from a former employer, letter from the court showing maintenance payments, evidence of any board and lodgings paid to you, etc.
Other money paid out letters about student grants or maintenance, agreements or receipts from registered child carers.
Evidence of a private rent and tenancy such as a rent book, rent receipts, a tenancy agreement or a letter from your landlord, or we can supply a form if you do not have these.
Other information may be requested by the benefit assessor handling your claim, depending on your specific circumstances.

The assessor will contact you directly to request this if it is required.

How long does it take to process a claim or change of circumstances?

Once we have completed your online form, submitted it and we have all the supporting documents we need in order to process it, we can complete an assessment of your entitlement to benefits.

If all evidence has been provided to support your claim/change, we normally assess and pay benefit within 1 calendar month of receiving a new claim and endeavour to amend and re-calculate changes as soon as possible.

How long do I have to send in my evidence?

You have up to one calendar month from the date your claim is initially started to provide your supporting evidence to the benefits section, but we encourage you to do this immediately; this start date is confirmed on your email receipt if you enter an email address when you submit your claim.

If there are special circumstances that mean that there will be a delay in obtaining evidence, please tell us straight away.

How can I provide evidence for my claim?

When you submit your online form, you will be notified what documents are required to support your claim and whether these documents need to be originals or can be copies. Where copies are acceptable you can attach electronic copies of your evidence to your online form and send the documents to us along with your claim.

Document upload from your form

These documents can only be attached to your form if they are in one of the following formats: JPG, TIFF, PNG, BMP or PDF. We cannot accept uploaded documents in other formats.

You will need to have the documents available in a location on the device you are using to complete the form in order to attach them. We are currently unable to accept document uploads if you are completing your online claim via a public computer (such as those in libraries or in the One Stop Shop at the Guildhall) for security reasons.

Single files over 4MB in size will not transfer correctly; please keep the file size of any single document uploads below this.

The total size of your upload is not a problem (e.g. you could upload 10 documents, each one less than 4MB, and the system would process these without issue); it is just the size of each document that must be less than 4MB.

Scan and email documents to the benefits section

The easiest way to provide these is to scan the documents and email them to [email protected].

If you do this, please make sure you quote your Benefit Claim Reference Number when sending us any information.

Bring in documents to be copied

If you do not have access to a scanner and / or you need to provide original evidence, please bring these into the One Stop Shop at the Guildhall. Our opening hours are:

  • Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday - 9am to 5pm
  • Wednesday - 10am - 5pm

When you report to reception, you will be given an allocated 10 minute slot during that day for you to have your documents scanned for you; please make sure that you arrive promptly so you can be seen at your designated time.

How much benefit will I get?

We take into account:

  • Your income
  • Any savings you may have
  • The size of your family
  • Non-dependants

and therefore the amount can vary substantially.

You can use the GOV.UK benefits calculator to check your potential entitlement to Housing Benefit but this is only an estimate and may vary considerably from any actual award you may receive.