What help is available towards Rent or Council Tax?

Help paying your rent and Council Tax.

Housing Benefit

Housing Benefit is a national welfare benefit administered by local authorities.

  • If you're on a low income, whether you're working or not, and need financial help towards paying your rent, you may be entitled to Housing Benefit. Housing Benefit can only be paid where there is a liability to pay rent, and cannot help towards any mortgage payments.

Council Tax Support

Council Tax Support is a local scheme, to help people with a Council Tax liability to pay that charge. It is a discount, not a welfare benefit. All Local Authorities throughout England, have their own individual scheme.

  • If you receive Universal Credit the Council must use the income details provided by the DWP.
  • If you are on a low income, whether you're working or not, and have a council tax liability, you may be entitled to Council Tax Reduction to reduce the amount you have to pay. Council Tax Support is an income based discount applied to your Council Tax Account.
  • If you are of working age, the maximum help you can get through Council Tax Support is 85% of your charge after any other discounts or exemptions have been applied. This means whatever your income, you will be liable to pay 15% of your charge.
  • If you are of working age your Council Tax Support will be restricted to the charge for a band C property.
  • If you have reached state pension credit age, your Council Tax Support will be calculated based on 100% of the charge, so you could get the whole charge covered through Council Tax Support.
  • If you have reached state pension credit age, and have a partner who is working age and in receipt of Income Support, Jobseeker's Allowance (Income Based) or Employment & Support Allowance (Income Related) the rules of the working age scheme will apply to you.

Our 2016/17 scheme

 CTR Scheme Policy

Other Benefits

For other benefits such as Universal Credit (UC), Job Seekers Allowance (JSA) and Income Support (IS) please go to the Gov.uk Website.

Am I eligible to claim?

By using the online calculator you will get an approximate idea, based on the information you supply, of how much Housing Benefit and/or Council Tax Support you could receive.

Make sure that you have personal details such as weekly or monthly wages, rent payable etc to hand.  You can use the calculator to find out roughly how much benefit you could get.

Please note, this is only an estimate and there is a chance that actual benefits may vary when you make a claim.

You will need to complete an on line benefit application for an exact calculation.

You can use the Local Housing Allowance web site to determine what room level your household will require.

Who isn't eligible.

You can't usually get Housing Benefit if:

  • if you receive or have applied for Universal Credit
  • you have savings of over £16,000, unless you are getting the 'guarantee credit' of Pension Credit
  • you live in the home of a close relative
  • you're a full-time student (unless you're disabled or have children)
  • you're an asylum seeker or are sponsored to be in the UK
  • if you previously owned the home within the previous 5 years, where you are now liable to pay rent, unless you meet certain criteria.
  • you are liable to pay a mortgage because you own your home, and do not pay rent.

You can't usually get Council Tax Support if:

  • you have savings of over £16,000, unless you are getting the 'guarantee credit' of Pension Credit
  • you have savings of over £6,000 and of working age unless you are getting an income based state benefit
  • you're a full-time student so not liable to pay Council Tax
  • you have come here from abroad and do not meet the criteria to claim
  • you are already exempt from paying Council Tax due to Severe mental Impairment
  • you are under 18 so cannot be liable to pay Council Tax

Please note that this list is not exhaustive.

Change in circumstance

It is important that any change in your circumstances is reported, immediately it occurs. Your entitlement will be reassessed from the Monday following the date of the change.

See our advice on Change of Circumstances

How will you pay me my housing benefit?

The easiest and quickest way to get your benefit is to have it paid into your bank or building society account (BACS). It gets there quicker and is cleared funds so you can take it out straight away.


If you have chosen to have your benefit paid to you the easiest and quickest way to get it is to have it paid straight into your bank/building society account.

  • Benefit reaches the account earlier
  • It is cleared funds and can be drawn out straight away
  • It is more convenient - it doesn't need a trip to the bank/building society.
  • cheques can get lost or delayed in the post - BACS payments are not lost or delayed.

If you want it paid into your bank you can either call 01935 462462 or you can complete the  Payment by BAC's form When you have filled in your details send the form to:

The Benefit Team
The Council Offices
Brympton Way
Yeovil
BA20 2HT


We will write to tell you when we start making payment into your account.


You may prefer to have your benefit paid to your landlord. If you do you can request this on your application form.

Changes to the amount of Council Tax Support

If your circumstances change and your award of Council Tax Support is reduced we will need to adjust any monies already credited to your Council Tax Account. The previous award will be removed from your Council Tax Account and the revised amount will be credited instead. This will mean that your remaining Council Tax liability will increase. A bill will be sent to you to advise you of the amended balance you are liable to pay and the level of instalments required.

If the changes to your circumstances mean that your Council Tax Support is increased. The previous award will be removed from your Council Tax Account and the revised amount will be credited instead. This will mean that your remaining Council Tax liability will increase. A bill will be sent to you to advise you of the amended balance you are liable to pay and the level of instalments required.