How to make a benefits claim

How to apply for help

You can make a claim in different ways.

  • Online - click here to complete our online benefits claim form.  If you need to check if you're entitled to benefits, please use our Benefits Calculator before you complete the claim form.
  • When you claim Income Support, Jobseeker's Allowance or Employment and Support Allowance through the Jobcentre Plus.
  • When you claim Pension Credit through the Pension Service.

If you apply for housing benefit, you don't need to make a separate claim for council tax support.

Returning the forms

If you've completed a paper copy of our form you should return this as quickly as possible to avoid any delay.  You may also have to provide evidence of your circumstances (see below).

If you haven't got all the evidence we need, you should still return the form to us telling us what evidence will be sent on later.

Evidence you need to give us

If you're completing our online form, you'll be able to add your evidence within the online form if you have this available.

If you're completing a paper copy, all evidence you give us must be original documents. We cannot accept copies.

If you're not sure what evidence to provide, please refer to the guidance below or ask us for help.  It's your responsibility to ensure we know about all your circumstances that might affect your benefit claim.

Pension credit claimants

If you claim a Pension Credit and claim housing benefit and/or council tax benefit at the same time, we'll be able to calculate your benefit based on the information the Pensions Service gives us. This will include details about your income and capital.

This means that you won't have to provide the same evidence twice. You may, however, have to give us evidence of other circumstances, which the Pensions Service have not collected.  For example, we'll need to see evidence of your rent agreement if you pay rent to a private landlord.

You must provide original documentary evidence of the following:

Identity

It's important that we can be sure of your identity when you make a claim.  We may need to ask you about your background and look at official documents you have to support the information you give us.

We'll ask for two forms of identification from you and you need to make sure that you can provide these when you make your claim. Forms of identification include:

  • birth certificate
  • UK residence permit
  • letter from social worker/inland revenue/solicitor/probation office
  • passport (current and valid)
  • bank statements (dated within the last four weeks)
  • medical card
  • driving licence
  • wage slips (current)
  • marriage certificate
  • current paid utility bill in your name and address
  • national insurance number card

National Insurance Number

We cannot pay benefit without a National Insurance number for you and your partner. If you or your partner don't have a National Insurance Number, or cannot tell us what it is, please ask us for help.  We can give you advice on how you can find your National Insurance Number.

Income

We need evidence of all money you have coming in. The details below show you what we need in different circumstances before we can pay you any benefit.

Wages

If you're employed, we need either five consecutive weekly wage slips or two consecutive monthly wage slips. If you cannot provide these then you could ask your employer to complete the tear off certificate at the back of the application form and return it to us.

Self employed

We will need to see your self employed accounts if you've been trading for more than a year.  If accounts aren't available then you'll have to complete our form for the self employed (please ask for a copy) and provide evidence in the form of books of account, bank statements, etc

State pensions or private pensions

If you receive a private pension we'll need to see the remittance slip or bank statement showing payments being paid in.

If you receive state retirement pension we'll need to see your original award letter.

State benefits and/or tax credits

All pages of any state benefit or tax credit award letter.

Although child benefit is no longer taken into account as income, we do need to see who you get child benefit for as this can affect who we take into account as your household on your claim.

Savings

We must see evidence of your capital, savings and investments if:

  • you're of pension age and the total is over £10,000; or
  • you're under pension age and the total is over £6,000.

In certain circumstances we may ask to see evidence when the total is below these amounts.

The type of documents we need to see include:.

  • bank, building society and post office statements or passbooks;
  • share certificates;
  • premium bond certificates;
  • ISA statements;
  • PEP statements;
  • National Savings certificates; or
  • stocks and unit trust statements.

We'll need to see the last two months full bank statements.

Other savings/capital

If you own land or property you must tell us. We'll require a valuation, which we may be able to do for you.

We'll also need documentary evidence of any other capital, savings or investments you have.

If you pay rent

The documents we'll need include:

  • tenancy agreement;
  • rent book, or
  • a letter from your landlord detailing the agreement.

You will need to give us original documents that show:

  • name and address of the landlord;
  • name and address of the managing agent (if appropriate);
  • date the agreement started;
  • amount payable;
  • what's included in the agreement (what are you liable to pay and what you get in return), and
  • how often you pay your rent eg, weekly, 4 weekly, calendar monthly.