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Ribble Valley Borough Council

Housing Benefits and Council Tax Support

What are discretionary housing payment and Council Tax Support discretionary fund?

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These are payments we can make if your council tax support and housing benefit does not cover the full amount of rent or council tax you are charged. It is an additional payment to Housing and Council Tax Support and can be awarded at the discretion of the authority. These payments are only available to people entitled to Housing and Council Tax Support who require further assistance.

What are eligible housing costs?

When people are charged rent it sometimes states in their tenancy agreement that the rent includes a charge for other services, such as meals, electricity and charges for water. Eligible housing costs are therefore the amount of charged rent minus any ineligible service charges.

Ineligible service charges are not paid by Housing Benefit. Therefore, you may have a shortfall in the amount of Housing Benefit that Ribble Valley Borough Council pays and the amount of rent you must pay your landlord. Unfortunately Discretionary Housing Payments are not available to make up this shortfall.

Would I be entitled to a Discretionary Housing Payment?

  • Are you entitled to either Housing or Council Tax Support or both?
  • Is Housing and Council Tax Support leaving you a shortfall in the actual amount of rent and council tax you need to pay?
  • Is the shortfall, eligible rent costs?

If you can answer yes to the above questions and  Ribble Valley Borough Council is satisfied that you require further financial assistance you may be awarded a Discretionary Housing Payment or a payment from the Council Tax Support discretionary fund.

Please note that if you are only entitled to Housing Benefit then we are unable to help financially with your Council Tax bill. Also if you qualify for Council Tax Support then we are unable to give financial assistance with your rent costs.

How to claim

If you wish to claim a Discretionary Housing Payment you must complete our application form. Please contact benefits@ribblevalley.gov.uk or 01200 414453 or visit the council offices.

If you wish to claim a council tax support discretionary payment you must write to the Council's revenues and Benefits Section and explain your circumstances. These payments are only a short term measure to help claimants affected by the Council Tax Support Scheme, who are experiencing extreme financial difficulty.

Important: Whilst your claim is being processed you must continue to pay your Council Tax bill by the due dates.

Please note, the length of time the authority will pay an award is at their discretion.

Your rights and duties

If you are unhappy with a decision that Ribble Valley Borough Council has made in relation to your claim for Discretionary Housing Payment and Council Tax Support you can ask for a reconsideration of the decision. You must do this in writing within one calendar month of notification.

You must also inform the Council within one calendar month of any change in your circumstances. If the Council is not notified within the time limit an overpayment of Discretionary Housing Payment  and Council Tax Support may occur. You will have to pay this money back.

If you have any further questions regarding Discretionary Housing Payments and Council Tax Support please contact benefits@ribblevalley.gov.uk  01200 414453