To get housing benefit or council tax support, you need to make a claim. You can do this:
- in one of our customer service centres
- by post - download a form below, or contact us to have one sent to you
Download a claim form (PDF 516KB)
You can also claim housing benefit when you claim benefits from the Department for Work and Pensions, but you cannot claim council tax support this way.
However you decide to claim, please do not delay - you may miss out on money you would have been entitled to.
More about claiming housing benefit
More about claiming council tax support
You can claim free school meals for your children by calling us on 0300 300 8306. We will usually be able to tell you straight away if you're entitled, and your child's free school meals will start from their next school day.
If you're making an online claim for housing benefit or council tax support, you can ask us to check if you're entitled to free school meals at the same time.
More about claiming free school meals
If you're already getting housing benefit and need extra help, you can ask for a discretionary payment (DHP) to help with your housing costs. You need to apply in writing and tell us why you need extra help. You can do this:
in one of our customer service centres
by post - download a form below, or contact us to have one sent to you
Download a DHP form (PDF 71KB)
More about claiming discretionary housing payments
If you need money in a crisis, or you're vulnerable and in need of goods or services to help you live independently in your community, you may qualify for help. You'll need to meet our eligibility rules, and funds are limited.
More about local welfare provision
If we've made a decision about your housing benefit or council tax support, and you think that decision is wrong, you must tell us in writing straight away. You can do this:
- in one of our customer service centres
- by post
You need to tell us the decision you disagree with, and why you think it is wrong.
If you disagree with housing benefit and council tax support, you only need to write one letter, but there are different rules for how we have to deal with each.
More about housing benefit appeals
More about council tax support grievances
Sometimes we need to ask you to fill in additional forms, so that we can decide how much housing benefit or council tax support you are entitled to. You can download copies of these forms below, to print and return to us.
Housing benefit and council tax support claim form (PDF 516KB) - complete this form to claim housing benefit, council tax support or second adult rebate.
Appointee form (PDF 55KB) - complete this form to become an appointee for a claimant. An appointee takes responsibility for the benefit and support claim for a person who cannot deal with their claim themselves.
Backdating request form (PDF 53KB) - complete this form to ask us to pay you from an earlier date. Find out more about backdating on our backdating page.
BACS payment details form (PDF 43KB) - complete this form if you are a private tenant and would like your housing benefit to be paid by BACS bank transfer, or if you want to change the account your benefit is paid into.
Change of circumstances form (PDF 78KB) - complete this form to report a change in your circumstances which could affect your benefit or support. Find out more about changes of circumstances on our change of circumstances page.
Proof of childcare payments form (PDF 56KB) - complete this form to prove how much you pay for childcare. You and your childcare provider both need to sign it. Your childcare costs can often be offset against your income if you are working.
Proof of earnings form (PDF 54KB) - ask your employer to complete this form to prove how much you are paid. We will normally ask you to have this form completed if you have recently started work or your pay has changed, or if you do not get payslips.
Proof of self-employed income form (PDF 84KB) - complete this form to declare your income from self-employment. We will normally ask you to complete this form if you have recently started your self-employment or if you cannot provide your accounts.
Rent details form (PDF 165KB) - complete this form if we have asked you for more information about your rent and property information.
Second property form (PDF 64KB) - complete this form if we have asked you for more information about a property you own, which is not the property you currently live in.
Student details form (PDF 76KB) - complete this form if we have asked you for more information about your student status or income from student loans, grants and bursaries.
Local and national advice organisations offering free and independent advice.
Citizens Advice Bureaux (CAB)
Advice on debt, benefits, housing, employment and other issues. Drop-in sessions, telephone and email advice.
Citizens Advice online - Advice Guide
Leighton Linslade CAB
Monday to Friday, 10am to 1pm
Monday, 4pm to 6:30pm
Tuesday to Thursday, 2pm to 4pm
Dunstable and District CAB
01582 661384 or 01582 670003
Monday to Wednesday, 10am to 3:30pm
Thursday and Friday, 10am to 12:30pm
Mid Bedfordshire - Ampthill and Biggleswade CAB
01525 402742 or 01525 841217
Monday to Thursday, 9:30am to 2:30pm (please call to book an appointment)
Money Advice Service
0300 500 5000
Monday to Friday, 8am to 8pm
Saturday, 9am to 1pm
Advice includes benefits and dealing with debt. Online factsheets and budgeting tools.
0808 808 4000
Monday to Friday, 9am to 9pm
Saturday, 9:30am to 1pm
24-hour voicemail to request an information pack
Self-help packs and help with debt management plans and Debt Relief Orders.
0800 280 2816
Monday to Friday, 8am to 9pm
Saturday, 9am to 3pm
Debt management service funded by the credit industry. Help with debt management plans and Individual Voluntary Arrangements (IVA). Negotiates repayment plans direct with creditors.
StepChange Debt Charity
0800 138 1111
Monday to Friday, 8am to 8pm
Saturday, 8am to 4pm
Debt advice charity (formerly Consumer Credit Counselling Service) offering practical advice including StepChange Debt Remedy - an online advice tool.
0808 802 2000
Monday to Friday, 9am to 8pm
Help with accessing benefits, charitable grants and other financial help. Online benefits calculator.
GOV.UK - Benefits
Government website with information and links about money matters, including benefits, tax credits and debt, and links to other organisations websites for help with debts.
Age UK (formerly Age Concern and Help the Aged)
0800 169 6565
Free, impartial advice for older people on anything from debt and benefits, health and housing, to tax and pensions.
Bedfordshire Advice Directory
Directory to find out where in Bedfordshire you can get advice and information on a wide range of issues and services.
Shelter - The housing and homeless charity
Advice about finding, paying for and keeping a place to live. Housing problems often start because of financial difficulties. If you are struggling with unmanageable debt, rent or mortgage arrears, you need to take action as soon as possible.
Shelter - Housing benefit and local housing allowance