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Housing Benefit and Council Tax support

Housing Benefit

If you claim or receive Universal Credit, any eligible housing costs will be paid by the Department for Work and Pensions. 

Housing Benefit can still be claimed if you meet any of the following conditions

If you:

  • live in temporary accommodation provided by the Council
  • are a resident in specified or exempt accommodation (where you receive care, support or supervision)
  • have reached State Pension Credit age
  • are part of a couple where one of you has reached State Pension Credit age
  • have three or more children 
  • have made a claim for Pension Credit
  • have been told by the DWP to claim Housing Benefit because Universal Credit can't cover your housing costs 

If you believe you are eligible, you can make a Housing Benefit claim. If we approve your claim, we will set up an online account.

You should check the Entitledto website to see if you could claim any other benefits.

If you rent from a private landlord or agency, the amount of Housing Benefit we can allow is limited by:

Paying Housing Benefit

We pay Housing Benefit to private tenants 4 weekly in arrears by BACS. We no longer pay by cheque. If you need to tell us about a change to the BACS details we hold, please complete this form

If you are a Council Tenant, Housing Benefit will be credited directly onto your rent account.

Council Tax support

Anyone who is responsible for paying Council Tax can claim for Council Tax Support. The amount of help, if any, depends on income, savings, Council Tax band and the number of people in the household.

Full details of the Council Tax Support scheme are in the pdf icon Council Tax Reduction Scheme Policy [1Mb]pdf icon Summary of changes to Council Tax Reduction Scheme [69kb]

Claiming Council Tax Support - new claims

If you are making a new housing benefit claim or you are already receiving universal credit you can check whether you are eligible for help with your Council Tax. Any Council Tax Support will be deducted from your Council Tax bill.

We can backdate claims from pensioners by up to 13 weeks. We cannot backdate claims from working age applicants. If you think you are entitled, you should put in a claim for Council Tax Support straight away.

Claiming Council Tax Support - people already receiving Housing Benefit

If you are currently claiming Housing Benefit from Reading Borough Council and wish to make a claim for Council Tax Support, please complete this application form.

We will use the income and household information on your current Housing Benefit award to determine your application and notify you of any Council Tax Reduction using your online account.

Changes of Circumstances

We need to know about changes in your circumstances and those of anyone who lives with you.  If you aren't sure if we need to know about the change, please tell us anyway and we can confirm whether this will affect your award.

Some changes may mean you have to claim Universal Credit instead of remaining on Housing Benefit. If you have made a claim for Universal Credit on or after 11 April 2018, and were receiving Housing Benefit on the date you claimed Universal Credit, you will be awarded an extra two weeks of Housing Benefit entitlement. 

Changes we need to know about:

Use our online form to tell us about any changes below.

  • if your income goes up or down, or you move from one type of benefit to another (for example Income Support to a State or Occupational pension)

  • if anyone starts or stops receiving Income Support, Jobseekers' Allowance, Employment Support Allowance, Universal Credit or any other benefit such as Personal Independence Payments

  • if your savings or capital increase or decrease, or any changes relating to a second property that you own

  • if anyone goes into hospital for more than 4 weeks

  • if anyone in your household, leaves the address for 4 weeks or more, whether in the UK or abroad

  • if anyone joins or leaves your household (for example, the birth of a baby or a non-dependant moves in/out)

  • if anyone in your household starts or leaves full-time education

  • if there are any changes to your Child Benefit

  • if you start or stop paying for childcare, or the amount you pay changes

  • if the terms of your tenancy or the rent you pay changes, including when your rent decreases

  • if anyone starts getting a pension or could receive a pension but chooses to defer

For these additional changes use the forms linked below:

You must tell us about changes which would increase your Housing benefit and Council tax Support within one calendar month of the change or you may miss out on benefit or may receive monies which you are not entitled to and would need to repay. 

If you tell us of a change more than 1 month after it happened, the change will usually be taken from the Monday following this date.  Changes which would reduce the amount you are entitled to, are usually taken from the date that the change happens.

Please do not rely on another team such as the Jobcentre, your landlord or another department within Reading Borough Council to advise us of a change.


If you disagree with a decision you can appeal within a month of getting your letter. Details of how to appeal are given on the decision letter.

If you need help making an appeal the Citizens Advice Bureau or Reading Community Welfare Rights Unit (0118 955 1070) both offer advice.

Discretionary Council Tax Support or housing payments

If you don't get full Housing Benefit or Council Tax Support, you could apply for a Discretionary Payment.

We have a limited fund to help people who are in the greatest need. Full details can be found here:

Opening hours

Please note, the Civic offices are closed to visitors on Wednesdays for Housing Benefit and Council Tax Support enquiries. 

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