Claiming housing benefit and council tax support

Housing benefit helps people on low incomes pay their rent.  It’s not available for mortgage repayments.

Council tax support helps people on low incomes pay their council tax. 

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There are different rules for claiming housing benefit and council tax support. You may be able to claim one or both.

You can find out more by using the links in the menu or find out if you can make a claim further down this page.

Read this page to see if you’re eligible. If you are, the fastest way to claim is by ringing our benefits advice line on 0300 1234 121.  We’ll give you an appointment for an advisor to ring you back to complete the claim.

If you have an existing benefit claim number, you can make a new claim using the online benefits system

If you made your claim by phone or online, we’ll send you a summary of the details we’ll use to work out your benefit.  You need to check the information and tell us if anything is missing or wrong and supply your supporting documents.

To make a claim by post, download a claim form. You have to print the form before you fill it in.

If you already get housing benefit, you can check your claim details online. This includes viewing housing benefit payments we’ve made, details about your next payment, any letters telling you about your benefit, and how we’ve worked out your benefit.

View your housing benefit details online


You can normally claim housing benefit if you’re the person, or one of the people, who pays the rent and you’re claiming benefits or have a low income.

If you pay council tax for the home where you live, you may be able to claim council tax support.

You can’t get support to help pay council tax for a home that isn’t your permanent home (for example, a second home).

The help you get will depend on:

  • The rent or council tax you pay
  • The people who live with you
  • The needs of your family
  • Your income
  • Your savings

Use our benefits calculator to see if you’re entitled to housing benefit or council tax support.

If you’re a student, self employed person or a person from abroad there are different rules, which can be complex.  Please ring our benefits advice line on 0300 1234 121 if you’re in one of these groups.

As well as your claim form, we’ll need to see things like proof of your identity, your national insurance number, and proof of your income, savings and rent.  If you live with a partner we’ll also need to see their information. 

Post the documents to the address shown on the form or letter that we send you.  Please provide photocopies, ensuring that they are clear and show the whole document.

Your claim form will tell you what else you need to send us.  If you have problems supplying the information we ask for, ring our benefits advice line on 0300 1234 121.  You can also download and print forms to help you gather some of the information we need. 

We’ll send you a letter telling you how much benefit you’re entitled to.  The letter will explain how we’ve worked out your claim and how we’ll pay your benefit.  If you’re entitled to council tax support, we’ll send you a new bill for the reduced amount.  The bill will also show your new instalments.

If you rent your home from Cornwall Housing, we’ll pay any housing benefit direct to your rent account.

If you rent from a private landlord, we’ll normally pay housing benefit to you.

We can make payments direct to your landlord if we think making payments to you will cause you serious difficulties.  You can find out more in our local housing allowance safeguard policy.

To apply for payments to be made direct to your landlord, a direct payment to landlord form needs to be completed.  You can complete the form yourself or your landlord or someone else can do it for you.

If we decide to make payments direct to your landlord, we will usually review the decision after an agreed time to check direct payments are still appropriate.