Benefits - Housing and Council Tax

Council Tax Reduction

If you are liable to pay Council Tax and are on a low income, you may get Council Tax Reduction to help pay your Council Tax. You can apply for this using the above application form.

Council Tax Reduction Review

If you are dissatisfied with your council tax reduction decision, you are able to write to the Council to request a review. A review can be requested provided this is done within two months of the council tax reduction decision. The document below provides information on the Council Tax Reduction Review process.

Second Adult Rebate

If you are liable to pay Council Tax and have another adult living in your home on low income (but not a partner or paying lodger), you may get help even if you don't qualify for main Council Tax Reduction.  This may be up to 25% reduction in your Council Tax.

Housing Benefit

If you are liable to pay rent and are on a low income, you may get Housing Benefit to help pay your rent. You can pick up a Housing Benefit Application form at any of the Council's Service Points, Housing & Property Services Offices or in the Current Documents section of the right hand side of this page.

If you are a housing association tenant please also complete the Housing Benefit Payments form (364kb doc) and return it with your Application for Housing Benefit, Council Tax Reduction and Second Adult Rebate. Please return your completed application form and all the necessary evidence to one of our designated offices. Click here for a list of all our designated offices.

You should only make one application for benefit which will be processed on your joint resources if you are:

    - a married couple living together, or
    - a man and a woman, or civil partners, living together as if you are married.

If you would like to quickly check your potential entitlement to benefit, please click on the following link which will take you to an externally hosted benefit calculator. Please note, the results should be used for indicative purposes only and do not bind The Council or The Department for Work and Pensions in any way. Click here to be redirected

If you would like us to check your potential entitlement to benefits, please click on the following link to download a benefits questionnaire. Please note, our calculations will be estimates only and will be based entirely on the information that you have provided. If you provide inaccurate or incomplete information, this will inevitably lead to incorrect estimates. Click here to download the form or if you have a general query about benefits you can email our Customer Income Maximisation team at income.maximisation@highland.gov.uk.

Do NOT send personal data to the above email address.

Alternatively for further information on various benefits, other entitlements, money advice and energy efficiency please see our booklet entitled 'An Essential Guide to Benefits, Money Advice, Energy Advice and Entitlements'.

For information on backdating benefit please click here or click the link at the top right hand side of this page.

To have your Housing Benefit paid straight into your Bank/Building Society Account all you need to do is complete a Housing Benefits Payment Form, which can be downloaded from the Current Documents section on the right hand side of this page, or by clicking here, and return it to our Operations Team.

Changes in Circumstances

If your circumstances have changed or are about to change, you must tell one of The Highland Council's designated offices immediately to avoid having to pay money back to us.

Changes in your circumstances can affect how much rent and Council Tax you have to pay and the amount of Housing Benefit and Council Tax Reduction you receive.

Examples of changes which you must tell us about are:

  • change of address
  • individuals moving in/out of your home
  • you, or your partner, start work
  • you or your partner's pay or working hours change
  • your child leaves school, education or training
  • your savings go up or down
  • your childcare arrangements change
  • you start or stop claiming another benefit or the amount you get changes
  • you claim benefit because of a health condition or disability and your health or condition changes

To report your changes please contact our Operations Team:

  • e-mail us at Operations.Team@highland.gov.uk
  • telephone freephone 0800 393811
  • visit a designated office at any Highland Council Service Point
  • by post at PO Box 5650, Inverness, IV3 5YX

Do NOT send personal data to the above email address.

Local Housing Allowance (Tenants in the Private Rented Sector)

Local Housing Allowance (LHA) applies to tenants who entered into a deregulated private tenancy from 7 April 2008 or thereafter. A deregulated tenancy is one that commenced after January 1989.

Local Housing Allowance rules do not apply to:

  •  local authority tenants;
  •  tenants of registered social landlords (Housing Associations)
  •  tenants who have a registered or "fair" rent
  •  tenancies which commenced before January 1989
  •  protected cases such as supported housing provided by social landlords, charities or voluntary organisations, which also provide care, support or supervision or tenancies for caravans, houseboats or hostels.

The amount of Local Housing Allowance you will get will still depend on your income and savings. It is only the way that we work out the maximum Housing Benefit you could get that is changing. More details of LHA and the indicative levels are on our website. Please see the links near the top right hand side of this page for more details.

In addition to these schemes The Highland Council has a cash-limited fund to help our customers meet some housing costs. If you need financial help to pay your rent and/or Council Tax and you are in receipt of Housing Benefit and/or Council Tax Reduction you may be eligible for a Discretionary Housing Payment.

Healthy Homes for Highland

Healthy Homes for Highland is an easy way for services and organisations to refer people for help and advice through one referral.

Anyone referred to Healthy Homes can get free advice and assistance with:

  • Making their home warmer and ways to reduce their fuel bills which may lead to the installation of grant funded insulation, heating and other energy efficiency measures.
  • Getting more income from tax credits and benefits and access to other entitlements.
  • Debt counselling to deal with debts
  • Making their home safer through a Home Fire Safety Check (including free smoke alarms and removing trip hazards)

For further information please click here.

Energy Advice

Further information on how to save energy, reduce your fuel bills and make your home warmer and healthier is available here.

Forms

Any of the above forms can be downloaded using the relevant link in the Current Documents section on the right hand side of this page. These forms are also available from Council Service Points. Please return completed forms to Operations Team, PO Box 5650, Inverness, IV3 5YX or one of our designated offices.

Information Leaflets

Discretionary Housing Payment Application Form and Pre Tenancy Determination Form can be downloaded from the above links.

We also provide information leaflets on Housing Benefit and Council Tax Reduction. These are available at Council Service Points or you can download them from the Current Documents section on the right hand side of this page. 

For further information please contact the Operations Team.