Housing Benefit and Council Tax Reduction

Coronavirus - Help with paying rent and/or Council Tax

Help paying your Rent and/or Council Tax

The Highland Council website is experiencing significantly more traffic than usual, and we are aware these are anxious times for everyone. We will answer your queries as soon as possible.

Please read the following before deciding whether you still need to contact us.

Help with paying your rent – Universal Credit or Housing Benefit

Universal Credit is a payment to help people with their living costs. Universal Credit replaces Child Tax Credit, Working Tax Credit, Income Support, Job Seekers Allowance – Income Based (JSA),  Employment and Support Allowance – Income Related (ESA) and Housing Benefit. 

You may be eligible for Universal Credit if

  • you’re on a low income or out of work
  • you’re 18 or over (there are some exceptions if you’re 16 or 17)
  • you’re under State Pension age (or your partner is)
  • you and your partner have £16,000 or less in savings between you
  • you live in the UK

If you believe you are eligible for Universal Credit please apply for Universal Credit.

Please note if you make an application for Universal Credit you will be asked if you also require help towards paying your Council Tax in the form of Council Tax Reduction. If you say yes, the DWP will forward your details to the Council and there is no requirement for you to complete a separate Highland Council - Council Tax Reduction application form.  The Council will then process your claim.

If you are not eligible for Universal Credit you may be eligible for Housing Benefit. For eligibility criteria and application please use our Apply Once online application form.

Help with paying your Council Tax

If you are not entitled to Universal Credit, you may still be eligible for help with paying your Council Tax.  For further details and application please use our Apply Once online application form.

Discretionary Housing Payment (DHP)

We have a cash limited fund to help meet housing costs such as rental liability, rent in advance, deposits and other lump sum costs associated with a housing need such as removal costs.  If you are in receipt of either Housing Benefit or Universal Credit – Housing Element, you may you can apply for a Discretionary Housing Payment (DHP).

Council Tax Discounts / Exemptions

All queries relating to Council Tax, excluding Council Tax Reduction.

Where can I get further advice about Welfare Benefits

Contact the Welfare Support Team - call 0800 090 1004 or welfare.support@highland.gov.uk.

You can also contact Citizen's Advice for general information or for details of your local office (external link).

If you are worried about going to the Post Office to collect your payments, can someone collect your money on your behalf?

You should not give your card and PIN to someone else to use. You can nominate someone you trust to become a Permanent Agent on you account. This person will be given their own card and PIN to collect cash on your behalf. To nominate a Permanent Agent, please complete the 'Permanent Agent access form (P6163), available from most Post Office branches.

post office card account

Crisis Grants

A Crisis Grant can be awarded to meet expenses that have arisen as a result of an emergency or disaster, in order to avoid serious damage or serious risk to the health or safety of the applicant or their family. In the case of an emergency, only living expenses should be awarded, and in the case of a disaster, both living expenses and household goods may be awarded.

Applications for Crisis Grants can be made for living expenses or for essential items following a disaster or emergency. Some examples of living expenses, in terms of specific items and services, are: 

  • food 
  • essential heating costs 
  • nappies, toiletries 
  • travel costs 
  • costs for accommodation in a hostel.

How to apply

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