You may get Housing Benefit (HB), which is a means tested benefit, if you have a tenancy and are due to pay rent and your capital is below a certain level.

You don't usually get Housing Benefit if:

  • you have capital or savings of over £16,000, unless you are of pension age and getting the 'guarantee credit' of Pension Credit
  • you live in the home of a close relative
  • you are a full-time student (unless you're disabled or have children)
  • you are an asylum seeker or are sponsored to be in the UK

If you live with a partner or civil partner you should make one claim as a couple.

If you are the tenant of a private landlord you may get Local Housing Allowance to help with your rent.

If you are due to pay Council Tax, you may get Council Tax Reduction.

If you don't get the maximum HB award and still have rent to pay, you may be able to get a Discretionary Housing Payment (DHP) to give you short-term help.

Frequently asked questions

  1. What will I be asked?
  2. How do I apply?
  3. What information do I have to provide?
  4. How is my income assessed?
  5. How do you calculate my award?
  6. How will I be paid?
  7. What if I am paid too much?
  8. What if I don't agree with your decision?
  9. How do I report changes?
  10. How do I report someone claiming financial help they are not entitled to?

What will I be asked?

About you/your partner

We will ask for your original documents to confirm you and your partner's identity and National Insurance Number.

If you or your partner have come to live in the UK within the last two years, we will also ask you to provide a copy of your passport/identity card to support your application. We may also have to interview you.

Children/young people who live with you (dependants)

We will ask if you get child benefit for them. If you do, you will get a dependants allowance for them when we assess your application. If you have a child living with you that you do not get Child Benefit for, you will not get this allowance.

Other people who usually live with you (non-dependants)

We will ask you for details of their income. A deduction is made from your award depending on their age and circumstances. If you do not provide this information, we will have to make the highest deduction.

In certain circumstances, we will not make a deduction for a non-dependant living with you. More information can be found in our Non-Dependants & Second Adult Rebate leaflet:

Details of work

We will ask you to provide details of all work that you get paid for, as well as any charitable or voluntary work where you get a minimal payment. Earning disregards will apply depending on your status. More information can be found in our Working Age calculation leaflet:

Details of self-employment

If you or your partner are self-employed, we will ask you to complete a self employment questionnaire and provide your audited accounts, for the latest complete trading year, or daily/weekly books and receipts if you have been trading for less than one year. Earnings disregards will apply depending on your status.

Social Security benefits, employers pensions etc

We will ask you to provide an up to date award letter. We can disregard some of these Social Security benefits when calculating your income, eg Disability Living Allowance/Personal Independence Payment, Child Benefit, Attendance Allowance but you must tell us about them as it may increase your award.

How do I apply?

You can complete a benefit application form online.

You can also phone us on 01324 506999 to request a form or call into your local One Stop Shop/Advice and Support Hub to collect an application.

Our Revenues & Benefit staff cannot complete the form for you, but they will provide you with assistance.

What information do I have to provide?

Proof of identification/National Insurance number

We need to see an original form of identification PLUS other items containing you and your partner's National Insurance numbers.

The documents we prefer are:

  • valid passport
  • life assurance/insurance policies
  • Social Security Benefit book/award letter
  • photo ID card with signature
  • divorce/annulment papers
  • National Insurance card
  • driving license
  • EEC identity card
  • wage slips/salary statement
  • birth or marriage certificate
  • UK residence permit
  • pension statements
  • bank card
  • medical card
  • tax certificate or letters

Evidence of earned income

We will need:

  • 5 consecutive weekly pay slips or
  • 3 consecutive fortnightly pay slips or
  • 2 consecutive monthly/four weekly pay slips.

If you can't give us pay slips, you can ask your employer to fill in the earnings certificate provided with your application form.

If you don't have the full number of payslips requested, hand in what you have and you can then provide the rest later.

Evidence of income (other than earnings)

We will need:

  • Jobcentre Plus Award letter
  • Pension Statement
  • Letter from Child Support Agency, Legal Agreement
  • Student grant letter and letter from Student Loans Company

Evidence of capital

You need to provide details of every account including current accounts. We will need:

  • bank and building society statements showing the last 2 months transactions and the current balance
  • pass books
  • Post Office books
  • premium bonds
  • National Savings certificates
  • stocks and shares certificates
  • land and property - proof of ownership and mortgage statements. If the property is up for sale, provide a copy of the estate agent's schedule.
  • any official documents that show interest or dividends you get

How is my income assessed?

Earned income

If you or your partner are working, we normally look at your last five weekly, three fortnightly or two monthly/four-weekly consecutive pay slips to calculate an "average" weekly earnings figure. We can also use the year to date figure on your pay slip.

We ignore your tax, National Insurance and half of any superannuation or contributions to a private pension. This will be shown as "net earned income" on your award letter.

Disregarded income

Some types of income attract what we call a disregard. This reduces the amount of income we take into account when calculating your award.

How do you calculate my award?

The regulations are different depending on your age. There are 2 calculation booklets, one for working age claimants (PDF, 132KB) and one for pension age claimants (PDF, 124KB) and they include information on:

  • Maximum weekly eligible rent
  • Local Housing Allowance (for private sector tenants)
  • Non-dependant deductions
  • Total allowances (applicable amount)
  • Income - earned and unearned including disregarded income
  • Capital - savings, investments, property
  • The final calculation
  • Discretionary Housing Payments to help you pay a shortfall in your rent
  • How to appeal our decision
  • How to tell us about a change in circumstances
  • How to report fraud

If you would like any more information, please contact us on 01506 778778 if you live in the Bo'ness area and on 01324 506999 if you live elsewhere in the Falkirk Council area. You can also email us at

How will I be paid?

We aim to calculate entitlement within 14 days of receipt of a completed application and all the requested information.

We will send you an award letter showing your award and the amount of rent you still have to pay. If you have rent arrears you must stick to your arrangement until you contact the office for further advice.

If you are a council tenant, we will pay any Housing Benefit straight into your rent account on a weekly basis.

If you are a tenant of a Housing Association/Registered Social Landlord/private sector landlord and are not treated under the Local Housing Allowance scheme, you can choose to have your Housing Benefit paid:

  • directly to your landlord
  • to you by cheque
  • by Direct Payment into your bank or building society account

If you want to receive your own payments, they are paid fortnightly in arrears and if you want us to pay your landlord direct they are paid four weekly in arrears.

If you are treated under the Local Housing Allowance scheme we will pay you direct unless you are 8 weeks or more in arrears or are unable to handle your finances or are unlikely to pay your rent.

What if I am paid too much?

If you get too much Housing Benefit, we will write to tell you why, the amount, the period the overpayment covers and how it was calculated. You will also be told how we will claim back the overpayment. 

What if I don't agree with your decision?

If you don't understand our Housing Benefit/Council Tax Reduction decision or you want us to provide a statement showing how the award was calculated, or you want us to explain our decision or look at it again, you can submit an Housing Benefit/Council Tax Reduction Short Appeal form or write to us detailing what you think is wrong or what you want us to explain further.

There are 2 separate ways of formally appealing against a decision, one for Housing Benefit and another for Council Tax Reduction.

A more detailed explanation of Housing Benefit appeals can be found in the All you wanted to know about Housing Benefit Appeals & Appeal Form leaflet:

A more detailed explanation of Council Tax Reduction appeals and reviews can be found in the All you wanted to know about Council Tax Appeals & Appeal Form:

How do I report changes?

The amount of Housing Benefit you get is based on the information you provide when you make your application.

If your circumstances change, your award(s) may change. If you don't tell us of any changes immediately then you may get too much help.

You must tell us about any changes by completing a Change in Circumstances form:

You can also get one from your local One Stop Shop/Advice and Support Hub.

How do I report someone claiming financial help they are not entitled to?

If you know someone is getting financial help they are not entitled to, for example housing benefit, council tax reduction etc, use our Fraud page to report it.