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Services in Christchurch

Housing Benefit payments

Coronavirus (COVID-19): change to service

On advice from the government regarding the coronavirus (COVID-19), we are able to offer some extra assistance to those who most need it.

See further information about changes to services.

Once we have all the information we need to process your application we will write to you to tell you if you will get benefit or not. You can view a breakdown of your benefit award online.

It is important you check the letters we send and your online account carefully, if you think we have made a mistake you need to let us know immediately.

If there is anything you don’t understand you can ask us to explain in more detail but you must do this within one month of the date of the letter we send to you.

How will it be paid?

Housing Benefit is paid by your council as follows:

  • Housing Associations – you or your landlord
  • private tenants - into your bank or building society account (rarely by cheque) in certain cases we can also pay your landlord. The Local Housing Allowance scheme has a range of safeguards to protect the interests of tenants and landlords. For example, we can make direct payments to a landlord where the tenant is 8 weeks or more in arrears with their rent, and vulnerable tenants can have their Housing Benefit paid directly to their landlord. Please refer to the Dorset Authorities Safeguards for tenants and landlords document 

When will my Housing Benefit start?

If you qualify for Housing Benefit, we will normally pay your benefit from the Monday following the day your completed claim form is received.


If you, or your partner, are of state pension credit qualifying age and qualify for Housing Benefit, we can backdate your benefit up to 3 months before the date your claim is received (as long as you were entitled to benefit for that period). We do not need to know why you did not claim sooner to backdate your benefit. For us to work out how much benefit you will be entitled to, you need to give us proof of your income, savings and rent for the period you want to claim.

If you have a good reason for not claiming Housing Benefit earlier, you can ask us to consider backdating your claim.

If you think you have a good reason for making a claim late, you should tell us in writing straight away. You must tell us the period you want to backdate your Housing Benefit for and tell us why your claim is late.

The maximum period that can be considered for backdating is up to 1 month from the date of the request, and

  • each backdating claim is considered on individual circumstances
  • we'll consider other things which may have affected your ability to claim such as your age, health and other circumstances

Not knowing you could claim Housing Benefit is not normally considered to be "good cause".

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