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The current processing time for new applications and changes to benefit claims is an average of 8 weeks.

If you contact us with a general enquiry online we will reply to you within two working days.

You can only make a new claim for Housing Benefit if you meet one of the following criteria: 

  • You are single and of state pension age. Or if you are part of a couple and are both of state pension age.
    You can find your Pension Credit qualifying age using Check your State Pension age  Opens in a new window
  • Qualify for the severe disability premium  Opens in a new window and receiving Income Support, Employment Support Allowance, Jobseekers Allowance or Housing Benefit or one of these benefits has ended in the last month
  • Live in supported accommodation
  • Have been placed in temporary accommodation by the Local Authority

If not you need to claim Universal Credit  Opens in a new window  for help with paying your rent.

We need to see your last years trading accounts for all businesses you have and a completed self-employed earnings form.

If you don’t have accounts then you need to keep an accurate record of your business income and expenses and complete a self-employed earning form.

A new business

You need to complete a self-employed earnings form giving details of what you expect the income and expenses to be for the first three months of trading. 

If you are thinking of going self-employed you can access more advice and information from Directgov: Self-employment Opens in a new window.

  Self-employed Earnings Form

How are self-employed earnings calculated?

We need to work out your gross average weekly income from your business. We do not allow some expenses and we will add back in any personal drawings you take from the business.

Self-employed childminders

If you are a self-employed childminder, we will work out your gross self-employed earnings using one-third of your gross income.

Changes to your business

You must tell us about changes which will have an effect on the income of your business. Things like:

  • A change from full-time to part-time
  • The loss of a major customer
  • Your business is affected by seasonal work

What earnings we use when working out your benefit

We use the gross amount you earn and take off what you pay for tax and National insurance, and 50 percent of any pension you pay.

We can also take off a set amount from your earnings every week:

  • £5 if you are single
  • £10 if you are a couple
  • £20 if you are disabled or a carer
  • £25 if you are a single parent