Benefits frequently asked questions

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Benefits: your frequently asked questions

  • I have applied for benefits. When will I hear about my claim?

    Once you have applied for Housing Benefit or Council Tax Support and given us all of the information we asked for, we will assess your claim as quickly as possible.

    We will contact you to let you know the outcome of your claim or to request more information.

    If we ask you for more information, please send it to us as quickly as possible. If you do not, your claim will not be paid.

    If you are being threatened with eviction, please contact us immediately on 01442 228000.

  • Your benefits decision letter

    When we have processed your benefits claim, we will send you a benefits notification letter (sometimes called a benefits decision letter). The letter will set out:

    • how much Housing Benefit you will receive
    • how much Council Tax Support you will receive (if you applied for it)
    • the information we used to assess your benefit entitlement. You must check the information we used carefully, and tell us if you think your claim was assessed incorrectly. 

    To request a copy of your benefits decision letter, please email

  • How will my benefits be paid?

    Council Tax Support

    Although the amount of Council Tax Support you will receive will be shown as a weekly amount, it will be paid directly onto your Council Tax bill as a single lump sum.

    Please check your latest Council Tax bill for details of the total amount of Council Tax Support you are entitled to and how much, if any, Council Tax you have to pay.

    Housing Benefit

    Your decision letter will show how much help you will receive towards your rent and how it will be paid.

    If you are a council tenant, we will pay your Housing Benefit directly to your rent account.

    If you rent from a private landlord, your Housing Benefit will be paid directly to you. For more information, please go to our Local Housing Allowance page

  • How do we pay your Housing Benefit?

    We normally pay by BACS bank transfer.  It is a quick and secure way to receive your benefit.

    Your payment will arrive into your bank and it will be cleared immediately. To pay directly into your bank, we will need:

    • your bank’s sort code
    • your account number
    • the name of your bank or building society
    • the name of the account holder.

    Please check with your bank or building society if you are not sure.

    To request a BACS transfer, please download our  BACS transfer form (PDF 21KB).

    Return your completed form to us at Benefits, The Forum, Marlowes, Hemel Hempstead, Herts, HP1 1DN.

  • When will I get my next benefits payment?

    If you are a council tenant, payments will be made directly to your rent account every Monday.

    If you rent from a private landlord or housing association, your payments will normally be made every four weeks.

    * Over bank holiday periods, payments may take one day longer to clear.

    Table of benefits payment dates
    Payment dateReceived in your bank account 
    27 December 202329 December 2023
    22 January 202424 January 2024
    19 February 202421 February 2024
    18 March 202420 March 2024
    15 April 202417 April 2024
    13 May 202415 May 2024
    10 June 202412 June 2024
    8 July 202410 July 2024
  • I haven’t received one of my payments

    We make Housing Benefits payments on a Monday and they usually take two to three working days to reach your bank account. Please do not report the payment as missing until three days have passed.

    If, after three days, you have not received a payment, please contact us at

    To investigate the issue, we will need the following information:

    • your six-digit claim number
    • your full name
    • your full address, including the postcode
    • the date your payment was due
    • your bank’s six-digit sort code
    • your bank’s name and branch

    We will investigate the issue and contact you in the next three working days. 

  • Overpayments

    A benefit overpayment is when you have received more benefit than you are entitled to. It could have happened because you did not tell us about a change in your circumstances, or because we could not recalculate your benefit before your circumstances changed.

    If you do not agree that your benefit was overpaid, you will need to write to us telling us why you disagree.

    If you are still entitled to receive benefit, we will make weekly deductions from the amount we pay you until all of the overpayment is repaid.

    If you are no longer entitled to receive benefit, we will send you an invoice that you will need to pay. If you have received an invoice, please contact our Customer Accounts team to arrange payment back to us. Call 01442 228000 and ask for customer accounts or email

    If you have received an invoice and you do not pay it or contact us, we will recover the money from other benefits you receive, directly from your salary or by taking you to court.

  • Where can I get financial and budgeting advice?
    Organisations offering money advice
    OrganisationDescriptionContact details
    Citizens Advice Provides advice on managing your money, debt advice and information on other benefits you may be entitled to. 03444 111 444
    Hertfordshire Money Advice Unit Advice on money and benefits. 0300 123 4040
    Step Change Debt Charity Advice on how to deal with debt problems. 0800 138 1111
    National Debtline Advice on how to deal with debt problems. 0808 808 4000

    Many of the utility companies offer additional help to people on benefits

    Financial advice provided by utility companies
    Organisation Description Contact details 
    British GasHelp for people finding it difficult to pay their gas or electricity bills.
    01733 421060
    Anglian Water
    Advice for people finding it difficult to pay their water bill. Anglian Water Assistance Fund.
    0800 169 3630
    Thames Water
    Advice for people finding it difficult to pay their water bill. Thames Water Trust Fund.
    0300 123 6001
    Affinity Water
    Advice for those struggling to pay their water bill. 
    0345 357 2401

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Page Last Updated: Tuesday, 21 January 2020 at 09:36 AM