Frequently Asked Questions
You can email us at email@example.com and put your claim number in the subject line. You can post information to us or leave any documents sealed in an envelope with your name and address in the postbox to the right of the main entrance.
What is the best way to get information to/from the Benefit department?
You can send information by:
- Email to firstname.lastname@example.org and put Claim Ref and your claim number in the subject line
- Put documents in a sealed envelope (ensure you put your claim number or name and address on a note inside) and put it in the postbox to the right of the entrance.
- By post to Ebley Mill, Ebley Wharf, Stroud, GL5 4UB
- You can phone us on 01453 766321. Phones are answered 8:45am to 5:00pm Monday to Thursday, and 8:45am to 4:30pm Friday. You have the option to leave a message outside of those hours.
- Bring documents into Reception where they will be copied and a receipt issued to you.
Where possible we will send notifications to you by email. Make sure to check your junk mail in case anything goes in there!
How long will it take to deal with my benefit / DHP claim?
We are dealing with a big increase in the number of enquiries and claims for benefit due to the present circumstances. We normally aim to deal with claims within 28 days but are anticipating that this will slip due to volume. All items of work are dealt with in date order to make it as fair as we can.
Please note that if you are on UC and claiming Council Tax Support we have to wait to get your UC award, as your benefit is based on your UC income.
When will I get paid?
We pay by BACS and this takes 3 working days to clear from the date we send the money.
- If you pay your rent monthly, we will pay you (or your landlord if rent is paid to your landlord) on the last working day of every month
- If you pay your rent weekly, we will pay you fortnightly
- If you pay your rent weekly and we pay your landlord, we will pay them every four weeks
What changes do I have to tell you about if I am on Universal Credit or Pension Credit? You will need to tell us about:
- household changes, e.g. if someone moves in or out and what income that person has
- if you no longer receive child benefit for a child, we need to know what they are doing and what their income is
How much rent do I have to pay?
You will need to contact your landlord for this. We can only tell you how much benefit we pay you, and this will not take into account any rent arrears or shortfall in your rent that HB does not cover.
How much Council Tax do I have to pay?
Check your last bill for your instalments, email the Council Tax department at email@example.com (include your name and address and Council Tax account number if you know it) or ring 01453 766321.
Can a bank take my benefit to pay my overdraft?
No, banks are not allowed to use housing benefit or any other benefit to repay an overdraft.
You can protect your housing benefit payments by telling your bank it should only be used to pay your rent. This protection is called a 'first right of appropriation of funds order'.
You can use the first right of appropriation on any money being paid into your account. For example, you may want to make sure that your job seekers allowance (JSA) is used to pay your electricity bill and water rates. You will need to tell your bank how to use these payments.
How do I request a first right of appropriation of funds order?
You need to write to your bank at least seven days before your housing benefit is due, making it clear that any regular payments or future deposits from Stroud District Council are to pay for your rent only.
For example, you may want to instruct your bank or building society:
"On or around August 20th, and every 2 weeks after, my housing benefit will be paid into my current account number 0101010101. I am exercising my first right of appropriation over these funds and wish you to pay the following items from it: £75 standing order payable to my landlord, Mr Smith on the 25th of the month."
Keep a copy of the letter in case there is any dispute later. You may want to ask your bank/building society for a written acknowledgement of your instructions.
If there are any items you no longer want to pay from your account, or which you cannot afford, you should give your bank separate cancellation instructions. This is because the first right of appropriation does not stop the bank paying items as well as those you have listed. If you do not cancel these items, your bank may return the items as unpaid, which they may charge you for. However, payments from your account to re-pay a loan with the same bank cannot be cancelled.