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Cambridge City Council

Make a benefit claim

Universal credit

All postcodes within the city council boundary now fall under the full service of universal credit.

If you want to make a new claim for housing benefit you'll need to claim universal credit instead, unless:

  • You and your partner have both reached state pension age
  • You live in a homelessness hostel, a refuge, sheltered housing or accommodation which includes care, support or supervision
  • You live in temporary accommodation provided by the council

Apply for universal credit on GOV.UK

Find out more about claiming universal credit.

Claim online

  • Please ensure before making an application that you are resident in Cambridge city. You can find your local council online if you are unsure.
  • If you make an application to us in error, the start of your claim and any payments to you could be delayed.

To apply for housing benefit or council tax reduction, please make sure you have details of your income, savings, rent that you would pay and any other personal information to hand.

When you have finished completing the form you must click ‘submit’ at the end of the claim process in order for it to reach our system. If you do not your claim will not reach us and you may lose benefit.

Claim housing benefit or council tax reduction

  • The system will be unavailable between 6.30 and 8pm for system maintenance. Please ensure you complete your new claim by this point, or save it and return to it after 8pm.
  • If you do not complete and submit your claim within 14 days of starting, it will automatically be deleted and you will have to restart the process.

If you have applied for Universal Credit and said you want help paying your Council Tax, your details will be sent to us automatically. You do not need to make a separate claim for Council Tax Reduction. Contact us if you do not hear from us by the time you receive your first payment of Universal Credit.

We’ll contact you within three working days of receiving your claim to tell you whether you’re entitled, or to ask for any documentation needed to process your claim. If you do not hear from us by phone, email or letter, please contact us.

If you need technical support to make a claim using our online system, email with your contact details. We will contact you within one working day.

Supporting documents that we need to see

It's important that you apply without delay, even if you don't have all of the documents we may need.

As well as completing the form we'll need to see other documents.  If you live with a partner, we'll also need to see their information.

All documents must be originals, we can't accept photocopies.

These are the documents we might need:

  • National Insurance number You can still make a claim if you or your partner don't have a National Insurance number or can't find your National Insurance card, or a document such as a P60, P45, benefit entitlement letter etc.  We can contact the Department of Work and Pensions to get this information - but it may delay the processing of your application.
  • Proof of ID (two per person) For example, your passport, driving licence or birth certificate.
  • Evidence of income (earned income or other benefits) State benefits: A letter of your entitlement or your payment book. Earned income: The most recent consecutive payslips - five weekly, three if paid fortnightly or two if paid monthly. Self employed: Detailed accounts to show your income and expenditure. Any other income: Official documents confirming date payment started, how much you will receive and frequency you are paid.
  • Proof of rent and tenancy: Tenancy agreement, rent book or a completed tenancy declaration form [PDF, 13.2 KB] [PDF, 13Kb] from your landlord.
  • Proof of capital

Backdating claims

Benefit can't normally be backdated, so it's important that you send your completed form and documents to us as soon as possible.

If you've claimed benefit, but think you should have done this from an earlier date, you'll need to write to us asking us to backdate your claim. You'll need to give a good reason why your claim is late. This is known as 'good cause'  and must be continuous for the period you want benefit backdated.

  • 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.
  • Benefit can only be backdated for up to 1 month.

If we turn down your claim for backdating, or you disagree with the decision, you can query, review or appeal your benefit decision.

Note: Claims made online, over the telephone or at our Customer Service Centre may be made without a signature: read details of the regulations [PDF, 39.1 KB]. [PDF, 39Kb]

Additional help

Let us know immediately if you're under threat of eviction as we can liaise with landlords and prioritise claims.

Discretionary Housing Payments (DHP) are extra payments to help pay rent, council tax or both.

We can give DHPs to people claiming benefit who need extra help with their housing costs, if these are more than the amount of benefit they get.

Children from households with lower incomes may be entitled to free school meals. If your claim for Housing Benefit or Council Tax Support is successful and we think your family may be entitled to free school meals, we'll let Cambridgeshire County Council know and they'll send you a form to apply.

Although all Key Stage 1 children get free school meals, you should still apply, as your child’s school will get extra money (called the 'pupil premium').