Housing Benefit is provided to help you if you are on a low income and pay rent.
If you make a new claim, your benefit will be based on the Local Housing Allowance (external link) rate for the area you live in.
These are some quick links to frequently asked questions.
- Can I claim Housing Benefit?
- How is Housing Benefit worked out?
- How do I apply for Housing Benefit?
- I'm over 60. Are there any special rules that apply to me?
- What do I need to provide with my claim form?
- When will my benefit start?
- How will my benefit be paid?
- What can I do if I don't agree with the amount of benefit I have been awarded?
- Is there any other help I can claim for?
- What should I do if there is a change in my circumstances?
- I get Housing Benefit and am starting work. Are there any different rules for me?
- I am moving within Wealden's area. Do I have to reapply for benefit?
- When will my benefit be reviewed?
You can claim Housing Benefit if you:
- Rent your house through a private landlord or housing association
- Rent a council house
- Pay site rent for a mobile home or live in a caravan and pay rent
- Are a lodger or a boarder
Housing Benefit is based on the money you (and your partner) have coming in, your savings, the number and ages of people in your household and how much rent you pay.
Deductions are made from your income for income tax, National Insurance and half of any pension you pay into.
If you pay for childcare (from a registered childcare provider), this can also be disregarded up to a maximum amount, depending on the number of children being cared for. Some state benefits are disregarded in full.
If you have more than £16,000 in savings you will not qualify for benefit unless you are over 60 and you receive Guarantee Pension Credit. The property you live in does not count as savings.
Students do not usually qualify for housing benefit but there are exceptions. Contact the Benefits Service for more information.
From April 1st 2013, if you rent your home from the Council or from another social housing landlord (housing association) we will only base your benefit on the number of bedrooms your household needs. If you have one bedroom more than you need, the rent that we base your benefit on will be reduced by 14%. If you have two or more bedrooms more than you need, the rent we base your benefit on will be reduced by 25%.
You can find out how much Housing Benefit you could qualify for by using .
You will need to complete an application form and provide documentation to support your claim.
Request a Housing benefit claim form or application forms are available from our offices (see contact details below), and any of the following:
- Citizen's Advice Bureau in Hailsham, Uckfield, Crowborough or Tunbridge Wells
- InfoPoint, 1 Market Square, Hailsham
- Anchor Staying Put, 32/33 Vicarage Fields, Hailsham
- Pevensey Bay & District Information & Caring Centre, Sea Road, Pevensey Bay
- Carrillon Cottage, High Street, Wadhurst
- Heathfield Parish Council, 92 High Street, Heathfield
- Forest Row Parish Council, The Forest Row Community Centre, Hartfield Road, Forest Row
- Maresfield Parish Council, Parish Office, Churchfields, Nutley
- East Hoathly with Halland Parish Council, c/o The Post Office, 2 High St.,East Hoathly
- Uckfield Volunteer and Information Centre, Unit 3, 79 High Street, Uckfield
When you fill out your claim form please read the notes pages for each question as they will tell you what documents you need to send us as proof .
You will need to send us proof of your and your partner's income and savings. If you rent from a private landlord or a housing association, you will have to send us proof of your rent.
If you are self-employed and don't have certified accounts, you can download an Income from Self Employment (pdf) which you can complete and send back to us with your claim form.
You will also have to send us one form of identification for yourself and your partner. You and your partner will also have to send us proof of your National Insurance Number(s). Anything you send us should be an original document.
When you make your claim, we will write to you if we need more information.
Housing Benefit will usually start from the Monday after we receive your application or on the date that you first contact us to say you want to claim.
There are circumstances when we may 'backdate' your benefit.
If you would like us to consider a request for benefit to be backdated, you need to show that there was a good reason as to why you did not apply earlier.
This is an example of a "good reason" to backdate benefit: You were seriously ill at the time you should have claimed and you claimed as soon as you were better. There was no-one else to help you claim.
This is an example that is not a "good reason" to backdate benefit: You did not claim because you did not think you would qualify.
We will deal with each case individually and when we let you know our decision, we will tell you what to do if you disagree with it. There is a section in the application form for you to complete if you would like us to consider backdating your benefit.
If you are a private tenant and your Housing Benefit is paid under the Local Housing Allowance scheme, we will pay you by BACS. This means benefit is paid into your bank account. There are some circumstances when we can pay your landlord instead for example if you are unable to manage your own money. If you want us to pay your landlord, you will need to complete another form but we suggest you talk to us about this first. We can pay your landlord directly without your authority if you are 8 weeks or more in arrears with your rent.
If your Housing Benefit started before April 2008, we will pay you or your landlord.
Benefit is paid 2 weekly or 4 weekly in arrears, depending on how often you have to pay your rent. You can find the normal payment dates on the Benefits Payments calendar. If you are a council tenant, your benefit will be paid to your rent account each week.
Firstly, if you think we have worked out your benefit incorrectly or you disagree with the figures we have used, you can ask us to look at your claim again. When we tell you how much benefit you are awarded, we will give you more information about how to do this.
If you still disagree, you can appeal against our decision and this will be heard by an independent tribunal called The Tribunals Service (external link).
You can also ask for your benefit to be backdated if you disagree with the date we have made the award from. There are strict guidelines for councils about this and you will need to show that you have good cause as to why you did not apply earlier.
If, after you have been awarded benefit, you are finding it difficult to meet your rent you can apply for a Discretionary Housing Payment (pdf). You will have to provide details of your income and all of your outgoings together with any information that you think would be relevant, for example details about any health problems you have. If you would like more information about Discretionary Housing Payments please look at our Discretionary Housing Payment policy (doc).
You must contact the Benefits Service and tell us about the change. We may ask for more information or proof of the change in order that your benefit is worked out correctly. Any delay in notifying us could result in an overpayment of benefit which is repayable by you.
You can tell us about a change in circumstances by using our Change in Your Circumstances form.
If you come off Income Support, income-based Job Seeker's Allowance or Guarantee Pension Credit you no longer have to reapply for Housing Benefit . Instead, we will reassess your benefit based on your new earnings.
You will have to write to us and send us proof of these earnings (5 weekly payslips or 2 monthly payslips) together with proof of any Tax Credits that you have claimed. If you don't have any proof of your earnings you can ask your employer to write to tell us how much you will be earning. You can find out more about Tax Credits on the HM Revenue and Custom website (external link).
You will also need to tell us if there have been any other changes in your circumstances.
No. If you are getting benefit at your current address, we only need to see proof of your rent for your new address. This could be a tenancy agreement or a letter from your new landlord to confirm the rent you will be paying and confirms the date that your new tenancy starts. You will also have to let us know if there have been any other changes in your circumstances.
In the past we had to review your claim at least once a year but we don't have to do that now. Instead each year we will choose some claims to review. These will be those claims where there is most likely to have been a change in circumstances.
This means that it is even more important for you to tell us when something has changed as we cannot promise to review your claim each year.