Housing Benefit is now only available to the following groups (with some exceptions)
- Customer over Pension Credit age
- Customer living in supported accommodation
- Customer with a severe disability premium included in their Income Support, Employment and Support Allowance (income related), Jobseekers Allowance (income based) or Housing Benefit
If this doesn’t apply, you can apply for universal credit for help with housing costs
If the above applies you could get Housing Benefit to help you pay your rent if you’re on a low income. Housing benefit can pay for part or all of your rent. How much you get depends on your income and circumstances. You can apply for housing benefit whether you’re unemployed or working.
- 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
How is Housing Benefit worked out?
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 using the contact details at the bottom of the page for more information.
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%.
To work out housing benefit we use the Local Housing allowance. These figures are set by the Valuation office and you can find the amount that will apply to you on the Local Housing Allowance pages on gov.uk website.
How do I apply for Housing Benefit?
What evidence will I need?
When you use our online claim form we will provide you with a list of evidence we need when you have completed the claim. If you do not have a printer please have a pen and paper ready to note down the documents we need.
You can send us the evidence attached to an email or you can send them to us. If you post the evidence we will need to see original documents but we will send these back to you the day we receive them.
If you pay for childcare and don’t have invoices you will need to ask your childcare provider to complete and return a Childcare payment form
When will my claim start?
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.
When will I be paid?
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.
Benefit is normally paid 4 weekly in arrears, view a list of housing benefit payment dates. If you are a council tenant, your benefit will be paid to your rent account each week.
What if I think the benefit is wrong?
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 Tribunal Service .
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.
Is there any other help I can claim for?
If, after you have been awarded benefit, you are finding it difficult to meet your rent you can apply for a Discretionary housing payment. 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. View further information about Discretionary housing payments.
What should I do if something changes?
When we work out how much help you get we take into account the people who live with you, your income and capital and any rent you pay. You must therefore tell us if any of these details change. Examples of changes are:
- You start or stop working
- your working hours change
- your child leaves education
- your state benefits change
- your private/occupational pension changes
- some moves in with you
- someone move out
- your rent changes
- you move
These are not the only changes just examples. If you are unsure if you should tell us about a change then tell us anyway.