If you claim Universal Credit, your rent costs will usually be included in that claim - you can't get Housing Benefit as well.
Otherwise you can claim Housing Benefit if you:
- Pay your rent to the council
- Pay your rent to a registered social landlord - such as East Midlands Housing Association
- Live in a hostel, caravan, mobile home or houseboat
- Pay a rent that has been registered as a 'fair rent'
- Have a tenancy that began before 1989
- Pay rent for board and lodgings
- Live in supported, exempt accommodation.
If you rent from a private landlord and:
- Make a new claim, or
- Have a break in an old existing claim, or
- Move to privately rented accommodation.
Then your claim for Housing Benefit will be worked out under Local Housing Allowance rules.
You can't get Housing Benefit if you:
- Aren't legally responsible to pay rent
- Get Universal Credit (although there are some exceptions, such as for people in supported accommodation)
- Live with a close relative and pay them rent
- Live in a care or nursing home
- Rent your former joint home from your ex-partner
- Are the parent or guardian of your landlord's child
- Live in your home as part of your job
- Have savings of more than £16,000 (unless you also get Guarantee Pension Credit)
- Are a full-time student (although some students, such as those with disabilities or with children can claim).
How do I claim?
If you're making a claim for Income Support, Employment and Support Allowance or Jobseekers Allowance, you can claim through the Jobcentre.
If you're making a claim for Pension Credit, you can claim through the Pension Service.
If you're not claiming Pension Credit, Employment and Support Allowance, Income Support or Jobseekers Allowance, you can apply online or contact us to request a form.
How is benefit paid?
- If you're a council tenant, we'll pay your benefit to your rent account
- If you rent from a social landlord, we'll send you (or your landlord if you prefer) a bank credit payment every four weeks. If you're in arrears by eight weeks or more, your Housing Benefit has to go directly to your landlord.
There are different rules for paying Housing Benefit based on Local Housing Allowance.
How much Housing Benefit can I get?
If you (and your partner if you're a couple) are on a low income, you can get up to the full amount of your rent, but it could be reduced:
- If you're under pension age, live in a council or housing association home and have one or more 'spare' bedrooms. This is called under occupancy
- If your rent includes a service charge - such as money for heating or meals
- If your rent is above the typical rent for the area - a Rent Officer decides this. Details can be found on the Valuation Office website
- If you have other adults in your household, for example grown-up children, other relatives or friends
- If your income is more than the rules say you need to live on
- If you get Housing Benefit based on Local Housing Allowance.
What income is included?
Most types of income are counted (along with your partner's income if you're a couple) - such as earnings, tax credits, state benefits and occupational pensions.
But some income isn't counted - including Child Benefit, child support payments, Attendance Allowance, Disability Living Allowance, Personal Independence Payment, Bereavement Support Payment and War Pension.
Make sure you tell us about all your income, even if it won't be counted.
If you have to pay for childcare while you're working, we can ignore up to £300 of your weekly earnings.
How do savings affect my benefit?
If you (and your partner if you're a couple) have savings of more than £16,000, then you can't get Housing Benefit unless you also get Guarantee Pension Credit.
For people under pension age, savings of less than £6,000 are ignored - but we take a weekly income of £1 for every £250 (or part of £250) that you have between £6,000 and the savings limit of £16,000.
For people over pension age, savings of less than £10,000 are ignored - but we take a weekly income of £1 for every £500 (or part of £500) that you have between £10,000 and the savings limit of £16,000.
How are my needs assessed?
We work out how much you need to live on using figures set by the government each year.
This is made up of a personal allowance for you (and your partner if you're a couple) and any extra allowances, premiums or components which apply - such as for carers and disabled people.
How is my benefit worked out?
We work out your rent as a weekly amount and make any deductions needed for under occupancy, service charges or a restriction by the Rent Officer. This is called your 'eligible rent'. There are different rules for Housing Benefit based on Local Housing Allowance.
We make a deduction from your eligible rent for any adults living in the property who aren't financially dependent on you. This is called a non-dependant deduction. But we don't make this deduction if you're registered blind, getting Attendance Allowance, Armed Forces Independence Payment, Personal Independence Payment (Daily Living) or the care component of Disability Living Allowance.
If you're on Income Support, income-related Employment and Support Allowance, Guaranteed Pension Credit or income-based Jobseekers Allowance, you'll get the full amount of your 'eligible rent', less any non-dependant deductions.
If you aren't on Income Support, income-related Employment and Support Allowance, Guaranteed Pension Credit or income-based Jobseekers Allowance and your income is more than your needs allowance, we make a further deduction of 65% of the excess.
If you're getting Pension Savings Credit, we use the income figures supplied to us by the Pension Service to work out your award.
When will my benefit start?
Under pension age
Your benefit will normally start from the Monday following the date you first contact us - as long as you return your claim form within one month of that date.
If you claim through the Jobcentre, your claim will normally start from the Monday following the date that you tell the Jobcentre that you want to claim help with your rent - as long as you return your claim form within one month of that date.
Benefit can be backdated if you can give special reasons why you couldn't claim earlier.
Over pension age
We'll automatically look at your benefit for a three month earlier period.
When does my benefit end?
Your benefit will normally carry on until there is a change in circumstances that stops you from getting benefit.
But as your benefit may also go up or down if your circumstances change, you must report any change in writing straight away.
What if I don't agree with your decision?
You can ask us to look at the decision again or appeal to an independent tribunal.
If you want to appeal, you must write to us within one month of the decision letter.
Is any extra help available if I still can't afford my rent?
You may be able to get extra, short-term help through a Discretionary Housing Payment.
Need more information?
If you have other questions about Housing Benefit, please contact us.
Last updated: Fri 17 December, 2021 @ 15:32