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What is housing benefit?

You may be able to get housing benefit to help pay your rent if you or your partner are on a low income. Housing Benefit can pay for part or all of your rent and the amount you get depends on your income and circumstances. You can apply for Housing Benefit whether you’re unemployed or working. Housing Benefit cannot be paid for heating, hot water, lighting or food.

How to claim

To make a claim please fill in the Benefit Application Form.

How much will you get?

There’s no set amount of Housing Benefit. The amount you get depends on:

  • If you rent privately or from a Council.
  • Your household income and circumstances ( including your partner’s).

Income includes money from savings (over £6,000) benefits and pensions. If you (and your partner) have savings or assets of more than £16,000, you cannot get housing benefit.

From April 2013, if you live in Council accommodation or other social housing and are assessed as having at least 1 extra bedroom in your house, your Housing Benefit could be reduced by:

  • 14% if you have 1 extra bedroom.
  • 25% if you have 2 or more extra bedrooms.

If you believe you are likely to be affected by this change please contact us and you must also talk to your landlord who will provide more information about the change so you understand how the changes affects you.

Family with baby having quarrel over money

Will housing benefit cover all my rent?

Housing benefit might not cover all your rent. If Housing Benefit does not cover all of your rent you must pay the difference or negotiate a cheaper rent with your landlord. The reasons that you might not get all of you rent paid include:

  • Your level of income may give you less benefit.
  • Charges included in your rent for some services are not eligible for benefit. In this case benefit is calculated on a lower rent. The amounts deducted are set by the government and are shown in detail on your notification letter.
  • Your personal circumstances, the level of rent and the size of the property may give you less benefit.

If you are living in private rented accommodation or are looking at renting privately, please visit Local Housing Allowance.

For information on allowances the government can provide, visit Department of Work and Pensions.

Private rent

How much you get is usually based on the Local Housing Allowance Limit in your area unless the claim has been continuous before April 2008. These rents are referred to the Rent Service who decides if the rent is applicable for the property. The rent provided by the Rent Service less any deductions of ineligible services provided by the landlord or included in the rent is used to calculate your award.

If you are under 35 and single your benefit will be restricted to the Shared Accommodation Rate of the Local Housing Allowance.

Exception

If you’ve been getting Housing Benefit since before 7 April 2008, these limits only apply if you:

  • Change address.
  • Have a break in your claim for Housing Benefit.

Council and social housing rent

How much you get depends on:

  • Your eligible rent - eg what’s a reasonable rent for a suitable property where you live.
  • Your household income.
  • Your circumstances - eg your age, your family and their ages, if anyone in the family is disabled.
  • If you have to pay service charges - eg lift maintenance, communal laundry facilities.

How you’re paid

Housing Benefit is paid by us to:

  • Council tenants - into your rent account (you won’t receive the money).
  • Private tenants - into your bank or building society account.

For information on allowances the government can provide visit Department of Work and Pensions