What is housing benefit?

If you are aged 18-65 and need to make a new benefits claim or have a significant change in circumstances, you may need to apply for Universal Credit instead.

Who can claim?

Anyone not in receipt of Universal Credit who has to pay rent for their home can claim. Boarders, lodgers, people in hostels and bed and breakfast accommodation can also claim.

To claim housing benefit, you:

  • must be on low income
  • do not need to have paid National Insurance
  • do not have to receive any other benefits
  • can be employed or self-employed
  • may be single or have a partner
  • can be in work or not working
  • may be a pensioner.

You can't claim if you:

  • have capital (savings, land, property or anything else that could give you income) of more than £16,000.00 unless already receiving Pension Credit (the guaranteed part) 

  • live with a close family member and pay them rent

  • are a student (with some exceptions)

  • want help to pay your mortgage.  

How much can you claim? 

We calculate benefit according to government rules and look at your:

  • circumstances (age, disability, children and other people living in the household)

  • earnings, benefits, tax credits and pensions (yours and your partners)

  • money you have coming in (yours and your partners)
  • savings (yours and your partners). 

We can pay all of your eligible rent, but this may not be your actual rent because some:

  • charges you pay in your actual rent may not be eligible for benefit
  • restrictions may apply.

Find out what benefits you might be entitled to using an independent benefits calculator

Backdated housing benefit

If you could have claimed earlier you may be able to get housing benefit backdated for:

  • one month for working age claimants

  • three months if you (or your partner) are over the qualifying age for Pension Credit.

You will have to show a good reason for not claiming earlier, for example, if you were given the wrong advice or you have been unwell, that might be a reason.

Tell us on our claim form the date you would like your claim to start and your reasons for not having claimed earlier.

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