If you’re on a low income, whether working or not, Housing Benefit gives financial help to pay your rent. Find out more, including who is eligible and how to claim.
Universal Credit (UL) is replacing Housing Benefit in phases.
Who is eligible
You may get Housing Benefit if you pay rent and your income and capital (savings and investments) are below a certain level. You could qualify if you are out of work, or in work and earning a wage.
Use the online benefits adviser to get an estimate of the benefits, including Housing Benefit, you may get.
Who isn’t eligible
You can’t usually get Housing Benefit if:
- you have savings of over £16,000, unless you are getting the ‘guarantee credit’ of Pension Credit
- you live in the home of a close relative
- you’re a full-time student (unless you’re disabled or have children)
- you’re an asylum seeker or are sponsored to be in the UK
If you live with a partner or civil partner only one of you can get Housing Benefit.
If you’re single and aged under 25 you can only get Housing Benefit for bed-sit accommodation or one room in shared accommodation.
How to check eligibility
If you think you may be eligible for Housing Benefit, the following link will let you enter details of where you live and then take you to your local authority website where you can find out more.
Important changes for people receiving Child Benefit
Child Benefit is no longer counted as income when working out how much Housing Benefit or Council Tax Benefit you can get.
This means that some people currently receiving Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit payments will receive more benefit with which to pay their rent and council tax.
In addition, some low income families may now get Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit as a result of this change. If you think you may now be entitled, contact your local council.
How much do you get?
If you rent a property or room from a private landlord, your Housing Benefit will be calculated with the Local Housing Allowance rules.
If you live in council accommodation or other social housing, the most Housing Benefit you can get is the same as your ‘eligible’ rent.
What is ‘eligible’ rent?
Eligible rent includes:
- rent for the accommodation
- charges for some services, such as lifts, communal laundry facilities or play areas
Even if it’s included in your rent, you won’t get any Housing Benefit for:
- water charges
- charges for heating, hot water, lighting, or cooking
- payments for food or fuel in board and lodgings or hostels
The amount of Housing Benefit you may get also depends on:
Your personal and financial circumstances
Your local council will look at:
- money you and your partner or civil partner have coming in, including earnings, some benefits and tax credits, and occupational pensions
- your savings (and your partner’s or civil partner’s savings)
- your circumstances: such as your age, the size of your family and their ages, whether you or any of your family are disabled, and whether anyone who lives with you could help with the rent
The particulars of your home and the rent you pay
Your council will also look at whether:
- the amount of rent is reasonable for your particular home
- your home is a reasonable size for you and your family
- the amount of rent is reasonable for the area where you live
Your ‘eligible’ rent may be limited to an amount that’s reasonable for a suitably sized property in the area you live.
How it’s paid
If you are a council tenant, your council will pay any Housing Benefit straight into your rent account.
If you’re not a council tenant, your Housing Benefit will be paid:
- to you by cheque
- by Direct Payment into your bank or building society account
Contact your council if you’re worried about how Housing Benefit is paid.
Effect on benefits
Housing Benefit won’t affect any other benefits you get.
How to claim
If you’re looking for work
You can claim Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit (including Second Adult Rebate) with your claim for the following benefits.
- Employment and Support Allowance
- Income Support
- Jobseeker’s Allowance
Call Jobcentre Plus on 0800 055 6688.
There’s a Welsh language line on 0800 012 1888, and a textphone 0800 023 4888 if you find it hard to speak or hear clearly. Lines are open Monday to Friday from 8.00 am to 6.00 pm.
Jobcentre Plus will send details of your claims for Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit to your local council.
If you’re claiming Pension Credit
You can claim Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit (including Second Adult Rebate) with your claim for Pension Credit.
Call the Pensions, Disability and Carers Service on 0800 99 1234 or textphone 0800 169 0133.
Lines are open 8.00 am to 8.00 pm Monday to Friday and 9.00 am to 1.00 pm on Saturdays.
An adviser will help you apply for these benefits and let you know what happens next.
The Pensions, Disability and Carers Service will send details of your claims for Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit to your local council.
If you’re not claiming other benefits
If you’re not claiming Pension Credit, Income Support, Employment and Support Allowance or Jobseeker’s Allowance you can get a form for Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit (including Second Adult Rebate) from your local council.
Download a claim form
You can download a claim form, below, from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) website.
Claiming in advance
If you know you’re moving to a new address, you can claim Housing Benefit up to 13 weeks (17 weeks if you’re aged 60 or over) before you move.
You won’t usually get any money before you move in.
Backdating your claim
You may be eligible to get your claim backdated. Your local authority can advise you on this.
The following links will let you enter details of where you live and then take you to your local authority website where you can find out more.
What to do if your circumstances change
You must tell your local council if:
- any of your children leave school or leave home
- anyone moves into or out of your home
- your income, or the income of anyone living with you, changes
- your capital or savings change
- your rent changes
- you move
- you or your partner or civil partner are going to be away from home for more than a month
This is not a full list. Follow the links below to your local authority website to find out more. You have a responsibility to report changes in circumstances. Failure to do so could result in a fraud prosecution or losing your benefit.
Getting Housing Benefit in work
You can get Housing Benefit when you get a job and earn a wage. You may also get other benefits and support to help you stay in work.
How to appeal
If you’re refused Housing Benefit or aren’t happy with your council’s decision you can ask them to reconsider.
If you’re still unhappy with the outcome, you can appeal to an independent Unified Appeal Tribunal