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Housing Benefit

Housing Benefit Overview

Social Security or Local Housing Allowance helps those on a low income (unemployed or working) pay all or part of their rent and rates.

HOUSING BENEFIT: The amount of benefit you might receive depends on your income and certain circumstances.

You can still apply for Housing Benefit whether you working or unemployed.

If your benefit stops you may also be able to get help with your rent.

Housing Benefit cannot be paid for energy, food, heating, or hot water.

1. How Much You Will Get
2. Your Eligibility
3. How to Make a Claim

1. How Much Benefit You Will Get

When you apply for Housing Benefit you may get help with all of your rent or perhaps only a part of it.

Because there is no specific set amount of Housing Benefit, how much you get will depend on whether you rent privately or from a council.

You can use the online benefits calculator to determine what other assistance you might be entitled to.

Council and Social Housing Rent

How much benefit you get depends on;

Eligible rent

Eligible rent refers to the reasonable amount of rent for a suitable property in your area. It does not include heating charges but some service charges are included such as for a communal laundry or for lift maintenance.

Spare bedrooms

If you live in council or social housing and have a spare bedroom your Housing Benefit could be reduced. The reduction amount is likely to be;

Example reduced housing benefit
Your eligible rent is £100 per week. Housing Benefit pays £50 and you pay £50. You have 1 spare bedroom so the reduction is 14%. This means your Housing Benefit will be reduced by £14 per week.

Sharing Bedrooms

The following circumstances would be expected to share bedrooms;

The following circumstances means they would be expected to have their own bedroom;

One spare bedroom is allowed for;

Rooms used by students

Rooms which are used by members of the armed or reserve forces or students will not be counted as 'spare' because they are away as long as they intend to return home.

Private Rent

If you rent privately then the Local Housing Allowance (LHA) is used to work out Housing Benefit for tenants. The amount you get is usually based on;

Weekly Amounts

You should contact your local council if you are living in a;


If you have been receiving Housing Benefit since before 7 April 2008, these limits apply only if you;

Housing Benefit Payments

Housing Benefit is paid by your council;

The Benefit Cap

The benefit cap limits the amount of benefit that most people can get between the ages of 16 to 64. Your Housing Benefit will go down if you are affected so make sure that the total amount of benefit you get is below the benefit cap level.

Appeal a Housing Benefit Decision

You should contact your local council to appeal a housing benefit decision.

2. Your Eligibility

You may be eligible for Housing Benefit if;

You can apply whether you are employed or unemployed but only one of you can get Housing Benefit if you live with a partner. You can only receive Housing Benefit for bed-sit accommodation or a single room in shared accommodation if you are single and under 35 years.


You are likely to be ineligible for Housing Benefit if;

Important information iconReceiving Housing Benefit and Universal Credit at the same time is not permitted unless you are in certain kinds of supported housing.

Circumstantial Changes

Important information iconYou should inform your council if your circumstances change because this can affect how much benefit you get. The benefit cap puts a limit on the total amount of benefit that most people aged 16 to 64 can get and started to affect some local councils from 15 April 2013.

3. How to Make a Claim

While Claiming other Benefits

Jobcentre Plus will send details of your claim for Housing Benefit to your council. You should contact Jobcentre Plus to make your claim for Housing Benefit if you are already claiming any of these benefits;

Note: New rules came into force from April 2017. Jobseekers who are aged 18 to 21 will no longer get Housing Benefit. The government aims to stop young adults entering a 'life on benefits'.

Related News Story: April 1st Sees 9 New Law Changes to Household Incomes and Benefits.

While Claiming Universal Credit

If you are already claiming Universal Credit you can get help paying for housing with your Universal Credit payment instead of getting Housing Benefit. You will have to pay rent to your landlord directly if you get Universal Credit.

While Claiming Pension Credit

Contact the Pension Service to claim Housing Benefit with your claim for Pension Credit. The Pension Service will send details of your claims for Housing Benefit to your council.

Pension Service

Telephone: 0800 99 1234
Monday to Friday (8am to 8pm)
Saturday (9am to 1pm)

Not Claiming other Benefits

If you are not yet claiming other benefits you should apply through your local council for Housing Benefit.

Further Help and Important Information

There are some circumstances where you might get your claim backdated and you should check with your council. You can claim in advance by up to 13 weeks (or 17 weeks if you are aged 60).

Appeal a decision

You can ask your council for a Housing Benefit decision to be reconsidered and you can appeal the decision if you are not satisfied with the response.

Extra Help to Pay Rent

If your Housing Benefit does not cover your rent you may also get extra help from your council called a 'discretionary housing payment'.

Help with Heating Costs

Check what additional help you may be able to get towards your heating and energy costs.

If Your Benefits Stop

Some benefits stop if your circumstances change such as if you go back to work, work more hours, or earn more money. In this case you could get an extra 4 weeks of Housing Benefit to help you pay your rent.

This is called Extended Payment of Housing Benefit. Your council will contact you if you are eligible for this benefit. However, you must have received certain benefits continuously for at least 26 weeks right up to the time when you went back work. You might receive 'in-work Housing Benefit' once your extended payment ends.

How to Claim

There is no need for you to claim because your council will decide whether you are eligible for help and they will write to let you know.

Housing Benefit Guide