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Housing Benefit Entitlement

You may have entitlement to Housing Benefits or to Local Housing Allowance (LHA) if you get a low income. The money can pay all or part of your rent - whether you are working or unemployed.
Note: Universal Credit is replacing Housing Benefit. If you are entitled to help with housing costs it will fall under the Housing Element of Universal Credit (details below).


The amount you might get depends on your income as well as your household circumstances. You can still apply for Housing Benefit no matter whether you are out of a job or in paid work.

In some cases, even if your welfare benefit stops, you may still be able to get financial help to pay your rent.

Using a benefits calculator will help you check whether you can get help paying your rent. It will also calculate what other entitlements you might have.

Note: If you cannot get help with your rent you might qualify for Universal Credit instead. You cannot use your Housing Benefit entitlement to pay for energy, food, heating, or hot water.

Get Help to Pay Your Rent

Two separate sections combine together to make a complete housing benefit advice guide. The list of categories include:

  1. How to make a new claim, the eligibility criteria, and the current rates.
  2. Where to get further help and advice on financial assistance for rental payments.

Note: Clicking on any of the page links will take you through to the relevant section to get further details.

1. Claiming Housing Benefit

Eligibility Conditions

The section explains how to meet the Housing Benefit eligibility criteria and the conditions. Be aware that some claimants will need to apply for Universal Credit instead.

Current Rates

There are no set Housing Benefit rates – you might get all the rent paid or only part of it. Whether you rent from a council or ‘privately’ determines the actual amount you get.

Supporting Your Claim

You are going to need to provide some basic information. Check what details and evidence you will need to provide for the council to support a claim for Housing Benefit.

How to Claim

There are several different ways to claim Housing Benefit payments from the local council authority. The method to use depends on whether you are making a new claim for other benefits at the same.

YOUR RIGHTS TO BENEFITS: The full list of benefits and allowances covers all the categories of social welfare. Check your rights to get financial benefits and concessions in the United Kingdom.

2. Extra Help and Information

Benefits Calculators

You can independently use the benefits calculator to calculate your entitlement rights. Benefit calculators are anonymous, free to use online, and have now replaced the Benefits Adviser service.

Council Tax Reduction (CTR)

You may be able to apply for Council Tax Reduction if you are on a low income or claiming benefits. Check to see how the new procedure of applying for Council Tax Support works.

Extra Money to Pay the Rent

The Housing Benefit you get might not always cover the amount of rent you need to pay. In this case, you can apply for Housing Benefits through your local authority to help cover the rent. The council refer to this as a ‘discretionary housing payment‘.

Help with Home Heating Costs

You may also qualify for extra help paying energy bills or making your home more energy efficient. Check for government grants and other ways to improve energy efficiency on the energy grants calculator. It will help you find out what energy saving improvements might benefit your situation.

Extended Payment of Housing Benefit

Some of your rights to benefits can stop if your circumstances change. Typical reasons can be going back to work, working extra hours, or earning more money. In this case, you might get an extra four weeks of Housing Benefit to help you pay the rent.

Local councils call this an ‘Extended Payment of Housing Benefit’. They will contact you if you qualify. You must have received the qualifying benefits ‘continuously’ for at least 26 weeks right up to the time when you went back to work. You might then get ‘in-work Housing Benefit’ once the extended payment ends.

Note: There is no need to claim it. The council will decide whether you qualify for the extra help and write to let you know if you do.

Universal Credit

Being eligible for Universal Credit means you can get help to pay the costs of your accommodation. Check to see how the different elements of housing costs and Universal Credit work together.

Housing Benefit Entitlement Help Guide for United Kingdom