The Westminster Government is planning major reforms to the benefit system, including Housing Benefit, over the next few years.
This document covers some of the changes that have been introduced; please take time to read through it to see if you will be affected.
Housing Benefit helps people on a low income pay all or part of their rent.
Anyone who has to pay rent to live in their home can make a claim. This applies if you pay rent to
- the Council
- a Housing Association
- private landlord
It even applies if you are living in a
- a hostel
- a hotel or a guesthouse
But not most residential care or nursing homes, or if you pay rent to a close relative.
Housing Benefit for Private Tenants
Local Housing Allowance replaced Housing Benefit on 7 April 2008 as a way of working out new claims for tenants who are renting from a private landlord.
More on Local Housing Allowance (LHA)
You can claim Housing Benefit if you are:
You can claim even if you are not getting any other benefits or have not made any National Insurance contributions.
To be paid Housing Benefit
You must live in the accommodation you rent and be liable to pay rent for that accommodation. If you are not already getting Benefit, you should apply to us now, as generally we cannot award Benefit for a time before you apply.
You will not be able to claim Housing Benefit if you (or your partner):
- have savings or capital of £16,000 or more (unless you or your partner receive Guaranteed Pension Credit)
- own your home or are buying your own home
- are in a nursing home or residential care home
- have not yet moved into your house
- are a full time student in higher education (unless you are in an exempt category, that is: single parent, disabled, pensioner)
- live with a member of your family and pay rent to them.
To work out your Housing Benefit entitlement we will look at:
- all of the money you and your partner have coming in – for example. earnings, benefits, tax credits, pensions.
- any savings you and your partner may have
- your circumstances - such as your age and the size of your family; the ages of your children; whether you or any of your family are disabled; if there is anyone else who lives with you who could help with the rent.
To find out if you're entitled to Housing Benefit, and how much, use our online Benefits Calculator.
For help, information or a form:
- Phone: 01786 233210 between 8.30am and 5.30pm Monday to Friday (3.30pm Wednesdays).
- For Minicom dial 01786 464599.
- Or email us
Full details about Housing Benefit are available from the Department of Work and Pensions
- A Guide for Landlords and Agents
- A Guide for Students
- A Guide to overpayments and debt
- What to do if you think the decision about your benefit is wrong