Housing Benefit

Last updated: 7 Dec 2021

The information in this article will usually only be relevant if you already have an existing claim for Housing Benefit. If you are making a new claim, you may have to claim Universal Credit instead of Housing Benefit (unless very limited circumstances apply). Universal Credit can include an amount for rent or for mortgage interest. You can still make a new claim for Housing Benefit if you (and any partner you live with) are over pension age, or if you are in temporary or supported accommodation.

Housing Benefit is a benefit which can help to pay your rent and any eligible service charges (some service charges cannot be included).

Housing Benefit is paid by your local authority (council) so you should contact them if you have any queries relating to a new or existing claim. The amount you get will depend on your circumstances and how much rent you pay.  Both your earnings and any tax credits you get affect the amount of Housing Benefit you can get, and other benefits you receive may also affect it. In addition, Housing Benefit often doesn’t help with your whole rent because of restrictions to the amount which can be covered.

Housing Benefit may be reduced if your total benefits are more than the benefit cap, unless you are exempt (if you or your partner work, you are usually exempt, but it will depend on your hours). If your Housing Benefit is not enough for you to manage your rent, it’s worth asking for discretionary housing payments. These are extra payments your local authority (council) can make to help with the rent if you get some Housing Benefit but it is not enough to pay your rent.

You should also check with your local authority (council) to see whether you can get any Council Tax Reduction (sometimes called Council Tax Support) to help with the council tax. This is a separate application to Housing Benefit.

There is more information on Housing Benefit on the GOV.UK website. You can also use a free benefits calculator to check your entitlement to Housing Benefit and other benefits. Your local authority website will probably have some information about Housing Benefit.

This advice applies in England, Wales and Scotland. If you live in another part of the UK, the law may differ. Please call our helpline for more details

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