Housing Benefit - what is it?
If you're on a low income, whether you're working or not, and need financial help to pay all or part of your rent, you may be able to get Housing Benefit to help you cover the cost.
How much will I get?
If you rent a property or room from a private landlord, your maximum Housing Benefit will be calculated with the Local Housing Allowance rules, for more information see local housing allowance.
If you live in council accommodation or other social housing, the most Housing Benefit you can normally get is the same as your 'eligible' rent. However, if you have a spare room, you may be affected by the rules on under occupation.
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.
Can I get it?
If you go through the benefits calculator we will work out whether you are entitled to Housing Benefit and how much you might be able to claim.
How do I claim?
If you’re looking for work
You can claim Housing Benefit with your claim for Employment and Support Allowance, Income Support or Jobseeker's Allowance.
You can call the Jobcentre Plus on 0800 055 6688. Lines are open Monday to Friday 8.00 am to 6.00 pm.
Jobcentre Plus will send details of your claims for Housing Benefit to your local council.
If you’re claiming Pension Credit
You can claim Housing Benefit with your claim for Pension Credit.
You can call The Pension Service on 0800 991 234. If you can’t speak or hear clearly, call the textphone 0800 169 0133. Lines are open Monday to Friday 8.00 am to 8.00 pm, Saturday 9.00 am to 1.00 pm.
The Pensions service will send details of your claims for Housing 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 Support from your local council.
However, you can also download the national HBCTB1 form from the Department for Work and Pension's website and send this to your council. It is important to return your application form quickly as you will usually only be entitled from the date your form is received.
If your circumstances are likely to change you can make a claim for Housing Benefit up to 13 weeks in advance.
Even if you get Housing Benefit you may not be able to meet your housing costs. If you are a private tenant you can apply for extra money called a Discretionary Housing Payment which can help with rent.
Next blog: In a blog next week our in-house benefits expert, Dan Rust will be blogging about Universal Credit which, over the next four years, will be replacing a number of existing benefits and tax credits including Housing Benefit.