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Housing Benefit

Claiming Housing Benefit

Please note:

If you are working age or in a couple where both are working age, you are unlikely to be able to make a new claim for Housing Benefit. In most cases, if you want to make a new claim, you will need to claim Universal Credit instead. You may also need to claim Universal Credit if you experience a change in circumstances. You can make a new claim for Housing Benefit if you’re in supported, sheltered or temporary housing.

If you are pension age or in a couple where both are pension age, you can still claim Housing Benefit under pension age rules. 

If you are a mixed age couple (one is working age and one is pension age), and you are currently receiving Pension Credit, you can still make a claim for Housing Benefit under pension age rules. If you are not receiving Pension Credit, you will need to claim Universal Credit instead. For further information see our 'mixed age couples' help page.

If you tell us you are currently receiving Housing Benefit we will work out how much you should be entitled to. So you can see how moving to Universal Credit could affect your entitlements we will also show what you might be entitled to under Universal Credit on the results page if you are eligible. 

The information below remains for people who are still claiming, or are able to make new claims for, 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.

Housing Benefit is being gradually replaced by the Housing Element of Universal Credit.

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 calculator we will work out whether you are entitled to Housing Benefit and how much you might be entitled to.

How do I claim?

*** The information below only applies to people who are over state pension age or live in supported, sheltered or temporary housing ***

If you’re claiming Pension Credit

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 7.30 pm.

The Pensions service will send details of your claims for Housing Benefit to your local council.

If you're not claiming Pension Credit or you live in supported, sheltered or temporary housing

You can get a form for Housing Benefit and Council Tax Support from your local 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 it may not be able to cover your full housing costs. You can apply for extra money called a Discretionary Housing Payment which can help with rent but is awarded on a case by case basis by your local authority, contact them for further information.

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