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Housing benefit - new claim


There are a number of ways that you can make a claim for Housing Benefit.

  • If you are 60 or over and are making a claim for Pension Credit from the Pension Service, you can make your claim for Housing Benefit at the same time. The Pension Service will take all your details and pass them to the council as a claim for Housing Benefit. The council's Benefit Team may have to contact you for further information. If you need further information or help with claiming Pension Credits you should contact the Pension Service direct on their helpline: 0845 60 60 265.
  • If you are not a Pensioner and are making a new claim for Income Support, Job Seekers Allowance, or Employment Seekers Allowance (Incapacity Benefit). When making your claim for these benefits to JobCentre Plus you can also claim Housing Benefit at the same time. JobCentre Plus will gather information and evidence for your Housing Benefit claim and will send it direct to the council's Benefit Team. The council may have to contact you gather further evidence and details of your tenancy.
  • If you do not fall into either of the above categories then you should make your claim direct to the council using a Housing Benefit claim form. You can apply online here (new window) . You can pick up a claim form from your local council office.

Application forms are available by contacting us or from one of our many Council Information Services Offices (new window). Our contact details are on the left hand side of this page. 

The council will need to see proof of your identity, proof of all  your income, your savings and your National Insurance number. . You will be asked for detailed information and original documents. This is to meet government standard designed to ensure that you are getting the correct Rent Rebate and Council Tax Rebate.

The staff there will be able to offer help with your benefit application if needed. They will also be able to check your original documents (like payslips, benefit book, pension slip etc) and give them back to you straight away.

These are the types of documents we will need to see:

  • Bank statements (all accounts)
  • Wage Slips
  • Self employed accounts
  • Savings
  • Investments or shares
  • Private Pensions
  • Pension Credits award letter
  • State Benefits
  • Non dependant income or earnings
  • Working Tax Credit award letter
  • Child Tax Credit award letter
  • Maintenance Payments
  • Details of any property owned


Updated 05/10/11

Frequently Asked Questions

Click a question to see the answer.

Can I get Housing Benefit if I rent a furnished property?

Yes, anyone who has a liability to pay rent can apply for Housing Benefit.

Do I have to be a council tenant to claim housing benefit?

Housing benefit is a means-tested benefit, so what matters is how much money you have coming in, rather than who you rent your property from. If you are on a low income and are renting your property, whether it's from a private landlord or factor, a housing association or the council, you may be eligible to receive housing benefit. The best way to find out if you can receive housing benefit is to apply.

Do you need to be unemployed to apply for housing benefit?

Housing benefit is a means-tested benefit, so what matters is how much money you have coming in, rather than whether or not you are employed. If you unemployed, or are on a low wage, you may be entitled to housing benefit. The best way to find out is to apply.

Does Housing Benefit cover all my rent?

If you are in a council property, housing benefit only covers your basic rent. This is called your eligible rent. Charges for some services are taken off your rent before we work out your housing benefit. The amount taken off is either the amount you pay or, if this is not known, a fixed amount set by the Government. If you are renting from a private landlord, a rent officer will ascertain what a reasonable rent is for your property, and you will receive housing benefit according to that. If the reasonable rent is less than your actual rent, your housing benefit will not cover all your rent and you will still have to pay something towards it.

How do other people living with me affect my housing benefit?

In most cases the government expects other adults living with you to contribute towards your rent. Adults such as relatives, grown up children and friends who live with you are called non-dependants. We make a non-dependant deduction from your Housing Benefit for most people aged 18 or over who live with you. These deductions vary depending on their circumstances. We need proof of their income and savings. No deduction is made for anyone under 18, or for Youth Trainees, full time students, (except during the summer vacation if they work full time), or anyone in hospital for more than 52 weeks or in legal custody. If you are over 65, and claiming for a partner in hospital, in some circumstances, there may be a delay of up to 26 weeks before the deduction is applied. If you or your partner are registered blind, receiving Attendance Allowance or the care component of Disability Living Allowance then nothing will be taken off your benefit for non-dependants.

How do you work out my Housing Benefit?

If you get Guarantee Credit, Income Support or income-based Jobseekers Allowance, we will pay you full benefit. This is the highest amount of Housing Benefit you can get. But this does not always mean we will pay your rent in full. For example, if you rent your home from a private landlord, the Housing Benefit we give you can often be less than the rent you are charged. If it is, you will have to pay the difference from your own income. We also take any non-dependant deductions off your benefit. If you do not get Guarantee Credit, Income Support or income-based Jobseekers Allowance, we have to work out how much benefit we can pay. We do this by comparing the amount the Government says you need to live on each week (your 'applicable amount') with your income. If your income is less than your applicable amount, you will get full benefit. If your income is more than your applicable amount, we have to take some of the difference off your benefit. To work out Housing Benefit, for every £1 of income you have over your applicable amount, we take 65 pence off your benefit. We also take any non-dependant deductions off your benefit. The Government says that if your Housing Benefit is less than 50 pence a week, we cannot pay you anything.

How much housing benefit will I get?

The amount of Housing Benefit you will receive depends on: How much rent you are liable to pay; Your (and your partner's) weekly income; Any savings or investments you (and your partner) may have; Your age and the age of any member of your family who lives with you; Whether anyone else (such as a lodger, or adult children) lives with you.

I've recently become self-employed and don't have business accounts. Can I still apply for housing benefit?

You should maintain business records books. Benefit may be awarded if you can supply evidence of your takings and expenses. Any entitlement will be based on the calculation of income from these records. Your local area office will photocopy your record books. You may be asked to supply these at regular intervals until your business is established and you have been trading for a full year.

What documentation do you need to assess my application for housing benefit?

All applications for Housing Benefit must be supported with your (and your partner's) National Insurance number and proof of identity. We also need evidence of all income and savings. If you are a private (not a council) tenant, you will also have to provide proof of the rent you pay. If you do not provide the evidence, then we will write to you for further information. All information should be provided within one month of being asked to do so. If you do not provide supporting evidence, then you may lose benefit.

What is Housing Benefit?

Housing Benefit is a Government scheme to help those on low income pay their rent. All or part of your rent may be paid for you through housing benefit.

Who is not eligible to receive housing benefit?

You will not be entitled to Housing or Council Tax Benefit if: You are not the person liable to pay rent or Council Tax; You have more than £16,000 in savings; You are not a UK Citizen or you have not lived in the UK for the past 5 years; You are a full-time student - unless you are a full time student who is also: receiving Income Support; or a lone parent or couple who are responsible for a child or foster child; or disabled; or under 19 and following a further (not higher) course of education; or aged 60 or more.