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Housing Benefit

What is Housing Benefit?

Housing Benefit helps you pay your rent if you are on a low income and do not already receive Housing Costs as part of a claim for Universal Credit. You must meet certain criteria before you can make a new claim for Housing Benefit (See the 'Can I claim Housing Benefit' section below for further information).

The amount of Housing Benefit you get is worked out by looking at:

  • How much money you have coming in;
  • Your personal circumstances, including the amount of people you have in your household;
  • The amount of rent you have to pay, as well as the number of bedrooms you and your family require;
  • The amount of savings you have (more than £16,000 will normally disqualify you).

Can I claim Housing Benefit?

Universal Credit was introduced in West Lothian on the 16th May 2018. As a result, you can now only make a new claim for Housing Benefit if you meet one or more of the following conditions:

  • You live in and pay rent for a property in which you receive care, support or supervision (such as Sheltered Housing);
  • You live in and pay rent for temporary accommodation (such as short-term accommodation provided by the Council);
  • You are have reached state pension age and have a rent liability. (You can find out more about your state pension age here. (opens new window))

If you do not meet any of the conditions outlined above and require help towards your housing costs, you should claim Universal Credit, which you can do here. (opens new window) If you require further advice or assistance in claiming Universal Credit, help is available at the councils Advice Shop.

When making a claim, you must provide proof of your identity, National Insurance number, income, savings and all capital. This information is also required for your partner if you have one. If you are living together as a couple your income is assessed jointly.

Other important information: Other than those in temporary or supported accommodation, if you currently receive Housing Benefit, you will continue to receive Housing Benefit either until your current award ends, or until the Department for Work & Pensions tells you to claim Universal Credit.  Also, if you are receiving Housing costs via Universal Credit and you are approaching your State Pension Age, you will need to claim Housing Benefit from your State Pension date. Please contact us for further information.

Housing Benefit is administered by West Lothian Council on behalf of the Department for Work & Pensions (DWP). Each Scottish Local Authority administers these schemes for their own area.

Contact us:Telephone: 01506 280000; Email: (opens new window)

How much help will I get?

How much Housing Benefit you get depends on your circumstances and how much rent you're due to pay. Use our Benefits Calculator (opens new window) to see what help you might get. If you think you may qualify for Housing Benefit, please click on the 'How to Apply' section below where you can either apply online, or get details on how to contact us to arrange for a form to be sent to you.

How it is Paid

If you are a Council Tenant, we will pay your Housing Benefit directly to your rent account weekly.

If you rent from a Private Landlord or a Housing Association, we can pay directly into your nominated bank or building society account. Payments will be made monthly in arrears (or whichever frequency your rent is charged at). Special rules apply that allow us to pay directly to your landlord where this is a condition of your tenancy agreement, or where you fall into arrears. These rules are designed to help secure your tenancy.  

Data Protection law gives you a number of rights including the right to make a complaint about the handling of your personal information. Complaints should be submitted to the Information Commissioner's Office or the Council's Data Protection Officer. Further details can be found on the Data Protection and GDPR of our website.

Details of how to apply for Housing Benefit
Your entitlement to Housing Benefit usually starts from the Monday after we receive your claim or you contact us to make a claim. This is why it is important to apply as soon as possible.
Details of when and how to tell us about a change that will effect the amount of housing benefit you are entitled too.
Local Housing Allowance is a way of working out the maximum Housing Benefit for tenants who rent from a private landlord.
What to do if you think your Housing Benefit decision might be wrong?
The Discretionary Housing Payment fund is a "cash limited" fund available for "short term" assistance for those people who face "real hardship" as a result of not being able to meet their housing costs. Discretionary Housing Payments are available to assist council tenants, tenants of registered social landlords and tenants who are renting in the private sector.
Overpayments are any payment of benefit that a person was not entitled to.
The bedroom tax cuts the amount of Housing Benefit that you can get if you are considered to have a spare bedroom.
Non-Dependants are adults (aged 18 or over) who live with you but are not joint-tenants or your partner.
This form should be used to apply for a Housing Benefit on two homes payment.
Provide evidence in support of your benefit claim, DHP Payments, SWF Application etc.