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  • Advice

    Housing Benefit can help you to pay rent if you have a low income, are on certain benefits or are unemployed. It is paid for by your local council. However, it is being phased out by Universal Credit. Currently, you can only claim if you have reached State Pension age (60) or are in supported or temporary accommodation.


    Am I eligible?

    You can claim Housing benefits under certain circumstances.

    1. If you have reached State Pension age and you are single, you can claim Housing Benefit;


    If you live with a partner, you can claim Housing Benefit if:

    • You have both reached State Pension age, and/or
    • One of you has reached State Pension age and had claimed Pension Credit for you both before 15 May 2019;


    1. You are in supported or temporary accommodation.


    If you are over State Pension age and you are already claiming Housing Benefit, this will not be affected if, before 15 May 2019, you were claiming housing benefit or has reached State Pension Age. In other words, so long as you are already claiming housing benefits this will not end because you do not fit the new criteria.

    If you are not eligible for Housing Benefit, you may be eligible for Universal Credit.


    Even if you meet the criteria, you will usually be ineligible for Housing Benefit if:

    • You have more than £16000 in savings;
    • You are paying a mortgage on your own home;
    • You live in a relative’s home;
    • You are claiming Universal Credit;
    • You live with your partner and they receive Housing benefits;
    • You are a full-time student;
    • You are an EEA jobseeker;
    • You are an asylum seeker;
    • You are subject to immigration control;
    • You are a Crown Tenant; or
    • You have reached State Pension age but your partner has not (if you as a couple had an existing claim before 15 May 2019).


    How much will I receive?

    The amounts paid by Housing Benefit vary based on your circumstances.


    How will I be paid?

    If you are a council tenant, it will be paid into your rent account. If you are a private or housing association tenant, it will be paid into your bank or building society account.


    What if I am renting privately?

    The ‘Local Housing Allowance rate’ is the maximum possible payment. If the rent on the property exceeds this rate, you will have to pay the remainder yourself. You can check your Local Housing Allowance rate at GOV.UK.


    What if I am renting from the council or a housing association?

    If you are eligible, you will normally qualify for the full rate of housing benefits. You will not usually be eligible for the maximum amount of housing benefit if you have a spare room.


    Are any tenancies ineligible?

    The Local Housing Allowance rate does not apply to all tenancies. For example, they may not apply if:

    • Your tenancy started before 15 January 1989;
    • You live in a caravan or motor-home; or
    • Your landlord is a charity or housing association that gives you support.


    Are there any other matters that might affect my entitlement?

    Additionally, other circumstances might change your entitlement. If you are single and under 35, you will normally only receive a sum sufficient to pay for a bedsit or a room in a shared house. This limit will not apply if you:

    • Live with someone else (e.g., a child);
    • Are a foster carer;
    • Are 25 or over and have lived in homeless accommodation for 3 months or more;
    • Are 25 or over and have left prison under the Multi-Agency Public Protection Arrangements (MAPPA); or
    • Are disabled and receive the Personal Independence Payment (with the daily living component), the Disability Living Allowance (with the middle or highest rate care component), the Armed Forces Independence Allowance or the Attendance Allowance.

    If you claim any of the following benefits, you will be generally be entitled to the highest rate of Housing benefit; -

    • Universal Credit;
    • Income Support;
    • Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA);
    • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA); or
    • The guarantee is part of Pension Credit.

    Some circumstances might disqualify you from this entitlement. There may be a limit on the limit of benefits that you can receive each week. The benefit cap does not apply if:

    • You receive working tax credits;
    • You receive benefits related to illness or disability;
    • You are over the age for Pension Credit;
    • You live in temporary accommodation;
    • Your landlord is a charity and they give you support; or
    • You or your partner stopped work less than nine months ago.


    What if Housing Benefit does not cover my rent?

    If you are receiving Housing benefits, you may qualify for a Discretionary Housing Payment (DHP) to pay the rest of your rent. The length of a DHP depends on your circumstances. You may need to relocate or seek additional employment in the long term.

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