How do I claim Housing Benefit?

Who can claim Housing Benefit?

  • Anyone who is liable to pay rent for their home can claim.
  • If your landlord is the council, a housing association, a private individual or company, you can still claim.
  • Boarders, lodgers, and people in hostels and bed & breakfast accommodation can also claim.
  • You do not have to be out of work to claim.

The basic conditions to claim Housing Benefit are:

  • You must normally be resident.
  • It must be your home.
  • You must have a liability to pay rent.
  • You must either have a low income, or be entitled to a benefit paid by the Department for Work and Pensions or The Pension Service.
  • You must provide acceptable proof to support your claim.

However, you will not normally receive Housing Benefit if you are living with a close relative and paying them rent.

You can check if you qualify for Housing Benefit by using the online benefits calculator.

Who is unable to apply for help?

You can't claim Housing Benefit if you:

  • are not the householder.
  • have more than £16,000 in capital, unless you receive Guaranteed Pension Credit.
  • are excluded from receiving public funds, due to your status in the UK.

Some full-time students are not able to claim Housing Benefit.

More information about students and Housing Benefit.

Other restrictions

  • If you live with a partner or civil partner only one of you can apply for Housing Benefit.
  • If you have other adults in your household you may get less Housing Benefit because of a non-dependant deduction.
  • Housing Benefit cannot help towards things like mortgage costs, meals, fuel charges, washing and nursing care.

How to claim

To make a claim for Housing Benefit, please complete a claim form and provide acceptable proof to support your claim.

When should you claim?

Generally, claim as soon as you believe you may be entitled to Housing Benefit. As with most other benefits, there are strict rules in Housing Benefit governing the time-limits for which claims can be submitted. We can also accept advance claims (for example if you know you are moving into a new property in 2 weeks time).

It is very important that your claim form is handed in as soon as possible, if you delay you may lose benefit.

When will the benefit start?

We try to pay Housing Benefit within 14 days of getting all the information we need to work out your benefit claim. However, benefit is often delayed because we are waiting for information.

We can normally only pay Housing Benefit from the Monday following the date we receive your claim. We can treat your claim as being made from the date you ask for a form from us, providing we receive your fully completed claim form within one month of sending it to you.

To avoid missing any Housing Benefit new tenants should claim just before they move in. Existing tenants should claim as soon as they need help.

Backdated Housing Benefit

In most cases Housing Benefit is paid from the Monday after we get your claim form, but in some cases we can pay it from an earlier date. It may be possible to backdate your claim for up to:

  • three months from the date you ask if you are of pensionable age; or
  • six months from the date you ask us if you are under pensionable age and there is a good reason why you did not claim earlier.

If you would like your claim to be backdated, you will need to request this in writing and you must have good cause for failing to claim earlier.