Housing Benefit explained

Housing Benefit is a means tested award, which means we look at your income and capital, and that of your household, to work out how much help we provide.

You can check how much Housing Benefit you may be eligible for and make a claim online.

As a general rule, to claim Housing Benefit you need to be responsible for paying the rent on the property, but please take a moment to check if you fall into one of the categories below.

The following groups of people cannot claim Housing Benefit

  • if you have over £16,000 in savings. The only exception to this rule is if you are receiving the guarantee element of pension credit
  • if you are a full-time student. There are exceptions to this rule for students who have children, are aged over 60 or who are disabled
  • if you live in a care home, a nursing home or an elderly person's home - you may still be entitled if you move into a care home on a temporary basis
  • asylum seekers who have not been given refugee status or indefinite or exceptional leave to remain in the UK
  • people who have been admitted to the UK on condition that they have 'no recourse to public funds'
  • sponsored immigrants who have lived here for less than five years
  • people who are in the UK illegally or their permission to stay has run out

The following categories of people are unlikely to get Housing Benefit

  • you used to own the property, which you now rent
  • you pay rent to a close relative who lives with you
  • you rent a former joint home from your ex-partner
  • you are the parent or guardian of your landlord's child
  • you live in your home as part of your job
  • you rent the property from a company and you are a director or an employee of the company
  • you rent from a trust of which you are a trustee or beneficiary

We will consider each claim individually, so please contact us if you find yourself in one of these situations.

Types of Housing Benefit claims

For tenants of Six Town Housing, housing associations and those with registered rents, the maximum amount of Housing Benefit will usually cover the amount of rent charged. However there are restrictions on the amount of Housing Benefit if you rent from a social landlord and your property is too large for the size of your household. 

For tenants renting from private landlords, the maximum amount of benefit is based on the size of the tenant's household, and is worked out using the Local Housing Allowance scheme.

Start dates of claims

Claims normally start from when we receive your claim form. In some cases we may be able to consider backdating the start of your claim to an earlier date.

Extra help available

In addition to Housing Benefit we run a discretionary payment scheme scheme for households who need extra short term help with their rent.  

Welfare reform

The Housing Benefit rules are changing under the government's welfare reforms. Housing Benefit is affected by the Benefit Cap, which restricts the total amount of state benefits a household can receive. Over the longer term Housing Benefit for working age people is in the process of being replaced by Universal Credit.