Housing Benefit

Last updated: 09/03/2022

No new claims can be made for Housing Benefit. If you are getting Housing Benefit at the moment you will continue to do so until your circumstances change or you are invited to claim Universal Credit instead.

Depending on your circumstances you may get Housing Benefit to help pay your rent. 

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The amount of Housing Benefit you get is based on your circumstances. These include your income (earnings and certain benefits), the number of adults and children in the house, your rent and where you stay.

You will not get Housing Benefit if you have savings or capital over £16,000. If you have savings or capital between £6,000 and £16,000 any help with rent will be reduced. Capital includes property you own that is not the house you live in and some one-off payments such as Statutory Redundancy Pay.

Housing Benefit for a council or housing association property 

If you are receiving Income Support, income-based Jobseekers Allowance or income related Employment and Support Allowance you are likely to get your maximum Housing Benefit to pay all of your rent. If you are working your income may reduce how much Housing Benefit you get so you will need to pay some of your rent.

Housing Benefit if you rent from a private landlord

Housing Benefit for privately rented property is calculated on the maximum amount the local council decides is right for that property. This is called the Local Housing Allowance or LHA. The amount is based on the number of rooms the council says you need. It is different in each local authority area.  If your rent is over the LHA you will have to pay some rent.

For example, if your rent is £150 per week and the LHA is £120 per week the maximum Housing Benefit you will get towards your rent is £120. You will have to pay the extra £30 yourself.

The maximum amount of Housing Benefit you get may be reduced further if you are working or have other income.

Bedroom subsidy (‘bedroom tax’)

Council and housing association tenants who have extra bedrooms in their properties will lose part of their maximum Housing Benefit. This is called the bedroom subsidy or bedroom tax. If you have one extra bedroom, you will lose 14% of your maximum Housing Benefit. If you have two or more extra bedrooms, you will lose 25% of your maximum Housing Benefit. If you are working your income may reduce you maximum Housing Benefit further.

Pensioners, carers, overnight carers, approved foster carers, parents of adult children in the Armed Forces that still live with them, people in shared ownership properties and people living in caravan or houseboats are exempt from the bedroom subsidy.

If you are entitled to Housing Benefit you can apply for a Discretionary Housing Payment to cover the loss of Housing Benefit due to the bedroom subsidy.

Discretionary Housing Payments

If you have a shortfall between the Housing Benefit you receive and the rent you pay – including a shortfall caused by the bedroom subsidy – you can apply for a Discretionary Housing Payment to make up the difference. You must be entitled to Housing Benefit in order to apply for a Discretionary Housing Payment.

Ask for a Discretionary Housing Payment form from your local council’s housing department.

For more details on information see housing options.