Housing benefit is a national welfare benefit that helps people on a low income to pay their rent. It can pay for part or all of your rent.
How much you get depends on your income and circumstances.
Who can apply
You may be able to claim housing benefit if:
- you pay rent
- you're on a low income or claiming benefits
- your savings are below £16,000
- You're of state pension age, or are in receipt of Pension Credit (either component)
- You're resident in temporary or supported exempt accommodation
You can apply if you’re employed or unemployed, but if you live with a partner, only one of you can get housing benefit.
You can't claim housing benefit if:
- you're not liable to pay rent
- you have more than £16,000 in capital (either you or your partner, or you and your partner together, unless you receive the Guarantee Credit part of Pension Credit)
- you live in a nursing home or residential care home
- you're a full time student in higher education (unless you're in an exempt category, for example single parents)
- you're living in the same household and paying rent to a close relative, an in-law or employer
- you rent a former joint home from your ex-partner
- you're the parent or guardian of your landlord's child
- you receive Universal Credit
- you're making a new claim for housing benefit. You should instead claim Universal Credit. The exceptions to this are if you, and your partner:
- are of state pension age, or are in receipt of Pension Credit (either component)
- are resident in temporary or supported exempt accommodation
You can still apply for council tax support if you are named on the bill.
How to apply
You can apply for housing benefit using our online form below.
Check our housing benefit calculator before you apply to see whether you qualify. The details you put in the calculator will automatically populate your claim form.
Make sure you have the following to hand before you start the form:
- details of the income and benefits received by each person in your home (if you don’t have payslips, or you’ve recently changed jobs, ask your employer to fill in our online certificate of earnings form)
- details of your Local Housing Allowance
- the total balances for all your accounts (this includes any savings, post office or current), for you and your partner, if applicable
- the amount of council tax you're charged a year
- the amount of rent you're charged
You may need to fill in one of the following forms as well if any of the following apply to you:
- if you’re self-employed, please fill in our self-employed earnings form
- if you’ve returned to live in the UK in the last two years, you must fill in our habitual residence form to prove that you’re entitled to make a claim for benefit
- if you or your partner, or any children you’re claiming for, own another property or land, either in the UK or abroad, you’ll need to fill in our property and land valuation form
At the end of the form it tells you what evidence we need to support your claim, and whether we need original documents or copies.
To claim housing benefit select 'Apply for housing benefit' below and choose the 'Start new form' option.
Continue a saved application
If you have previously started and saved an application form for housing benefit, you can continue your existing application.
Select 'Continue your housing benefit application' below, then enter the 12 digit reference number you were given when you saved the form and select 'Continue'.
Sending your evidence
You must provide your evidence within one calendar month from the date you applied for support.
Once we receive your information, we’ll work out how much you’re entitled to and contact you to let you know. This usually takes up to ten working days.
Select 'Send evidence' below to upload copy documents and choose the 'Start new form' option.
Acting as an appointee
If you have the authority to deal with a person’s financial affairs on their behalf, you need to fill in our form below to request to be an appointee.
When your benefit will start
When we receive all the information we need from you, we’ll work out how much benefit you're entitled to, We'll contact you to let you know the amount, usually within ten working days.
The date we start your claim for housing benefit is usually the earliest of the following:
- the Monday after the date you first told us you wanted to claim
- the Monday after the date we received your application
How your housing benefit's paid
You can see the details of your housing benefit claim and payments by registering for an online account in My Bentax.
If you live in a council property, your benefit will be paid into your rent account every week.
If you live in any other social rented accommodation, you can choose to have your benefit paid into your bank or building society account, or credit union account.
You can also have it paid directly to your landlord.
If you've reached the qualifying age for Pension Credit, your claim can be automatically backdated for a maximum of three months.
If you're of working age and want your claim to be backdated, you need to tell us why you could not claim earlier. Read more about the rules for backdating housing benefit.
You can apply for backdated council tax support or housing benefit using our online form below. Please answer all the questions on the form.
If you disagree with a housing benefit decision, you can appeal by filling in our dispute form below. Read more about appeals and disputes.
Change of circumstances
If any of your circumstances change after you've applied for housing benefit you must tell us as this could affect the amount of benefit you can claim.
You can tell us using one of the forms on our change of circumstances page.