Housing Benefit 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.
You can claim Housing Benefit if either:
- you (and your partner if you have one) are of State Pension age or receive Pension Credit.
- you live in temporary or supported exempt accommodation. These are normally hostels or sheltered accommodation.
If neither of these apply to you, you need to claim Universal Credit to help with your housing costs instead of Housing Benefit.
You can't claim Housing Benefit if:
- you (or your partner if you have one) are below State Pension age, unless you live in temporary or supported exempt accommodation
- you're not liable to pay rent
- you have more than £16,000 in capital (either you, your partner or both of you together - unless you receive the Guarantee Credit part of Pension Credit)
- you receive Universal 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 can apply if you’re employed or unemployed, but if you live with a partner only one of you can get Housing Benefit.
If you need help to pay your Council Tax, you can also apply for Council Tax Support.
Before you apply
You can apply for Housing Benefit using our online form.
Please use our Housing Benefit calculator before you apply to see whether you qualify. The details you put into the calculator will automatically be added to your claim form.
Before you start your application, make sure you have the following details:
- 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 certificate of earnings form.
- Details of your Local Housing Allowance.
- The total balances for all your accounts, including current accounts, savings and Post Office accounts. You need these for you and your partner, if you have one.
- The amount of Council Tax you're charged a year.
- The amount of rent you're charged.
As well as your claim form, you may also need to fill in one of the following if any of the criteria apply to you:
- If you’re self-employed, please also fill in our self-employed earnings form.
- If you’ve returned to live in the UK in the last two years, you need to also fill in our habitual residence form to prove that you’re entitled to make a claim for benefit.
- If you, your partner or any children you’re claiming for own another property or land (either in the UK or abroad), you also need to fill in our property and land valuation form.
- If you have authority to deal with the financial affairs of the claimant on their behalf, also fill in our form to request to act as an appointee.
How to apply
Select 'Apply for Housing Benefit' to fill in the online claim form.
To start a new claim, choose the 'Start new form' option. To resume an application you started previously, enter the 12 digit reference number you were given when you saved your form and select 'Continue'.
At the end of the form you'll be told the evidence you need to provide to support your claim, and whether we need to see original documents or copies.
Providing your evidence
If we've asked you to provide copies of some documents, you can upload these using our online evidence form.
You must provide your evidence within one calendar month from the date you applied for support.
What happens after applying
When we've received 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 will usually be whichever of the following is earliest:
- the Monday after the date you first told us you wanted to claim
- the Monday after the date we received your application
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, building society or credit union account. You can also have it paid directly to your landlord if you prefer by filling in our online form.
You can see the details of your Housing Benefit claim and payments online in your My Bentax account.
Backdating your claim
If you're State Pension age your claim will be automatically backdated for a maximum of three months, depending on your circumstances.
If you're working age and want your claim to be backdated, you'll need to tell us why you were unable to make your claim earlier. Find out more and apply to backdate your benefit claim.
Making an appeal
If you disagree with our decision about Housing Benefit, you can appeal by filling in a dispute form. Find out how to make an appeal.
Changes in your 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. Tell us about a change of circumstances.