Housing Benefit

From 14 November 2018, most working age customers will need to claim Universal Credit for help with their rent. View information on the eligibility for Housing Benefit to see if you eligible.

Visit the GOV.UK website for more information about Universal Credit and how to claim it.

Universal Credit will not cover Council Tax, so if you need help to pay Council Tax. View information on to claim Council Tax Reduction.

How much Housing Benefit am I entitled to?

The amount you will receive will depend on your circumstances, including who lives with you, your income and the income of anyone who lives with you, who you rent your property from, and the amount of any rent charged. Visit the GOV.UK website for details of independent and free-to-use benefits calculators to calculate an estimate of the Housing Benefit you may be entitled to.

Visit the GOV.UK website to use the calculator to estimate your Housing Benefit entitlement

However, accurate entitlement can only be determined when a full application, backed-up by the relevant documentation, is submitted to the Council. The calculators will also give an estimate of other state benefits you may be entitled to. State Pension age customers may be entitled to Pension Credit paid by the Department for Work and Pensions.

Visit the GOV.UK website to find out if you are eligible for Pension Credit by using the calculator


Local Housing Allowance rates

If you rent your home from a private landlord, the maximum rent we can base your Housing Benefit on will normally be based on Local Housing Allowance rates for the area. This is the maximum amount, and your household circumstances and income may reduce the amount of Housing Benefit we can pay.

A table of Local Housing Allowance rates.
Rate Weekly Monthly
Shared Accommodation rate+ £75.00 £325.00
1 bedroom rate £92.05 £398.88
2 bedroom rate £120.82 £523.55
3 bedroom rate £143.84 £623.31
4 bedroom rate £182.96 £792.83

+ Please note: The Shared Accommodation rate now applies to most single people under 35 years of age, regardless of whether or not they live in self-contained accommodation. For exemptions, please contact us. It also applies to single people over the age of 35 and living in shared accommodation.

Download the April 2021 LHA rates and view previous rates


How many bedrooms is my household allowed?

Based on the Government's calculation of household needs, you need to count one bedroom for each of the following:

  • a couple
  • a person who is not a child (aged 16 or over)
  • two children under 10 of either sex
  • two children under 16 of the same sex
  • any other child
  • a carer who provides you or your partner with regular overnight care but doesn't live with you (we will need to request information before we can make a decision to include an extra bedroom)
  • a child with a severe disability (in receipt of Disability Living Allowance at the middle or high rate) who is unable to share a room (we will need to request information before we can make a decision to include an extra bedroom)
  • if you have a foster child, foster children or are an approved foster carer between placements, one extra room can usually be included in the calculation
  • if you have an adult child who is a member of the armed forces who normally lives with you but is away on operations, one extra room can be included in the calculation
  • couples who are unable to share due to disability (we will need to request further information before we can include an extra bedroom; one member of the couple must also be in receipt of one of the following: middle or higher rate care component of Disability Living Allowance, higher rate Attendance Allowance, daily living component of Personal Independence Payment or Armed Forces Independence payment).

Reductions to Housing Benefit - Social Sector Size Criteria or "bedroom tax"

If you rent your home from a housing association, the maximum rent we can usually base your Housing Benefit on will be the actual amount of your rent (less any ineligible service charges). This is the maximum amount, and your household circumstances and income may reduce the amount of Housing Benefit we can pay.

From April 2013, the Government announced that working age tenants of registered social landlords or housing associations would have their Housing Benefit reduced if they have one or more spare bedrooms.

These changes do not affect:

  • tenants who have reached State Pension age (visit the GOV.UK website to check your State Pension age). From 15 May 2019, both members of a couple must have reached State Pension age to be exempt. However, if one member of the couple was of State Pension age before this date and there has been continuous entitlement to Housing Benefit based on both members of the couple being included in the claim, the Social Sector Size Criteria won’t apply
  • tenants in shared ownership properties
  • tenants that the Council has placed in certain types of temporary accommodation for homeless people.

These rules mean that those tenants whose accommodation is larger than they need may have their Housing Benefit reduced.

How much Housing Benefit will I lose?

  • Those with one spare bedroom will have the maximum rent that can be used in the Housing Benefit calculation reduced by 14%.
  • Those with two or more spare bedrooms will have the maximum rent that can be used in the Housing Benefit calculation reduced by 25%.

The Benefit cap

In April 2013, the Government introduced a cap on the amount that some working age people can receive from state benefits.

This does not affect those who have reached State Pension age (visit the GOV.UK website to check your State Pension age). From 15 May 2019, both members of a couple must have reached State Pension age to be exempt. However, if one member of the couple was State Pension age before this date and there has been continuous entitlement to Housing Benefit based on both members of the couple being included in the claim, the Benefit cap won’t apply.

The cap is currently set at:

  • £384.62 per week (£20,000 a year) for a couple (with or without children)
  • £384.62 per week (£20,000 a year) for single parents whose children live with them
  • £257.69 per week (£13,400 a year) for single people.

Not everyone is affected. Visit the GOV.UK Benefit cap website for more information on exemptions and which benefits are taken into account and those who won't be affected by the cap.


When should I claim?

It is important that you complete your intention to claim as soon as you can.


When will my claim start?

The date your claim will start depends on how and when you claim Housing Benefit.

We normally start your claim from the Monday after you first made contact with us or the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), but only if you complete the claim process within one month. If you don't complete the claim process within one month, your claim will usually start from the Monday after we receive your completed claim.

It is therefore very important that you complete the intention to claim form as soon as you want to claim and that you attend your chosen telephone appointment.


Can you start my claim from an earlier date?

We cannot usually start your claim any sooner. However, in certain circumstances, we may be able to backdate your claim for up to a maximum of one month from the date of your request. To be considered for this, you must:

  • make a request for backdating in writing
  • tell us the date you want to claim from
  • tell us why you didn't make your claim earlier - give us as much information as you can in support of your request
  • if your income was any different during the backdate period, you must provide evidence of it.

We will then look at your request and decide whether you have good cause for not making your claim sooner.


Council Tax Reduction

When we calculate your entitlement to Housing Benefit, we will also calculate any entitlement to Council Tax Reduction that could reduce the amount of Council Tax you need to pay.

View information about Council Tax Reduction and how to apply

Last updated: 24/02/2021 16:03

  1. Introduction
  2. Eligibility
  3. How do I apply?
  4. Contact