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About Housing Benefit

Find out about whether you are eligible and making a claim (or whether you may need to apply for Universal Credit).

Most new claims for housing costs from working age claimants now need to be applied for through Universal Credit (UC).
See our Universal Credit page for more information.

Housing Benefit is a national welfare benefit paid by the council to help meet the cost of rent.

If you need to make a new claim for Housing Benefit, you will only be entitled to Housing Benefit if you (and your partner, if you have one):

  • are of State Pension agecheck your State Pension age online
  • are resident in specified accommodation - specified accommodation is where you are living in a refuge or local authority hostel, or if your landlord is 'not for profit' and/or a registered social landlord, and you are receiving care or support as part of your tenancy in order to address a recognised need (if you live in specified accommodation you can still claim UC for your living costs, but you will also need to claim housing benefit to cover your rent)
  • are resident in temporary accommodation, secured by the council in accordance with a statutory homelessness duty

If your circumstances (and those of your partner, if you have one) do not fall within at least one of the above groups, the council's Benefits team will not be able to award Housing Benefit. We will only be able to direct you towards applying for Universal Credit.

You are likely to lose benefit if you are late in submitting a claim for Universal Credit.

If you are not eligible for Housing Benefit, you may still be eligible for Council Tax Reduction.


If you are entitled to Housing Benefit

If your circumstances do fall within one of the groups above, Housing Benefit can help meet the cost of your rent if you:

  • have a low income (whether you work or not)
  • are responsible for paying the rent
  • live in the property
  • have capital below £16,000 (or, if your capital is above this amount, you are receiving Guaranteed State Pension Credit) 

The amount of benefit you receive depends on:

  • the amount of rent you pay
  • whether anyone else lives with you (such as lodgers or grown-up children)
  • the amount of money you have coming in each week
  • the amount of capital you have
  • the minimum amount the government says you need to live on

You can find further details about Housing Benefit on the GOV.UK website.


Making a claim

If you believe that you are eligible to claim, see our Housing Benefit claims page to find out how to make a claim.


If your circumstances have changed

If you are already receiving Housing Benefit (and/or Council Tax Reduction) and your circumstances have changed, please Icon for doc report the change(s) to us using this form [792KB] .

You can find details about reporting changes on our claims page.


If you are currently receiving Housing Benefit but your circumstances do not fall within one of the entitlement groups

During 2024/25, the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) will be increasing the numbers of current working age Housing Benefit claimants required to move to Universal Credit.

Please do not ignore any letters you receive from DWP or the Council advising you to claim future housing costs through Universal Credit. The Council will be instructed by DWP to end Housing Benefit in accordance with the migration date advised to you. If you continue to require assistance with housing costs after the date Housing Benefit ends, help will then only be available through the Universal Credit scheme.

The Council has no discretion to extend your Housing Benefit beyond the termination date advised to us by DWP.

If you are single and of pensionable age, or if you have a partner and you are both of pensionable age, you will not be affected by migration to Universal Credit at this stage.

More information is available from DWP on their move to Universal Credit pages.

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