If you’re on a low income you can apply for Housing Benefit to help you pay for part or all of your rent.
You can apply for Housing Benefit whether you’re unemployed or working, and whether you rent from the private sector, a Housing Association, or our Council housing.
How much you might receive
There’s no set amount of Housing Benefit. What you get will depend on whether you are restricted by the Local Housing Allowance if you are a private tenant, and/or by the number of bedrooms you have (under-occupancy rule/’bedroom tax’) if you rent from us.
Make an application
From November 2018 if you need to start a new Housing Benefit claim you may have to claim Universal Credit.
If you’re not claiming other benefits
If you’re not claiming other benefits, use our Housing Benefit and Council Tax Support Claim Form to apply for Housing Benefit.
When you’ve completed the form, we’ll let you know what information we need from you to support your claim. This may include information like your National Insurance Number, your birth certificate or driving licence, and evidence that you must pay the rent, like your rent book or tenancy agreement.
Please provide this information as soon as you can, so we can deal with your claim as quickly as possible. When you provide evidence please bare in mind the following:
- we can only accept original documents as proof. We can’t accept photocopies
- you can bring the information we need to see to First Point, or any Area Housing Office
- if you supply the proofs in person we’ll photocopy them and give you the originals back. We’ll also give you a receipt. You should ask to see the photocopies and make sure that you’re satisfied that the copies are clear and legible
- if we need more evidence, we’ll write to you as soon as possible to let you know
You should claim as soon as you can. We can usually pay Housing Benefit from the Monday after the day we receive your claim form. We can only backdate your benefit for up to one month from when you make your claim.
If you live in our Council housing, we’ll pay Housing Benefit directly into your rent account. You won’t receive the money.
If you’re a private tenant, we’ll usually pay Housing Benefit into your bank or building society account, although we may decide that it’s in your best interests to pay your Housing Benefit directly to your landlord.
If you’ve made a claim for Housing Benefit which hasn’t been processed yet, and you need payment urgently because you’re facing eviction, you must contact us as soon as possible.
You will need to send or bring in a copy of any information you’ve received about eviction proceedings.
Once we have the evidence we need, we’ll arrange to pay your Housing Benefit as soon as we can.
If you have been overpaid, you can view the details in your online account.
We have a policy to deal with the administration and recovery of overpayments.
We usually recover an overpayment of Housing Benefit by accepting a full repayment, or by taking a weekly amount from your future Housing Benefit (also known as ‘claw-back’).
The standard claw-back rate is currently £11.10 per week. If you are suffering from financial hardship the minimum claw-back rate can be set at £3.70 per week. To find out if you may qualify for this rate you will need to complete an Income, Expenditure and Capital form and return it to us.
If the overpayment of Housing Benefit has occurred as a result of fraud, there is a higher claw-back rate of £18.50 per week.
If you’re claiming other benefits
If you’re claiming Employment and Support Allowance, Income Support or Jobseeker’s Allowance, contact Jobcentre Plus to claim Housing Benefit too. Jobcentre Plus will send us details of your claim for Housing Benefit.
If you’re claiming Universal Credit, you can get help paying for housing with your Universal Credit payment instead of getting Housing Benefit.
If you’re claiming Pension Credit, contact the Pension Service to claim Housing Benefit with your claim for Pension Credit. The Pension Service will send us details of your claim for Housing Benefit.