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What Is Housing Benefit And Who Can Claim?

Housing Benefit is a welfare benefit for people on a low income to help them pay their rent.

Housing Benefit is a means-tested benefit. To work out how much benefit you are entitled to we consider your household, the amount of income you receive and any savings that you or you partner have.

To apply for Housing Benefit you must:

  • Be liable to pay rent for your property.
  • Be living in the property as your main home.
  • Have less than £16,000 in savings.

You may be issued a penalty of up to £70 if you fail to report a change in your circumstances within one month of the change.

Local Housing Allowance

If you are renting from a private landlord we will determine the maximum amount of Housing Benefit that you are entitled to based on Local Housing Allowance figures provided by the Rent Service. We look at the number of rooms that your household legally requires against the amount of rent that the Local Housing Allowance permits.  Your Housing Benefit will be based on this amount.

One room is allowed for:

  • Every adult couple. (married or unmarried)
  • Any other adult aged 16 or over.
  • Up to two children under age 10 of either sex.
  • Up to two children of the same sex aged under 16.

You may not get the standard rate of Local Housing Allowance if you share some or all of the facilities in a property. Shared facilities could be a living room, kitchen or bathroom. The shared accommodation rate of LA may apply where:

  • You are under 35 years of age and live alone, unless you would qualify for a severe disability premium.
  • You are under 35 years of age and live alone, unless you were previously in care on your 16th birthday and are aged under 22.
  • You have a bedroom of your own but share all or some of the facilities, such as a kitchen, bathroom etc. This also applies if you live in shared accommodation with your partner and do not have children.

Extra Bedroom - Changes to the Size Criteria from 1st April 2017

Consideration can now be given for an extra bedroom for housing benefit purposes under the following criteria:

Disabled child or disabled non-dependent adult reasonably requires and has overnight care from a non resident carer (or group of carers)

The qualifying conditions are that, firstly, the disabled child or non-dependent adult reasonably requires, and has, overnight care on a regular basis.

To meet the qualifying condition the claimant needs to be able to demonstrate that:

  • Care has been arranged.
  • A spare bedroom is available for the carer. (or team of carers)
  • An extra bedroom has not already bean provided for a non-resident overnight carer (or team of carers) in the same household.

The disabled child or non-dependent adult must also be in receipt of one or more of the following:

  • Middle or higher rate care component of Disability Living Allowance. (DLA)
  • Attendance Allowance. (AA)
  • The daily living component of Personal Independence Payment. (PIP)
  • The Armed Forces Independence Payment. (AFIP)

Couple unable to share because of a disability

To meet the qualifying conditions the Local Authority will need to make an assessment on whether an individual cannot reasonably share a bedroom with the partner because his or her disability.

The further qualifying condition is that one member of the couple is in receipt of:

  • The middle or higher rate care component of DLA
  • Higher rate AA
  • The daily living component of PIP; or
  • AFIP

If you believe you fit either of the above criteria please complete the Additional Room Allowance Form

Current Local Housing Allowance Rates

  • Shared Accommodation - £65.41
  • 1 bedroom -  £132.04
  • 2 bedrooms - £166.10
  • 3 bedrooms - £193.98
  • 4 bedrooms - £266.65

Please note, if your rent is higher than the amount of Local Housing Allowance you are entitled to you will need to pay the difference yourself.

Non Dependants

A non-dependant deduction means that your housing benefit is reduced if an adult who could contribute to your rent lives with you. This applies even if you don't receive rent from the non- dependant person. A non-dependant can be a parent, adult son or daughter, relative or friend who lives in your home.

Examples include a grown-up child who returns after studying, a relationship breakdown, or someone who has just finished serving in the forces.

No deductions for non-dependants are made if the customer or partner is:

  • Blind or treated as blind.
  • Getting Attendance Allowance or the care component of Disability Living Allowance for themselves.
  • Getting the daily living component of Personal Independence Payment.
  • Getting the Armed Forces Independence Payment.

The following deductions are made where the non-dependant is:

In receipt of Pension CreditNil
In receipt of training allowance, full-time student (including students not working in summer vacation) co-owners or joint tenants, patients (for more than 52 weeks) or prisonersNil
Aged less than 25 and on IS or income-based JSA or assessment phase rate income-related ESANil
Aged under 25, entitled to UC and have no earned incomeNil
Normally living elsewhereNil
A non-dependant in respect of who a deduction has already been applied in Housing BenefitNil
Aged 25 and over and on IS or income-based JSA£15.25
Any age and in receipt of income-related ESA at main phase rate£15.25
Aged 18 or over and not in remunerative work£15.25

Aged 18 or over, in paid work and with a gross weekly income (before tax and National Insurance are taken off) of the following:

Less than £139£15.25
Not less than £139 but less than £203.99£35.00
Not less than £204 but less than £264.99£48.05
Not less than £265 but less than £353.99£78.65
Not less than £354 but less than £438.99£89.55
Not less than £439£98.30

Further information

If you require further assistance, or would like to discuss your financial situation you can get independent advice from the following organisations:

  • Information on public service in one place including up to date information on Housing Benefit.
  • Citizens Advice- The Citizens Advice Bureau provides a wide range of advice.
  • The Money Advice Service- Offers a range of money information including budgeting and debt management advice.


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