What is Housing Benefit?

Housing Benefit helps you pay your rent if you are on a low income. It can pay for part of or all your rent - how much you may get will depend on your income and other circumstances.

Housing Benefit does not help towards mortgages or home loan payments.

Who can claim Housing Benefit?

You can claim benefit if you:

  • pay rent

  • are on a low income

  • have savings of less than £16,000 (unless you receive Guaranteed Pension Credit).

You can claim if you are employed (full or part-time), self-employed, unemployed, retired or disabled.

You can claim as a single person or as part of a couple. A couple is two people who are married or living together as if they are married, or in a civil partnership or living together as if in a civil partnership.

Some students and people who have come to live here from abroad can also claim – see our guides below for more information:

Which students can claim housing benefit?

Claiming housing benefit if you are a person from abroad

Who cannot claim Housing Benefit?

You cannot normally claim if you have a low income and:

  • have savings over £16,000 (unless you receive Guaranteed Pension Credit)

  • live with and pay rent/housekeeping to a close relative (you may get help with Council Tax depending on your circumstances)

  • are paying rent as a Crown tenant (but you can still claim Council Tax support)

  • are aged 16 or 17 and have been in local authority care (the local authority have a duty to support and accommodate you up to your 18th birthday)

  • are living in residential care or nursing home.

How much benefit can I claim?

Housing association tenants

If you are a housing association tenant your benefit will be based on the rent charged by your housing association (including Luminus Homes) but not including water rates and certain service charges. Your benefit may be reduced depending on your circumstances, for example your level of income and savings and if there are any other adults living in the property.

If you are of working age, your benefit will be reduced by the following amount if you have more bedrooms than your household needs:

  • 14% if you have one more bedroom than you need

  • 25% if you have more than one extra bedroom.

See the Under-Occupation page for more information.

Private rental tenants

If you are a private tenant your benefit will be based on either the rent charged or the Local Housing Allowance (LHA) rate, whichever is the lowest.

The LHA rate is the maximum amount you can receive, but this may be reduced depending on your circumstances, for example your level of income and savings and if there are any other adults living in the property.

See our Local Housing Allowance page for further information.

Go to the Claiming Benefits page to apply for Housing Benefit.

Benefit cap

The government limits the amount of Housing Benefit payable to working age families where your total income from all benefits is more than:

  • £500 a week for a couple with or without dependent children

  • £500 a week for a single parent with dependent children

  • £350 a week for a single person without children

  • £350 a week for a single person with children who live elsewhere.

From 7 November 2016 the rates are changing to:

  • £384.62 a week for a couple with or without dependent children

  • £384.62 a week for a single parent with dependent children

  • £257.69 a week for a single person without children

  • £257.69 a week for a single person with children who live elsewhere.

The level of the benefit cap is worked out by the Department for Work and Pensions(DWP) and is applied to your Housing Benefit.

More details about the benefit cap can be found on the GOV.UK website.

Apply for Housing Benefit