Housing benefit

Housing Benefit helps you pay your rent if you're on a low income. Claiming Housing Benefit won't affect any other benefits you get.

If you're not sure which council you need to make a claim with, visit the Directgov website and enter your postcode to find out.


You may claim Housing Benefit if you pay rent and your income, savings and investments are below a certain level.

This includes tenants living in:

  • council property,
  • privately rented accommodation (the allowance for private tenants is known as local housing allowance (LHA) and the rates are set separately),
  • hostels and
  • housing association accommodation.

You can't usually get housing benefit if:

  • you have savings of over £16,000, unless you are aged 60 or over and getting the 'guarantee credit' of pension credit
  • you live in the home of a close relative
  • you're a full-time student, unless you are disabled or have children
  • you're an asylum seeker or are sponsored to be in the UK

Other restrictions:

  • If you live with a partner only one of you can claim housing benefit.
  • If you are single and aged under 25 you can only get housing benefit for bed-sit accommodation or one room in shared accommodation.

How much you will get

We work our your 'eligible rent'

The most housing benefit you can get is the same as your 'eligible' rent. This is the amount used to work out your benefit but it may not be the same as your full rent.

Eligible rent includes:

  • rent for the accommodation
  • charges for some services, such as a lifts, communal laundry facilities or play areas

Even if the following are included in your rent, you won't get any housing benefit for:

  • water charges
  • charges for heating, hot water, lighting, or cooking
  • payments for food or fuel in board and lodgings or hostels

We assess the particulars of your home and the rent you pay

We ask if:

  • the amount of rent is reasonable for your particular home
  • your home is a reasonable size for you and your family
  • the amount of rent is reasonable for the area where you live

Your 'eligible' rent may be limited to an amount that's reasonable for a suitably sized property in the area you live.

We also look at your personal and financial circumstances

The amount of housing benefit you may get also depends on:

  • the money you and your partner or civil partner have coming in, including earnings, some benefits and tax credits, and occupational pensions
  • your savings (and your partner's or civil partner's savings)
  • your circumstances: such as your age, the size of your family and their ages, if you or any of your family are disabled, and if anyone who lives with you could help with the rent

Make a claim

You can make a claim online. You'll need to provide certain supporting documents, find our more on our make a benefit claim page.

How housing benefit is paid

Council tenants will have their housing benefit paid directly to their housing rent account.

Private tenants can choose from these options:

  • direct to bank account
  • via crossed-cheque
  • direct to your landlord

Discretionary Housing Payments

Discretionary Housing Payments (DHP) are extra payments to help pay rent, council tax or both.

We can give DHPs to people claiming benefit who need extra help with their housing costs, if these are more than the amount of benefit they get.

Contact us

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