Housing Benefits


Housing Benefit can pay for part or all of your rent. How much you get depends on your income and circumstances.

You can apply for Housing Benefit whether you’re unemployed or working.
You may also be able to get help with your rent if your benefits stop.

You may get help with all or part of your rent. There’s no set amount of Housing Benefit and what you get will depend on whether you rent privately or from a council.
Use a benefits calculator to work out what you could get or check what extra help is available.
Council and social housing rent
How much you get depends on: 
  • your ‘eligible’ rent
  • if you have a spare room
  • your household income - including benefits, pensions and savings (over £6,000)
  • your circumstances, eg age of people in the house, if someone has a disability 
Eligible rent
Eligible rent means the reasonable rent for a suitable property in your area. It includes service charges (eg for lift maintenance or a communal laundry) but not things like heating.
Spare bedrooms
Your Housing Benefit could be reduced if you live in council or social housing and have a spare bedroom. The reduction is: 
  • 14% of the ‘eligible rent’ for 1 spare bedroom
  • 25% of the ‘eligible rent’ for 2 or more spare bedrooms
Sharing bedrooms
The following are expected to share: 
  • an adult couple
  • 2 children under 16 of the same sex
  • 2 children under 10 (regardless of sex)
The following can have their own bedroom: 
  • a single adult (16 or over)
  • a child that would normally share but shared bedrooms are already taken, eg you’ve 3 children and 2 already share
  • children who can’t share because of a disability or medical condition
  • a non-resident overnight carer for you or your partner (but only if they must stay overnight)
One spare bedroom is allowed for: 
  • an approved foster carer who is between placements but only for up to 52 weeks from the end of the last placement
  • a newly approved foster carer for up to 52 weeks from the date of approval if no child is placed with them during that time
Rooms used by students and members of the armed or reserve forces will not be counted as ‘spare’ if they’re away and intend to return home.
Private rent
Local Housing Allowance (LHA) is used to work out Housing Benefit for tenants who rent privately. How much you get is usually based on: 
  • where you live
  • your household size - find out how many bedrooms you’re eligible for and your LHA rate
  • your income - including benefits, pensions and savings (over £6,000)
  • your circumstances 
How you’re paid
Housing Benefit is paid by your council as follows: 
  • council tenants - into your rent account (you won’t receive the money)
  • private tenants - into your bank or building society account (rarely by cheque)
The benefit cap
The benefit cap limits the amount of benefit that most people aged 16 to 64 can get.
If you’re affected, your Housing Benefit will go down to make sure that the total amount of benefit you get isn’t more than the cap level.
Appeal a housing benefit decision
Contact your local council to appeal a housing benefit decision.
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