Housing Benefit helps with your rent payments if you have a low income. Your local council is in charge of Housing Benefit.
Housing Benefit is gradually being replaced by Universal Credit. The benefit you should apply for will depend on where you live and your situation. For more information, speak to a welfare rights adviser.
Who can claim
You can claim Housing Benefit if you live in social housing or a property rented from a private landlord.
- have a low income
- have savings under £16,000 (unless you get Pension Credit)
- live in an area where Universal Credit is not available yet – if Universal Credit is available in your area, you should claim that instead.
Most full-time students are not eligible for Housing Benefit, but there are exceptions.
How much you’ll get
The amount of Housing Benefit you may get will depend on:
- where you live
- your age
- who lives with you
- the number of bedrooms in your home
- your and your partner’s income and savings
- any other benefits you get
- your rent.
If you’re renting from a private landlord, the amount of Housing Benefit you get will be based on Local Housing Allowance rates. These are based on the average local renting cost. Contact your local council for more information.
If your rent is higher than the Local Housing Allowance, you’ll need to pay the difference, but you may also be able to get help through a discretionary housing payment. If your rent is lower than the Local Housing Allowance, you could receive the full amount of your rent, but nothing above that amount.
Limits for single people aged 25–34
Single people aged 25–34 who rent from a private landlord are now only entitled to the Housing Benefit ‘shared accommodation rate’.
In this case, a single person means someone who:
- isn’t living with someone as a couple
- doesn’t have dependent children.
The shared accommodation rate is the amount of Housing Benefit you would get if you were renting a single room in a shared house. It is based on the level of local rents for shared properties. Even if you are not in a shared house and are renting somewhere on your own, you are still only entitled to the shared accommodation rate.
Under-occupancy rule (bedroom tax)
People living in local council or housing association accommodation may have their Housing Benefit reduced if the council decides their home is too big for their needs.
This is sometimes called the ‘under-occupancy rule’ or ‘bedroom tax’. You won’t be affected by this change if you’re getting State Pension. A bedroom for an overnight carer may be excluded from the under-occupancy rule in some cases. Speak to a welfare rights adviser if you think this may affect you. You may be able to claim a Discretionary Housing Payment to cover bedroom tax costs.
The benefit cap may also affect the total amount of benefits you get, including Housing Benefit.
For more information, call the Macmillan Support Line on 0808 808 00 00 to speak to an experienced welfare rights adviser.