Housing Benefit is a social security benefit given by the United Kingdom government in order to help people who can’t pay the housing costs for rented accommodation. After the pension department, this social security benefit is the second as a budget with a total of £23.8 billion in the year 2013-2014. You can ask for Housing Benefit if you can’t pay your rent when you are on a low income. It is possible to request it when you are not working, but even if you have a job. Housing Benefit is paid only for paying the rent, not for covering the heating costs, or of the hot water, energy or even food.
Housing Benefit Advantages
When you get a Housing Benefit you can receive help from the government to pay your rent or a part of it. While there is no fixed amount on how much Housing Benefit you will receive, you can still us a benefits calculator to find out how much money can you get from this social security benefit. If you wonder how you are paid, you need to know that Housing Benefit will be paid by your council into your rent account for council tenants; into your bank account or building society account, for private tenants.
Housing Benefit for Social and Council Housing Rent
If you apply for this type of housing benefit you need to know that the amount you will be receiving will depend on your eligible rent, on your household income(savings, benefits, pensions) more than £6,000; on other circumstances like a disability of a person on your house or depend on the age of the people living with you; spare bedrooms.
- Eligible rent means that you can get an amount of money to help you pay your rent in the area you are living including the service charges like communal laundry or lift maintenance, but not including heating costs.
- Spare bedrooms mean that if you live in a social housing and there is a spare room, your housing benefit will be reduced to 14% of the rent for 1 spare bedroom and 25% for 2 or more bedrooms.
- Sharing bedrooms – it means that bedrooms are expected to be shared by an adult couple and 2 children under 16 of the same sex or 2 children under 10 years old regardless of sex. A single adult can have his own bedroom, also a child that has no bedroom, children with disabilities or other medical conditions, or a resident that is taking care of you or your partner.
Housing Benefit Private Rent
Private Rent is given depending on the area where you live, on your household size, on your income and circumstances. For 1 bedroom you can get up to £260.64, for 2 bedrooms you can get up to £302.33, for 3 bedrooms you can get up to £354.46 and for 4 bedrooms you can get up to £417.02.
If you live in a houseboat or mooring, a caravan site, a room with meals included in the rent, a hostel or a Rent Act protected property you have to Contact your local council to see if you can get a Housing Benefit.
Housing Benefit Eligibility
You can get House Benefit if you pay rent, if you are on low income, or if your savings are below £16,000. If you are employed or unemployed you can apply for Housing Benefit, but if you live with a partner, only one of you can apply. If you are under 35 years of age and you are single, you can apply only for a single room in shared accommodation. You can not get Housing Benefit if you live in a relative’s home, if you are a student in full-time or if you are looking for an asylum, if you are staying in the United Kingdom and you are a citizen from EU looking for a job, or if you are subject to immigration control.
How to Claim Housing Benefit
Housing Benefit can be claimed along with other benefits such as Employment and Support Allowance, Income Support or Jobseeker’s Allowance. You can also claim housing benefits when claiming Universal Credit or Pension Credit. A House Benefit claim can be made in advance by up to 13 weeks or even 17 weeks if you are 60 years old.
Claiming with other benefits
When claiming with other benefits like ESA, JSA or Income Support you need to contact your local Jobcentre Plus and they will send your claim to your council. To contact Jobcentre Plus just use the telephone number 0800 055 6688 or textphone 0800 023 4888, from Monday to Friday, 8 AM to 6 PM.
Claiming Housing Benefit with Universal Credit
When claiming Universal Credit you can not claim Housing Benefit at the same time, but your rent will be paid from the Universal Credit to your landlord directly.
Claim Housing Benefit with Pension Credit
When you claim Housing Benefit with Pension Credit you need to contact the Pension Service to claim it along with Housing Benefit and your claim will be sent to your council. Contact the Pension Service at the telephone number 0800 99 1234 or textphone 0800 169 0133, from Monday to Friday, 8 AM to 6 PM.
Claiming the Housing Benefit itself
When you claim just the Housing Benefit itself you have to apply through your local council.
Housing Benefit claim form
You can find the Housing Benefit claim form the government website. You can download Housing Benefit claim form that you can fill in on screen and then print it(click here), or you can download Housing Benefit claim form you can print and then fill in with a pen(click here) and send it by post. These forms are PDF files and you can get them if you click the links above.
Apply for Housing Benefit Online
If you want to apply for Housing Benefit online you have to take some steps. First, you need to the Housing Benefit section on the government website and read all the information that you can get, learn what you will receive and how to claim this benefit and how to be eligible to apply. When you are ready to apply click Apply through your local council and follow the steps below:
Step 1 – Enter Your Postcode
To start your online application through your local council you have to enter your postcode and click Find button as you can see in the picture above.
Step 2 – Go to your Local Council Website
If you enter for example the postcode SW1A 2AA you will receive the information that this postcode match to the City of Westminster. You have to click the “Go to their website” button and you will be taken to your local council website, the council of City of Westminster in this case.
Step 3 – Read the information on your Local Council website
When you get on your Local council website you can read all the information that you need to apply for a Housing Benefit. You can find the Housing Benefit eligibility conditions, you can log in to your account and apply for housing benefit or other support. Click Log into your housing benefit account and go further.
Step 4 – Log in or Register your Housing Benefit account
If you have already and account click sign in, but if you don’t have an account with your local council, click register and go to the next step. When you register you will have the possibility to access information about Housing Benefit and Council Tax Support or even make payments for local authority services.
Step 5 – Register your Housing Benefit Account
In this example, you are on the website of City of Westminster local council and you have to register your Housing Benefit account. As you can see in the picture above you have to enter your personal details like the First and Last name, your address, your email address which will be also your username if you want, then choose a password and go further. On the next page you have to select the Housing Benefit and add it to your account and then you are ready.
Step 6 – Apply for Housing Benefit
On this step, you have to log in to your account and locate your services. You will see Housing Benefits active because you have selected that option when you registered. To apply for Housing Benefit you have to click the Quick action button – apply and pay.
Step 7 – Start New Housing Benefits Claim Form
As you can see in the picture above, after you have clicked the “Quick action button, apply and pay”, you will be taken to another page into your account where you can see a section for Housing Benefit and Council Tax Support. Click the New Claim Form link and you are ready to start your Housing Benefits application. On this example, for City of Westminster local council, when you click New Claim Form, at the time or writing this article the application form was not working, but normally you should see a web page where you have to enter your details for a Housing Benefits application.
Apply for Housing Benefits By Post
When you want to apply for Housing Benefits by post you have to first locate the forms and then download them, fill all the information and send them by post to your local council. To see these forms go to this link and fill them online or offline and then send them to the right address of your local council.