How much Housing Benefit can I claim?
You may be able to get all of your rent paid. But if your rent includes an amount for services, we will reduce your Housing Benefit accordingly. Services include things like, heating, water rates and meals. This is because Housing Benefit does not cover the cost of these services. The amount of Housing Benefit also depends on your income, and whether you have other adults living in your home.
How is my Housing Benefit worked out?
If you get Income Support, Job Seekers Allowance (Income Based), Employment and Support Allowance (Income Related) or Guarantee element of Pension Credit
You will get the full amount of your Eligible Rent (subject to the Valuation Officer's assessment, the Local Housing Allowance rate or the Social Sector Size Criteria, also known as "The Bedroom Tax") as benefit, after any non-dependant deductions and/or service charges have been taken off.
If you do not get Income Support, Job Seekers Allowance (Income Based)**, Employment and Support Allowance (Income Related or Guarantee element of Pension Credit
We work out your Housing Benefit by comparing the money you get each week with your 'applicable amount'. Your applicable amount is the amount of money the Government says you (and your partner and dependent children, if they live with you) need to live on. It is made up of a personal allowance for you and your partner, allowances for dependent children, and extra amounts (usually called "Premiums") for disability, age, single parents and families.
If the money you get each week is less than, or the same as the applicable amount, you will get the full amount of eligible Housing Benefit.
If you have made/are about to make a new claim for Job Seekers Allowance (Income Based) and you are single without children or a disability you may be required to claim Universal Credit.
What money is taken into account when my Benefit is worked out?
We take into account the money you earn from work after money has been taken out for:
- Tax and National Insurance
- Half of any money you pay into a pension fund
We do not take into account:
- The first £5.00 of the money you earn each week, if you are single
- The first £10.00 of the money you (and/or your partner) earn each week, if you are a couple
- The first £20.00 of the money you (and/or your partner) earn each week, if you are disabled, or qualify for a carer premium
- The first £25.00 of the money you earn each week, if you are a single parent
- An extra £17.10 of the money you (and/or your partner) earn each week, if you work an average of 16/30 hours or more per week, and your applicable amount includes a family premium, and this has not been disregarded from your entitlement to a Tax Credit (see below)
- Childcare costs in certain cases
We also take into account:
Any other money you have coming in. This includes most Social Security benefits, all types of Tax Credits, works and private pensions and any savings or capital you have.
We do not take into account:
- Disability Living Allowance (or its replacement Personal Independence Payment)
- Attendance Allowance
- Mobility Allowance
- War Widows/Widowers Pension
- War Disablement Pension
- Maintenance payments for children
- The Tax Credit premium for working 16/30 hours or more
- Child Benefit
But we need to know if you get any of these, as you may get more Housing Benefit, because some of these incomes attract a premium in your applicable amount.
What happens next?
When we get your claim form with all the details of your household, proof of your identity, proof of how much rent you pay, and proof of all income and savings/capital, we will work out your "eligible rent".
Gross Rent - This is the total amount you have to pay your landlord before any services or Housing Benefit are deducted.
Eligible Rent - This is the rent you pay each week after we have taken off the amount you pay for any services.
How much is taken off for services?
If you are a Council Tenant, we will know the amount of your rent which is not eligible for Housing Benefit.
If you are a Housing Association tenant, your tenancy agreement should show the amounts for services which are included in your rent, or your landlord will be able to provide you with proof of these.
If you are a private tenant and not already in receipt of Housing Benefit you will probably be entitled to Local Housing Allowance. Local Housing Allowance is based on the number of rooms people are allowed, not how much the rent is. See "Local Housing Allowance" web pages for more information.
If you pay rent each calendar month
We have to convert this to a weekly figure in order to calculate your eligible rent. The way we do this is set down by Central Government in the Benefit Regulations.
The conversion is done by multiplying the monthly figure by 12 to get an annual amount and dividing by 52 to reach the weekly figure.
A monthly rent of £400.00 converts to £92.31 per week.
If you are a private tenant, and your landlord is NOT a Housing Association, and you do not fall under the Local Housing Allowance scheme we may have to refer your rent to a Valuation Officer.
We will calculate the amount of your eligible rent using the Valuation Officer's decision. If we are still waiting for the Valuation Officer to make a decision when we come to calculate your claim, we will use a temporary figure.
When we receive the Valuation Officer's assessment, we will recalculate your entitlement to Housing Benefit using the new figure. This may mean that we should have been paying you more benefit (an underpayment), or that we have been paying you too much benefit (an overpayment). If we have been paying you too much benefit, you will have to pay it back.
If you have non-dependants living with you
This may reduce the amount of your maximum Housing Benefit .
If your income is more than your applicable amount
We will reduce your Housing Benefit by 65% of the difference. If the remaining amount is 50p per week or more, you will qualify for that amount of Housing Benefit.
Discretionary Housing Payments
If you have been awarded Housing Benefit, but it is less than your eligible rent, and you are in financial difficulty, you may be entitled to some extra help.