The Benefits of Housing and How to Apply for Them

If you have a low income or claim benefits, you may be able to get Housing Benefit to help pay your rent, but most people must claim Universal Credit instead. Before you apply, you should find out if you are eligible for Housing Benefit.

If your Housing Benefit is insufficient to cover your rent, you may be eligible for a Discretionary Housing Payment (DHP). A DHP is an additional payment made to assist you in paying your rent.

Applying for Housing Benefit in your neighborhood

Generally, you must apply through your local council.

Find out how to apply on the website of your local council. GOV.UK has the website for your local council. UK If you can't apply online, the website should tell you if you can apply in person.

If you're applying for other benefits, tell the Jobcentre or Pension Service that you'd like to apply for Housing Benefit as well. This is appropriate if you are applying for:

  • Income Assistance
  • Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) based on income
  • Jobseeker's Allowance (JSA) based on income
  • Pension Benefit

Your completed form should be sent to your local council by the Jobcentre or Pension Service.

Only one of you is eligible for Housing Benefit.

You must fill out the form with your and your partner's information. Your local council will consider both of your incomes when determining how much Housing Benefit you will receive.

If one of you receives ESA, it is usually preferable for the other partner to receive Housing Benefit. Otherwise, you risk receiving less money.

If no one receives ESA, it usually doesn't matter who applies for Housing Benefit.

Completing the form

When answering the questions, be as specific as possible. It's a good idea to gather all of the necessary information before you begin. Check, for example, how much you earn and who is listed on your tenancy agreement.

If your income changes, explain how much you expect to receive and over what time frame. It's fine to provide an estimate; just notify the council.

Include information about any other benefits you receive. It is possible that you will automatically be entitled to the maximum amount of Housing Benefit.

If the form does not ask about your additional benefits, write them down on a separate piece of paper:

  • the advantages you obtain
  • how long have you been claiming them
  • how much you get in benefit payments each week

Include information about any service fees you pay for things like garbage collection or cleaning shared areas outside your apartment. You may be eligible for Housing Benefit to cover the costs if:

  • It is a service for the entire building, not just your apartment.
  • You must pay a fee to live in the building.

Housing Benefit does not cover charges that are solely for you or your home, such as meals or heating for your flat. You can use the Turn2us benefit calculator to see what other assistance you may be eligible for with these charges.

When you apply, ask for your Housing Benefit to be backdated.

Backdating should be addressed in the form, which is sometimes referred to as a 'late claim.'

If there is no section on backdating or late claims, write the following on a separate piece of paper:

  • when you became eligible for Housing Benefit - and want your claim to be backdated to
  • why you couldn't claim earlier

If you are under the State Pension age, your claim can be backdated for up to a month. You'll need to provide a good reason for not claiming earlier, such as if a close relative died or the council gave you incorrect Housing Benefit advice. GOV.UK allows you to check your State Pension age. UK

If you are over the age of the State Pension,

If you or your partner receive Income Support, ESA, or JSA, your claim can be backdated for up to a month. You'll need a good reason for not claiming earlier, such as if a close relative died or the council gave you incorrect Housing Benefit advice.

If neither of you receives Income Support, ESA, or JSA, your claim can be backdated for up to 3 months. You will not have to explain why you were unable to claim earlier.

Include the following information about any money you receive:

  • a Thalidomide Medical Grant

  • the Scottish Infected Blood Support Scheme (SIBSS) or the Infected Blood Scheme (IBS)

If you received NHS treatment in the 1970s or 1980s and the NHS gave you HIV or Hepatitis C-infected blood, you may be eligible for compensation from the IBS or SIBSS.

Your payments will be incorporated into the IBS or SIBSS if you previously received them from:

  • the Caxton Fund

  • Eileen's Trust

  • The Macfarlane Foundation

  • MFET Ltd

  • Skipton's Fund

When calculating your income, the DWP will disregard this money, so you may receive more Housing Benefit.

Send the form to your local government.

If you live close to your local council office, you could deliver the form yourself to save money on postage. When you turn it in, make sure you get a receipt.

If you mail the form, request proof of postage from the Post Office; you may need to prove when you sent it.

If Housing Benefit is insufficient to cover your rent,

You can apply for a Discretionary Housing Payment (DHP), which is a one-time payment to help you pay your rent. You will not be required to repay the funds.

You can request a DHP by doing the following:

  • after you have applied for Housing Benefit
  • when the council informs you of the amount of Housing Benefit you will receive

You can learn how to apply for a DHP.

You can use the Turn2us benefits checker to get an estimate of how much Housing Benefit you'll receive.

What will happen next?

If your claim is approved, you should receive a letter from your local council stating how much Housing Benefit you will receive. If you haven't heard anything after two weeks, contact your local council and request an update.

The letter should also explain how your Housing Benefit will be paid. If you are a private tenant, for example, it is usually deposited directly into your bank account.

You will only have to pay the rent that is not covered by your Housing Benefit if you rent from your local council. If Housing Benefit covers all of your rent, you will not have to pay council rent. You'll still need to check your rent account on a regular basis to ensure that the rent is being paid.

If your claim is denied, you should receive a letter from your local council explaining why. If you believe this decision is incorrect, you may appeal it.

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