When we receive an application for Housing Benefit we will look at your circumstances and see whether you are eligible and, if so, how much Benefit you should be paid.
We will usually make a decision within 14 days of receiving a completed application form and associated information. If we require further details or the form is not complete we will contact you to explain what further information we need.
The factors, which affect how much you will get, include:
- money you and your partner have coming in, including earnings, most benefits and tax credits and things like occupational pensions
- yours and your partner’s savings
- your circumstances, such as your age, the ages and size of your family, whether you or any of your family are disabled
- whether your household includes a non-dependant
Social housing tenants
If you rent your home from a social housing landlord (housing association) and you are of working age, we will only base your benefit on the number of bedrooms your household needs. If you have one bedroom more than you need, the rent that we base your benefit on will be reduced by 14%. If you have two or more bedrooms more than you need, the rent we base your benefit on will be reduced by 25%.
One bedroom is allocated for the following:
- A couple
- A person who is not a child (but aged 16 and over)
- Two children of the same sex under 16
- Two children who are under 10
- A carer that provides overnight care
- If 2 children are unable to share the same room due to a disability
The following are not subject to the under occupation restriction:
- Shared ownership properties (i.e. Housing Association properties that are part rented and part owned).
- Temporary Accommodation when placed under homelessness legislation.
- Supported ‘exempt’ accommodation (where care, support and supervision is provided by the Housing Association, registered charity or voluntary organisation).
Special rules effect the following groups:
- Approved foster carers whether or not they have a child placed with them or are between placements will be allowed an extra room, as long as they have fostered a child within the last 12 months or become a registered foster carer within the last 12 months.
- Parents with adult children in the Armed Forces who continue to live with their parents will continue to be considered as living at home when applying the size criteria whilst away on operational duty.
Private sector tenants
To work out the housing benefit for all tenants of private sector landlords we use the Local Housing allowance. These figures are set by the Valuation Office and you can find the amount that will apply to you on the Local Housing Allowance pages on gov.uk
In most cases, the Local Housing Allowance will be paid to the claimant however, to protect vulnerable tenants and to reassure their landlords, the Council will have a discretion to pay the landlord. Applications for payments to be made to the landlord can be made by either party, but there will be a requirement to provide sufficient evidence that the claimant is likely to have difficulty in relation to the management of their financial affairs. The application can be found below.
Discretionary Housing Payments
If you are already receiving Housing Benefit and you cannot meet your full rent you can ask for additional help by way of a Discretionary Housing Payment. For more information see our Discretionary Housing Payment page.