Getting a decision about your housing benefit claim
Once your claim for housing benefit has been processed, you will receive a decision letter. This page tells you how to work out what the letter says and what you can do if you disagree with it.
Understanding the decision letter
The decision letter will tell you if you are entitled to housing benefit and if so how much.
The letter should include:
- your eligible or maximum rent - this is your rent minus any service charges not covered by housing benefit. You'll need to pay these service charges yourself. Check to see if it says your maximum rent is paid weekly, fortnightly or monthly.
- housing benefit or rent allowance - the amount of benefit that you will receive, or that will be paid directly to your landlord. If this is the same as your eligible rent then you will receive full housing benefit. If this is less than your eligible rent, then you'll have to pay the difference between your rent and the benefit you receive.
- the date benefit is to be paid from - this should be from the date, or the Monday after the date, that you notified the housing benefit department that you wanted to make a claim. Or, if you pay rent on a daily basis from the date you moved in, for example, if you live in a hostel or boarding house or are staying in temporary accommodation provided by the council because you are homeless.
I'm still not sure what it all means
If there is anything in the letter that you are not sure about, phone or write to the housing benefit department for an explanation. You can get help with this from an adviser in your local area.
You can ask the housing benefit department to explain their decision in writing by asking for a 'statement of reasons'. Download a letter requesting a statement of reasons for the benefits decision to send to your council.
I don't agree with the letter - can I do anything?
If there is something in the letter that you disagree with or you think that there has been a mistake, you can ask the council to have another look at their decision. An adviser in your local area may be able to check the decision to see if it is correct. They will also be able to help you challenge the housing benefit department if it is not.