Applying for Housing Benefit
You could get Housing Benefit if you or your partner are State Pension age, or if you're living in temporary or supported housing. You apply through your local council.
Check if you can get Housing Benefit
You could be eligible if any of these apply to you:
you’re single and you're State Pension age
you and your partner are both State Pension age
you or your partner started claiming Pension Credit before 15 May 2019
you live in temporary housing arranged by the council
you live in a domestic abuse refuge
you live in sheltered or supported housing where you get care, support or supervision
Your eligibility also depends on your income and savings.
If you’re not a British or Irish citizen
Your benefits entitlement depends on your immigration status. You can usually get Housing Benefit or other benefits if you have:
settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme
refugee status or humanitarian protection
right of abode
indefinite leave to remain, unless you’re sponsored by a family member
a visa under the Ukraine family scheme or the Homes for Ukraine scheme
If you have a different status, check your rights on Citizens Advice.
Check how much you can get towards your rent
If you rent from the council or housing association, Housing Benefit will usually cover the full cost of your rent.
If you rent privately, the maximum you'll get is based on the Local Housing Allowance rate in your area.
Your Housing Benefit could be reduced if:
you or your partner have income from work
you live with other adults who count as non-dependants
you're affected by the benefit cap or the bedroom tax
Check what other benefits you can get
You could also get other benefits, like Universal Credit or Pension Credit. Use the Turn2Us Benefits Calculator to check what you're entitled to.
Claiming different benefits could affect how much you get overall. Contact a benefits adviser at Citizens Advice to check if you'll be better off.
How to apply
Find your council's contact details on GOV.UK. The council should give you an application form and tell you where to send it.
You’ll need to provide information and evidence about your rent and service charges, your income and savings, and who you live with.
If you’re applying for Pension Credit, you can apply for Housing Benefit as part of your claim.
Make sure all the information you give is correct. If you're overpaid because of wrong information in your application, you’ll have to pay back the money and you could be fined.
You can apply up to 13 weeks before you need the money. You might be able to get your claim backdated in some cases.
How Housing Benefit is paid
If you rent from the council, the money automatically goes towards your rent.
If you rent from a housing association or a private landlord, the money will be paid to you every 4 weeks. You’ll need to pay your rent to the landlord when it's due.
If you're having difficulties budgeting, you can ask the council to pay your Housing Benefit directly to your landlord.
If your circumstances change
To make sure you keep getting the right amount, report any changes that might affect your benefits. If you’re overpaid, you could have to pay the money back.
Report these changes to the council as soon as possible:
your marital status changes, or you start living with your partner
someone moves in or out of your home, including children
you move house
you start a new job or leave a job
you become a student
you have a child or become a carer
your rent goes up or down
your health condition changes or you become disabled
your immigration status changes
there’s a change in your or your partner’s other benefits, pensions, savings or investments
You should also report any changes in your bank details or contact details.
If you disagree with a Housing Benefit decision
You can challenge the council’s decision within 1 month of the date on your decision letter.
Step 1: ask for an explanation
If you’re not sure why the decision was made, ask the council for a written explanation. This can help you decide whether to challenge it.
Step 2: ask for a review
Write to the council and ask them to review the decision. Explain why you think it’s wrong and give evidence if possible.
A different person at the council should consider your claim and look at any new evidence you’ve provided. They may ask you for more information.
You’ll get a letter telling you whether the decision has been changed.
Step 3: make an appeal
If the decision is still not changed, ask the council for an appeal form, or write to them saying you want to make an appeal.
Your appeal will be sent to a tribunal. They’ll look at all the evidence and decide if the decision should be changed.
Check Citizens Advice for help with appealing a Housing Benefit decision.
Last updated: 21 December 2022