Housing Benefit

This information applies to England and Wales.

Housing Benefit is a benefit to help you pay rent if you’re on a low income. This includes renting:

  • from a private landlord
  • through the council
  • or a housing association

Housing Benefit eligibility

Housing Benefit is being replaced by Universal Credit.

You can only make a new claim for Housing Benefit if you:

  • are over State Pension age (and your partner who lives with you is too)
  • live in temporary accommodation arranged by the council
  • live in sheltered accommodation

There’s no minimum length of stay, as long as you are liable to pay the rent.

Your local council pays Housing Benefit.

Apply through your local council (GOV.UK)

If you’re not eligible for Housing Benefit, check if you can claim Universal Credit (GOV.UK).

Warning If you have a mortgage

You cannot claim Housing Benefit if you have a mortgage. If you need help to pay your mortgage, it’s best to contact your lender first.

Government help if you cannot pay your mortgage (MoneyHelper)

How much Housing Benefit you get

Housing Benefit is means-tested. This means that to work out how much you’re eligible for, the council considers:

  • your income and savings
  • your partner’s income and savings if you live together
  • other people you live with
  • how many bedrooms you have
  • if you’re liable to pay rent, for example if your name is on the lease
  • if your rent includes any service charges, like cleaning for communal areas
  • average rent prices where you live if you rent from a private landlord

You will skip the means-test and get the maximum amount of Housing Benefit if you already claim:

  • Universal Credit
  • Income Support
  • Income-based Jobseekers Allowance (JSA)
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
  • Pension Credit guarantee credit

Use the Turn2us calculator to see how much Housing Benefit you can claim.

If you live with other people

A ‘non-dependent’ is another adult you live with who is not your partner. For example, a grown-up child, a friend or parent. If they do not pay rent, the council may take their income into account and deduct some money from your Housing Benefit. This is called a ‘non-dependent deduction’.

If you live with a non-dependent, there is no deduction if you or your partner are registered blind or receive 1 of the following benefits:

  • Attendance Allowance
  • Armed Forces Independence Payment
  • Disability Living Allowance (DLA) care component
  • Personal Independence Payment (PIP) daily living component

There is also no deduction if the non-dependent gets Pension Credit.

Or if they are under 25 and receive 1 of the following benefits:

  • Income Support
  • Income-based JSA
  • Universal Credit with no income from earnings

Warning If you or your child gets Disability Living Allowance (DLA) or Personal Independence Payment (PIP)

Most people cannot make a new claim for Housing Benefit.

If you or your child move from DLA to PIP, your Housing Benefit claim will not be affected. DLA and PIP do not count as income for Housing Benefit.

If you have a disabled child, you might get Disabled Child Premium added to your Housing Benefit if:

  • your child claims DLA or PIP and
  • your child is under 16 or a qualifying young person

Qualifying young person when your child is 16 to 19

You may receive more money if you are not already receiving the maximum Housing Benefit.

You will continue to get Disabled Child Premium if your child remains a qualifying young person and the PIP claim is successful. If they do not receive PIP, the Disabled Child Premium will stop.

If you have spare bedrooms

If you are under State Pension age and are in social housing, your Housing Benefit reduces by:

  • 14% for 1 spare bedroom
  • 25% for 2 or more spare bedrooms

For example, if your rent is £100 per week, the maximum benefit you can get to help with rent is:

  • £86 if you have 1 spare room
  • £75 if you have 2 or more spare rooms

Bedroom tax and housing benefits

Check if you’re allowed an extra bedroom for Housing Benefit (Citizens Advice)

Challenging a benefits decision

Local Housing Allowance (LHA)

LHA rates are used to calculate Housing Benefit for tenants renting from private landlords.

Rates are based on the average rent being paid by people with either:

  • the same number of bedrooms as the property where you live
  • the number of rooms you and your household needs

Use your postcode to check LHA rates where you live (Directgov)

Discretionary Housing Payments (DHPs)

If your Housing Benefit or Universal Credit does not fully cover your rent, you may be able to apply for a DHP. Each council has a different application process. They will look at your circumstances to decide if you’re eligible.

DHP cannot be used to cover Council Tax.

Help with Council Tax

Discretionary Housing Payment

Applying for a Discretionary Housing Payment (GOV.UK)

Other benefits that may affect your claim

Mostly Housing Benefit does not affect other benefits you claim. But some benefits count as income, and these can affect how much money you get in Housing Benefit. These include:

  • Carer’s Allowance
  • Contributory ESA
  • Contributory JSA
  • Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit
  • Maternity Allowance
  • Statutory Sick Pay (SSP)
  • Tax credits

Benefits that do not count as income and will not affect your claim include:

  • PIP
  • DLA
  • Armed Forces Independence Payment (AFIP)
  • Attendance Allowance
  • Bereavement Support Payment
  • Child Benefit
  • Guardian’s Allowance

Find a benefits adviser (Turn2us).

Last reviewed by Scope on: 09/02/2023

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