If you are on a low income or receive benefits, you may be entitled to assistance from the local council with paying your rent through Housing Benefit.
Assistance with paying your rent
You are entitled to Housing Benefit if your income and capital (savings and investment) are below a certain level or if you are claiming any of the following benefits:
•Employment and Support Allowance
You can obtain a claim form from your local council. You will need to return your completed Housing Benefit form directly to your local council.
You are not usually entitled to Housing Benefit if:
•You have savings of over £16,000 (unless you are aged 60 or over and receive the 'guarantee credit' or Pension Credit as you can claim HB irrespective of the level of your savings)
•You live in the home of a close relative
•You are a full time student (unless you are disabled or have children)
•You are an asylum seeker or are sponsored to be in the UK
Please note you are responsible for applying for Housing Benefit and providing your local council with all of the requested information in support of your claim. Housing Benefit is usually paid every four weeks in arrears.
If you arrange for Housing Benefit payments to be made directly to you, you will need to ensure these payments are made towards your rent promptly.
If you are entitled to partial payment of Housing Benefit, you will also need to ensure you pay your outstanding portion of the rent promptly.
What if my circumstances change?
If your circumstances change and you receive Housing Benefit, you must notify your local council straight away. This could include:
•If any of your children leave school or home
•If anyone moves into or out of your home
•If your income, or the income of anyone living with you changes
•If your capital or savings change
•If your rent changes
•If you or your partner are going to be away from your home for more than a month
•If you move
If you are moving home, you can claim Housing Benefit up to 13 weeks (or 17 weeks if you are aged 60 or over) before you move. You will not usually receive any money before you move into your new home.
If you do not promptly advise your council of any changes in your circumstances, you may not be entitled to claim a backdated payment of Housing Benefit within the required timescales.
For further information on benefits and what you may be entitled to, directgov, the official government website provides useful information. To find out more visit www.direct.gov.uk
Additional advice on benefits and grants
Turn2us is an independent charity that helps people access the money available to them - through welfare benefits, grants and other help. It's free, accessible website is a comprehensive and invaluable resource that helps you find sources of financial support, quickly and easily, based on your particular needs and circumstances.
The website contains a wide range of easy to understand information and advice specifically target to you if you:
•are on a low income
•are out of work
•are sick or disabled
•have been bereaved
• are a carer
Visit www.turn2us.org.uk for a wealth of useful information.
NB: A useful leaflet from the National Housing Federation is available to download by clicking on the link on the right-hand side of this page.