Claim housing benefit

How to claim housing benefit, the documents you need, and what happens after you apply.

In most cases you will need to apply for Universal Credit instead of housing benefit.

You still need to apply for housing benefit if:

  • you are of state pension age 
  • you're in temporary accommodation provided by our Housing Options team or
  • you live in supported housing.

If you live in supported housing

Your landlord must be a housing association, a registered charity, a not-for-profit voluntary organisation, an English non-metropolitan county council, a local authority hostel or a domestic violence refuge.

They will let you know if you need to apply for housing benefit and can help with your application.

They also need to give us more information about you and your property, and the care or support they give you:

Your claim might take longer for us to decide because of the extra information we need.

How to make a claim

You must:

  • rent your home or pay rent as a tenant, lodger or boarder in a hostel or bed and breakfast
  • be on a low income or qualify for a benefit paid by the DWP or the Pension Service
  • have savings of less than £16,000
  • live in the home you're claiming housing benefit for

You can't get housing benefit if you're a full-time student or you live with a close relative and pay them rent.

In some circumstances you may be able to get housing benefit for two homes, such as:

  • you've moved into other rented accommodation due to fear of violence
  • you're a large family and have been housed in two properties
  • you've moved to a new home but have to continue paying rent on your old home

If you have a good reason for not claiming earlier we might be able to backdate any award you're given.

You can only claim for a backdated payment of up to one month if you are of working age, or three months if you are of pensionable age.

As you go through the claim form, we'll tell you what documents you need to give us and how you can do this. You can also see documents you might need for a claim before you apply.

Make a claim for housing benefit

What happens after you make a claim

We'll look at your claim and tell you what the outcome is. You must tell us about any changes to your circumstances.

We usually pay housing benefit awards from the Monday after the date we receive your claim.