Housing Benefit is a benefit claimed through the Local Authority that helps you pay your rent.
You might be eligible to receive Housing Benefit if you are on a low income. For example you may be claiming Job Seekers Allowance, or be working part-time on a low wage. You can find out more about who's eligible for Housing Benefit from gov.uk.
Claiming Housing Benefit
If you are eligible for Housing Benefit it's important that you make your claim with your Local Authority as soon as you qualify. For new residents this will be as soon as you sign your tenancy agreement.
Many local authorities now allow you to claim online or download claim forms from their websites. Alternatively call them and ask for an application form to be posted to you, or collect one from their offices.
You are responsible for your Housing Benefit claim. You must ensure that you provide all information requested by the Housing Benefit department and respond to any queries they have within their timescales.
Even if you have your benefit paid directly to us it is still your claim and your responsibility to ensure it is being paid. If it's suspended or stopped you are responsible for paying the rent to us.
If you need help
If you need help to complete a Housing Benefit claim form, or need help with any correspondence from the benefit department you can Contact us.
We can provide advice and support to help you with your claim, or direct you to an agency such as the Citizens Advice Bureau, or a floating support service who will be able to help you.
You will also be able to get advice and information from your Housing Benefit department.
Changes to the benefit system
The benefits system is changing. Housing Benefit and other working age benefits are being replaced with Universal Credit.
Universal Credit will include an element for housing costs so there will be no need for Housing Benefit. New claimants, or current claimants who have a change in their circumstances will be transferred to Universal Credit from October 2013.
Universal Credit will also be paid directly to claimants so in turn you will need to make arrangements for your rent to be paid to us.
Find out more information about the changes in our Benefit changes section of the website.
It's always important to respond to letters or contact from the Housing Benefit office or other benefit agencies and with the changes taking place it's even more important that you do this to prevent your benefits being stopped unnecessarily.