Who can claim housing benefit?

If you rent your home from another person, or a housing association, and you are on a low income, you may be entitled to help with paying your rent.

You can claim housing benefit if you are working or claiming benefits. You do not have to be unemployed – you could just be earning a low wage.

Housing benefit is available to single people, families, couples, working people, retired people, the unemployed and anyone on a low income.

You may be entitled to housing benefit whether you live in a house, flat, shared house or a room in a landlord’s home.

You can only claim Housing benefit if:

  • either you or your partner have reached state pension age
  • you are receiving care, support or supervision in the home you live. Your tenancy should be with either a non-metropolitan county council, a housing association, a registered charity, or voluntary organisation – please check with your landlord and/or support worker, or contact us directly to see if you fall into this category
  • you are resident in a refuge after fleeing domestic violence
  • you are living in temporary accommodation provided by the council under our statutory homeless duties, and making a new claim, or have had a change to your rent
  • you receive severe disability premium in your benefit award for Employment and Support Allowance, Housing Benefit, Income Support or Job Seeker’s Allowance. If you received this premium and it has ended less than a month ago, you can make a new claim for Housing Benefit.
  • you are in receipt of Housing Benefit already. You will remain on Housing Benefit until you have a change in circumstances that requires a new claim for JSA(IB), ESA (IR), Tax credits* or Housing Benefit at another local authority. Some examples are losing a job, becoming sick, becoming fit for work after illness, having a first child, moving into work from unemployment or moving out of the local authority area.

*If you receive Child Tax Credit then becoming entitled to Working Tax Credit does not count as a new claim

If you are not covered by any of the above then you will need to apply for Universal Credit.

While you are wait for a decision on your Universal Credit application, you can still claim Council Tax Reduction. Please complete your application as soon as possible.

You will not be entitled to Housing Benefit if:

  • your tenancy is not on a commercial basis
  • you pay rent to a close relative (parent, parent-in-law, son, son-in-law, daughter, daughter-in-law, step parent, step son, step daughter, brother, sister) and live in the same property
  • you, or your partner, pay rent to your former partner and you and your former partner used to live in the property you are now renting
  • you, or your partner, pay rent to someone who is the parent of your child
  • your tenancy is longer than 21 years
  • you live in tied accommodation i.e. your living in the property is a condition of your employment
  • you previously owned the property you are renting within the last five years, unless you could not continue to live in the property without giving up ownership
  • you are wholly maintained by a religious order
  • you are in residential accommodation i.e. care home or an independent hospital
  • certain trustees and company directors who rent from a trust or company, unless you can satisfy the council the liability was not taken out to take advantage of the Housing Benefit scheme.

If you would like more advice on whether you are entitled to benefits, please contact the Benefits team (see contacts section of this page), or call in to the council’s offices.