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Housing Benefit

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The Housing Benefit will soon be replaced by Universal Credit, which is currently being rolled out across the UK.

Can I claim Housing Benefit?

If you receive a low wage, or no wage at all, you might be able to claim Housing Benefit, whether your home is owned by a public or private landlord.

You can make a claim if:

  1. You receive Income Support, Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance or income-related Employment Support Allowance. 
  2. You have savings of less than £16,000 – then you can claim the maximum level of Housing Benefit. 
  3. You receive the Guarantee Credit part of Pension Credit - your savings will not be taken into account. 
  4. You receive a low wage – whether you’re entitled to the full amount is dependent on the Local Housing Allowance in your area.
  5. You can prove that you have the right to stay in the UK and it’s your normal place of residence.

Can anything affect my claim?

You’re only entitled to Housing Benefit if your income is low or you receive one of the benefits mentioned above.

You might not be able to claim if:

  • you have saving or assets worth more than £16,000 
  • you have a private landlord and your rent is higher than the Local Housing Allowance in your area – you will be asked to pay the difference 
  • your property has more bedrooms than you need, money could be taken off for every ‘extra’ room – this is also known as the Bedroom Tax 
  • your total benefits are more than the Benefit Cap set in July 2013.

What is Bedroom Tax?

As of April 2013, your Housing Benefit could be cut if your property has more bedrooms than you need, meaning that you could lose 14 per cent of your benefit if you have one spare bedroom and 25 per cent if you have two or more spare bedrooms.

You’re allowed to have: 

  • one bedroom for each adult couple 
  • one bedroom for each person 16 or over 
  • one bedroom for two children of the same sex under 16 
  • one bedroom for two children of any sex under 10 
  • one bedroom for any other child.

The Bedroom Tax won’t affect you if you rent your property from a private landlord, and there are some allowances made based on medical grounds or disability.


What is the Benefit Cap?

The benefit cap is a limit on the total amount of certain benefits you can claim and it only applies to you if you’re of working age. At the moment the cap will only affect your housing benefit. You can find out more with our guide.


How do I claim Housing Benefit?

You need to get a claim form from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) or by downloading the form HCTB1.


How will they decide whether I can claim?

The DWP will review all the information in your claim and make an assessment of your income before deciding whether you can receive it.


How much can I get?

The amount you can receive depends on your income and how much your rent is. If your rent is above the accepted level for your area, the extra part of it will not be paid.

If you’re on the lowest levels of income or living on benefits, you could get all or most of your rent paid.


What if I am not happy with the decision?

If you’re not happy with the decision you can ask your Local Authority to reconsider or you can appeal the decision. You will have one month from the decision date to do this.

You can also appeal if you’re unhappy with the reconsideration.

If you need legal help or advice regarding benefits, talk to our Online Advisor or call THT Direct.

 

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The Information Standard: Certified member

This article was last reviewed on 22/9/2014 by C. Berry

Date due for the next review: 30/9/2017

Content Author: J. Font

Current Owner: D. Anyanwu

More information:

Citizens Advice, Advisernet - Housing Benefit

http://www.adviceguide.org.uk/england/benefits_e/benefits_sick_or_disabled_people_and_carers_ew/benefits_personal_independence_payment_e.htm