Housing Benefit is 'means tested', which means we compare your weekly income and your 'needs figure' to work out what you are entitled to.

Your 'needs figure'

Your 'needs figure' includes an amount for you and your partner (with additions for dependant children), or if you are of Pension Credit age. It may also include extra amounts if you are sick or disabled, or a carer.

We may also consider your savings, other benefits and pensions you may receive. However, we do not take some income, such as Disability Living Allowance, into account.

Your Housing Benefit entitlement

How we calculate your entitlement:

  • if your income is less than your needs figure, you may get maximum Housing Benefit
  • if your income is greater than your needs figure, we will reduce your weekly Housing Benefit by 65 pence for every extra £1.00 of income you have
  • if you have a 'non-dependant' living with you, such as a grown-up child or elderly relative, we may reduce the benefit you receive

Use our online calculator and claim form to work out how much you could be entitled to and claim online.

What Housing Benefit covers

Council or housing association tenants

If you are a council or housing association tenant, Housing Benefit only covers your basic rent - this is called your 'eligible rent'.

Before we work out your Housing Benefit, we take charges off your rent for some services; for example:

  • water charges
  • fuel charges
  • meals
  • cleaning
  • laundry

The amount we take off is either the amount you pay or, if this is not known, a fixed amount set by the government.

Private tenants

If you are a private tenant and you made your initial claim on or after 7 April 2008, we will work out your benefit using the Local Housing Allowance.

If you are a private tenant and you made your initial claim before 7 April 2008, we will work out your benefit using a rent figure provided by the Rent Service which may be lower than the actual rent you pay.

Housing Benefit restrictions

We may restrict the amount of benefit you receive if:

  • your rent is unreasonably expensive or high
  • your home is bigger than you and your family need
  • your rent is at the ‘top end’ of the market
  • your rent is higher than average for rents of similar sized accommodation in your area

However, if your tenancy began before 15 January 1989, you will usually be protected by the Rent Act 1977. Under this Act, you have the right to register for a Fair Rent meaning that your Housing Benefit shouldn't be restricted.

Also see

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