Housing Benefit

Benefits and money advice

Housing Benefit can help you pay some or all of your rent if:

  • you’re on benefits
  • you get a pension
  • you're working but on a low income
  • you need help paying the rent
  • you're unemployed

You can’t get Housing Benefit if:

  • you're a student
  • you have more than £16,000 savings, stocks and shares or other capital unless you get guarantee credit of pension
  • you're receiving Universal Credit
You can access your housing benefit and council tax support claim on-line with our Benefits Connect self service.  
It's simple to use and you can find details about your claim, including information about payments and how we've calculated your entitlement.

Benefit calculator Click to get info

Calculate how much Housing Benefit you could get.

Use the information you entered to start your claim.

The amount of benefit you get depends on:

  • your income
  • other benefits you are claiming
  • the amount of other money, savings or investments you have
  • the income and savings of other people who live in your home

Your benefit may be reduced if you have somebody else living with you who isn’t your partner.  

If you have savings between £6,000 and £16,000 you may not get the full amount of Housing Benefit. 

If you’re not sure if you earn too much to qualify, you should claim anyway.

Single people under 35

If you’re single, under 35 years old and live in private housing, we'll limit your Housing Benefit to the market rent for a single room.

This is called shared accommodation rate

Apply for Housing Benefit Click to get info

Apply online

Make a claim online for Housing Benefit now

Visit us

Visit us at Leyton Library, Leytonstone Library, North Chingford Library or Walthamstow Library to:

  • make an online claim for Housing Benefit using our self-service computers
  • report a change in your circumstances if you are already claiming benefit
  • drop off evidence and information to support your benefit claim

Home visit

If you are housebound and don’t have any family or friends who can help you, call us on 020 8496 3000 and give a brief reason why you need a visit.

Providing evidence to support your claim

Once you have submitted your claim form we may ask you to provide evidence to support your claim.

See how and where you can give us evidence to support your claim.

If you need more help with your housing costs, including Council Tax, you can apply for a Discretionary Housing Payment.

You need to tell us about a move or change in your circumstances, so you can make sure you're paying the right amount of council tax and getting the right benefit.  Visit our tell us about changes in your circumstances page to learn more.

Local Housing Allowance Click to get info

Local Housing Allowance (LHA) is the name for Housing Benefit for most tenants of private landlords who claim Housing Benefit after April 2008.

Visit our Local Housing Allowance page for more information.

Spare bedroom reductions Click to get info

If you have more bedrooms than the government says you need, your Housing Benefit could be reduced.

If you have one spare bedroom, your Housing Benefit will be reduced by 14%.

If you have two or more spare bedrooms, your Housing Benefit will be reduced by 25%.

It doesn’t matter how the ‘spare’ bedroom is used, even if:

  • you and your partner need to sleep apart because of a medical condition
  • your children mainly live at another address, but you have a spare room for when they stay with you

Spare bedrooms for carers

If you are working age, have a disability and need a ‘spare’ bedroom so a carer can stay overnight, contact the Benefits Service so we can help you keep more of your Housing Benefit.

The benefits cap Click to get info

The ‘benefits cap’ refers to the maximum amount of certain benefits you can get if you are working age.

Changes to the level of the benefits cap were announced in the summer budget in 2015 and these changes are effective from 7 November 2016.

If your benefits are affected by the benefits cap, you don’t need to do anything; staff at the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) will contact you regarding the changes.

The new amounts

The total amount a couple or those with children will be able to claim in benefits is:

  • £442.31 a week in London (£23,000 a year)
  • £384.62 a week outside London (£20,000 a year)

The total amount a single person without children will be able to claim in benefits is:

  • £296.35 a week in London (£15,410 a year)
  • £257.69 a week outside London (£13,400 a year)

The old amounts for those living in Greater London were £26,000 per year (£500 per week) for couples and those with children, and £18,200 per year (£350 per week) for single people without children.  

Am I affected by the benefits cap?

You are not affected by the cap if you or your partner work, and either of the following apply:

  • you or your partner are eligible for Working Tax Credit
  • you or your partner get Universal Credit, and your household income is more than £430 a month after tax and National Insurance

What benefits are included in the cap?

The cap applies to the total amount people in your household (you, your partner and any children living with you) get from the following benefits:

  • Bereavement Allowance
  • Carers Allowance (this won’t be affected by the benefit cap from autumn 2016)
  • Child Benefit
  • Child Tax Credit
  • Employment and Support Allowance (unless you get the ‘support’ component)
  • Guardian’s Allowance (this won’t be affected by the benefit cap from autumn 2016)
  • Housing Benefit
  • Incapacity Benefit
  • Income Support
  • Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • Maternity Allowance
  • Severe Disablement Allowance
  • Widowed Parent’s Allowance (or Widowed Mother’s Allowance or Widows Pension if you started getting it before 9 April 2001)
  • Universal Credit (unless you’ve had a work capability assessment and aren’t fit for work)

Benefits that aren’t included

You are not affected by the cap if anyone in your household qualifies for Working Tax Credit or gets any of the following benefits:

  • Armed Forces Compensation Scheme
  • Armed Forces Independence Payment
  • Attendance Allowance
  • Disability Living Allowance (DLA)
  • Employment and Support Allowance (if you get the support component)
  • Industrial Injuries Benefits (and equivalent payments as part of a War Disablement Pension or the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme)
  • Personal Independence Payment (PIP)
  • Universal Credit payment for ‘limited capability for work and work-related activity’
  • War pensions
  • War Widow’s or War Widower’s Pension
  • Carers allowance from 7 November 2016
  • Guardian’s allowance from 7 November 2016

Other payments not included in the benefits cap

  • Council tax support
  • Discretionary housing payments
  • Social fund / budgeting loan
  • Winter fuel payments
  • Statutory maternity, paternity or adoption pay
  • Statutory sick pay
  • Housing benefit for supported accommodation.

What if I am struggling financially

If you are unable to cover your housing costs in the short term, you can apply for a discretionary housing payment.

For information on additional help available visit our other help pages.

More information

If you need more information on the benefits cap, please visit the benefits section on GOV.UK.

You can also call DWP if you need help with the benefit cap.

For Universal Credit
Telephone: 0345 600 0723
Textphone: 0345 600 0743
Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm

You can also contact DWP through the journal in your Universal Credit online account.

For any other benefits
Telephone: 0345 605 7064
Textphone: 0345 608 8551
Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm

See an outline of changes to the benefits system and the introduction of Universal Credit.

If you’re getting Housing Benefit or Universal Credit but are still having difficulty meeting your housing costs, the Discretionary Housing Payment (DHP) scheme can help.

Non-dependant deductions Click to get info

If you have other people over the age of 18 living with you it may affect your housing benefit because they are expected to pay towards housing costs.

The person may be a:

  • relative
  • friend
  • child that you no longer get child benefit for.

They are called ‘non-dependants’.

We take set amounts off your benefit depending on their weekly income.

Even if your non-dependant doesn’t give you anything, or you don’t want to take anything, the law says that we still have to take the set amounts off your benefit.

Non-dependant deductions from April 2017

 

Non-dependant’s income

Amount deducted

Aged under 25 and getting income support, income based JSA or ESA which does not include the support or work related components

NIL

Aged 25 or over and on IS or JSA(IB) or aged over 18 or over and not in remunerative work

£14.80

Getting main phase ESA(IR)

£14.80

Getting state pension credits

NIL

Aged 18+ and in remunerative work, and:

 

  • gross weekly income: less than £136

£14.80

  • gross weekly income: £136.00 to £199.99

£34.00

  • gross weekly income: £200.00 to £258.99

£46.65

  • gross weekly income: £259.00 to £345.99

£76.35

  • gross weekly income: £346.00 to £429.99

£86.95

  • gross weekly income: more than £430.00

£95.45

 

Exceptions

We do not make a deduction for any non-dependant if you or your partner is:

  • registered blind
  • getting attendance/constant attendance allowance
  • getting the care component of disability living allowance (DLA)
  • getting the standard or enhanced rate of the daily living component of personal independence payment (PIP)
  • getting armed forces independence payment

We do not make a deduction if the non-dependant:

  • is under 18
  • is under 25 and getting income support or income based JSA or ESA (assessment phase)
  • is under 25, has no earned income and is getting universal credit
  • is on a work based training for young people and getting a training allowance
  • is a full time student or student nurse
  • has been in hospital for more than 52 weeks
  • is in legal custody
  • usually lives elsewhere
  • is getting pension credits
  • is yours or your partner’s son or daughter in the armed forces and deployed on operations

Changes in circumstances

You need to tell us if the non-dependant’s circumstances change and complete an on-line change in circumstances form

If the other adult has moved, please ensure that you tell us their new address. 

Council tenants

We’ll pay your Housing Benefit straight into your rent account so you won’t have to pay the full rent. We’ll tell you how much your Housing Benefit is, and how much your rent payments will be.

Private tenants

Housing Benefit is paid directly to you or to your landlord depending on your circumstances.

Local Housing Allowance (LHA) is the name for those claiming housing benefit since April 2008.

LHA is usually paid straight into your bank account but we may be able to pay your LHA direct to your landlord if:

  • you’ve managed to negotiate a lower rent with your landlord, and
  • paying rent directly will help you to secure or retain the tenancy
  • you're unable to manage the payment yourself, for example for health reasons

Our safeguard policy (Word doc, 56KB) outlines how Local Housing Allowance will be paid to vulnerable people.

You can choose to have your benefit paid into your bank account or direct to your landlord if:

  • you were claiming benefit before 7 April 2008, and have not moved or had a break in your claim
  • you live in a caravan, mobile home or houseboat
  • you live in bed and breakfast accommodation or a hostel
  • your tenancy began before 15 January 1989, or
  • you live in accommodation where you’re cared for, supported, or supervised, and your rent includes a charge for this service

Visit our Local Housing Allowance page to learn more about this.

Housing Association tenants

We can pay your benefit into your bank account or to your landlord.

If you disagree with our decision about your Housing Benefit, you must tell us in one month of the date of the decision letter.

You can:

  • ask for an explanation of how we calculated your benefit
  • ask us to look at the decision again
  • ask for an appeal hearing from the Tribunals Service

You can tell us that you want an explanation, disagree with our decision, or want to appeal by completing our online revision and appeal form.

Information for landlords Click to get info

Find out what information we can give you about your tenant’s Housing Benefit, how we pay Housing Benefit and any changes in circumstances you should tell us about, on our information for landlords page.

If you don't have a computer, you can visit a Library Plus branch to use our self-service to log your request/report. Someone will be there to help you if you need it.​​​​​​​

Contact Click to get info

Revenues and Benefits Service

London Borough of Waltham Forest 
PO Box 856 
London 
E17 9PN 
Phone: 020 8496 3000 
Email: revenue.services@walthamforest.gov.uk