Housing Benefit

Benefits and money advice

Alert

From 16 May 2018, changes to benefits mean that if you need help with your rent, you may need to apply for Universal Credit instead of Housing Benefit.

Find out more about Universal Credit and help with your rent

To find out about all aspects of Universal Credit, not just rent, visit the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) Understanding Universal Credit website.

Should I apply for Housing Benefit or Universal Credit for help with my rent?

This will depend on several things including:

  • your circumstances
  • where you live
  • if you’re making a new benefits claim
  • if you have a change in circumstances

To find out which benefit you should apply for, please see our page Universal Credit and help with your rent.

You can still apply for Council Tax Support and free school meals if you claim Universal Credit or Housing Benefit.

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 already receiving Universal Credit or if you're entitled to claim Universal Credit based on your circumstances and the area where you live

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 circumstances

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.

Apply for Housing Benefit Click to get info

Apply online

Apply for Housing Benefit 

If you need help paying your Council Tax, you can also use this form to apply for Council Tax Support. Find out more on our Council Tax Support page.

Apply at a Library Plus

You can apply online using the self-service PCs at any of these Library Plus branches:

If you need help completing the online form, staff will be available to help you.

In some cases, we may be able to make a home visit to take your application for Housing Benefit. If you're housebound and don’t have any family or friends who can help you, call us on 020 8496 3000 and tell us why you need a home visit.

Once you've submitted your claim form, we may write to you and ask you to provide evidence to support it. If possible, please upload it online.

Online

Upload benefits evidence

  1. Take a picture or scan of the document you want to send us, and save it on your computer. Please check all pictures and files before you submit them to make sure that all details can be seen clearly.
  2. Complete the online form, attach the pictures or files, then submit the form
  3. Your details and documents will be sent securely to us.

Image files need to be in any of the following formats: GIF, JPG, JPEG, TIFF, PDF, BMP, PNG. No single file should be larger than 10MB.

By post

If you can't upload your evidence online, you can sent it to us by post, to the address at the bottom of this page. Please note, we can't accept responsibility for any documents list in the post. 

In person

You can drop off your evidence to any of our Library Plus branches:

If you've had a change in circumstances, please tell us first, using the online form on our change of circumstances page. We'll let you know if we need you to bring any additional evidence.

What happens next?

We aim to process your application within 10 working days.

You must tell us about a move, or a change in your circumstances.

You may be prosecuted if you deliberately give us false information, or don’t tell us of a change in your circumstances, to get more benefit than you're entitled to.

Please see our change in circumstances web page for more information and to use the online form.

Local Housing Allowance Click to get info

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

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.

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 per cent
  • two or more spare bedrooms, your Housing Benefit will be reduced by 25 per cent

It doesn’t matter how the spare bedroom is used. A bedroom will still be counted as 'spare' if:

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

Spare bedrooms for carers

If you're working age, have a disability and need a spare bedroom so a carer can stay overnight, contact us at the address at the bottom of this page, so we can help you keep more of your Housing Benefit.

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. They may be expected to pay towards your housing costs.

This 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 2018

Non-dependant’s income

Amount deducted after 1 April 2018

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

£15.25

Getting main phase ESA (IR)

£14.65

Getting state pension credits

NIL

Aged 18+ and in remunerative work, and:

 
  • gross weekly income: less than £136
£15.25
  • gross weekly income: £136.00 to £199.99
£35
  • gross weekly income: £200.00 to £258.99
£48.05
  • gross weekly income: £259.00 to £345.99
£78.65
  • gross weekly income: £346.00 to £429.99
£89.55
  • gross weekly income: more than £430.00
£98.30

Exceptions

We don't make a deduction for any non-dependant, if you or your partner is:

  • registered blind
  • getting Attendance Allowance, or 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 don't 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 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 the child of you, or your partner and is in the armed forces, deployed on operations

Changes in circumstances

You need to tell us if the non-dependant’s circumstances change. Please complete our change in circumstances form

The benefits cap Click to get info

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

Housing Benefit is included in the benefits cap. Council Tax Support, Discretionary Housing Payments and Housing Benefit for supported accommodation are not included.

For people living within Greater London, the cap is:

  • £442.31 per week (£23,000 a year) for a couple, whether your children live with you or not
  • £442.31 per week (£23,000 a year) if you’re single and your children live with you
  • £296.35 per week (£15,410 a year) if you’re single and you don't have children, or your children don't live with you​

Am I affected by the benefits cap?

There are lots of exceptions that mean the benefits cap may not apply to your situation.

Please visit GOV.UK to find out more about the benefits cap, including which circumstances mean you won't be affected by it.

You can access your Housing Benefit and Council Tax Support claim online 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.

For council tenants

We’ll pay your Housing Benefit straight into your rent account.

We’ll tell you how much your Housing Benefit is, and how much your rent payments will be.

For 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 (56KB Word doc) outlines how we pay Local Housing Allowance 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.

For Housing Association tenants

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

Please see our information for landlords page for details of:

  • what information we can give you about your tenant’s Housing Benefit
  • how we pay Housing Benefit
  • changes in circumstances you should tell us about

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

You can use our online revision and appeal form to:

  • 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

If you're getting Housing Benefit or Universal Credit and you're unable to cover your housing costs, you can apply for a discretionary housing payment.

If you're struggling to pay your Council Tax you can apply for Council Tax Support.

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