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What is Housing Benefit?
Housing Benefit is a means-tested benefit payable to people on a
low income who are liable to pay rent for their home. It is
paid whether or not they are available for or in full-time work and
is paid in addition to other benefits or tax credits.
How is Housing Benefit worked out?
Housing Benefit adds together the same allowances and premiums
(not housing costs) as Income Support to come up with an applicable
- if your income (earnings, benefits, capital etc.) is less than
your applicable amount, your Housing Benefit entitlement will be
100 per cent of your eligible rent but;
- if your income is more than your applicable amount, your
Housing Benefit will be reduced by 65 per cent of the difference
between your applicable amount and income.
If tenants live in council accommodation or other social
housing, new rules applied from April 2013 regarding the
calculation of housing benefit. The housing benefit will be
assessed taking into consideration the size of accommodation the
Local Housing Allowance is used to calculate new claims for
Housing Benefit tenants renting accommodation from a private
landlord. It also affects tenants already getting Housing Benefit
who move into accommodation rented from a private landlord.
For people who receive Housing and/or Council Tax reduction
and appear to need further help they can apply for
Discretionary Housing Payments.
Who can claim Housing Benefit
To be eligible for Housing Benefit, you must:
- have less than £16,000 in savings and capital
- have a low enough income (how low depends on your
- be treated as liable to pay rent on your normal home
- normally occupy that accommodation as your home
- not be excluded from claiming.
The following forms are also available
It is important to return the form as soon as possible as
benefit will usually be paid from the Monday after we receive your
You will also need to provide evidence of your income, savings
Do not wait until you have all the proof asked for on the form;
this can be sent separately.
Tenants can also estimate
their entitlement to housing benefit online.
Further benefits advice can be found on the DWP
Benefits Advisor Service.
How benefit is paid
If you pay your rent to Medway Council or mhs housing, payments
will be made directly to your rent account.
Under the Local Housing Allowance scheme if you pay rent to a
private landlord, payment will be made directly to yourself.
If payment is made to you this will be done every two weeks in
arrears. If payment is made to your landlord this will be done
every four weeks in arrears.
Understanding your benefit decision notice
When we make a decision about you claim, we will send you a
benefit decision notice. By law we have to include certain
information in this letter. We have produced a guide to help
explain decision notices following a new or
changed award (pdf 229KB) and if you have an overpayment (pdf
Housing Benefit leaflet
Download the Housing
Benefit leaflet (pdf 68KB).