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Housing Benefit

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 amount, then:

  • 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 household requires.

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 circumstances)
  • be treated as liable to pay rent on your normal home
  • normally occupy that accommodation as your home
  • not be excluded from claiming.

Claim housing benefit

The following forms are also available online: 

It is important to return the form as soon as possible as benefit will usually be paid from the Monday after we receive your application.

You will also need to provide evidence of your income, savings and rent.

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 126KB).

Housing Benefit leaflet

Download the Housing Benefit leaflet (pdf 68KB).