My circumstances haven’t changed. Why has my housing benefit gone down?
The most likely reason is that the local housing allowance (LHA) rate used to calculate your claim has gone down. Your LHA rate lasts for 12 months after the last time you:
• Made a claim; or
• Changed address; or
• Had a change in your household
How much benefit am I entitled to?
The amount of benefit you get depends on:
• Your income and any benefits you receive
• Any other money, savings and investments you have
• The income and savings of other people who live in your home
You can use our online calculator to get an estimate of the amount of benefit you may be entitled to. Please note: this will only give you a guide. You should contact the Benefits Section for a full assessment before moving into a new property.
Can you pay my Housing Benefit straight to my landlord?
If you are getting Local Housing Allowance (LHA) we will pay your rent directly to you. There are very few times when we will pay directly to your landlord. We will only do this if we think:
• You will not pay your rent
• You are behind with your rent by eight weeks or more
• You will have difficulty managing your money.
My circumstances have changed. Will this affect my benefit?
This depends on what has changed. See our page Existing claimants - telling us about changes for more information and to report a change.
How long does it take to sort out a claim for benefit?
If you book an appointment and bring your completed form with ALL the required evidence, we will process your claim while you wait. If you do not complete the form in full or evidence is missing your claim will be delayed. See our How to make a claim for benefit page for tips on getting your claim sorted out quickly.
Can I have my claim backdated?
If you are pension age or over your claim can be backdated for up to 3 months.
If you are under pension age your claim can be backdated for up to 6 months.
However, for your claim to be backdated you need to have a good cause for the delay. For example:
• If you were ill and could not could not ask anyone to make the claim on your behalf
• If you did not understand that you could claim, perhaps because of age, inexperience, language difficulties or difficulty in understanding technical documents
• If you were unable to manage your affairs and did not have an appointee
I’ve just got a job but I don’t get paid for four weeks. Can you help?
When you go back to work, work more hours or earn more money, some of your benefits may stop. To help you pay your rent you may get an extra four weeks of Housing Benefit.
To qualify you, and your partner or civil partner, must be expected to do one of the following for five weeks or more:
• Return to work full time
• Work more hours
• Earn more money
and you have been getting one of the following:
• Job seekers allowance, income support or income-related employment and support allowance (or a combination of these) continuously for at least 26 weeks.
• Incapacity benefits, severe disablement allowance or contributory employment and support allowance continuously for at least 26 weeks.
You do not need to apply for the extra weeks. Benefits staff will decide if you qualify after checking how long you have been getting the benefits mentioned above.
How many bedrooms am I entitled to?
You are allowed one bedroom for each of the following:
- every adult couple (married or unmarried)
- any other adult aged 16 or over
- any two children of the same sex under 16
- any two children regardless of sex under 10
- any other child, (other than a child whose main home is elsewhere)
- a carer (or team of carers) who do not live with you but provide you or your partner with overnight care
- a foster child where the claimant or partner is an approved foster carer
- an extra bedroom for children who are unable to share because of their severe disabilities
See the online calculator to work out how many bedrooms you need for your family.