Housing Benefit

Housing Benefit can help you pay your rent if you’re unemployed, on a low income or claiming benefits. It’s being replaced by Universal Credit for most people.

You can only make a new claim for Housing Benefit if either of the following applies: 

  • you have reached State Pension age  

  • you’re in supported, sheltered or temporary housing 

How your Housing Benefit is worked out

There is no set amount for Housing Benefit so you’ll need to use a benefits calculator to work it out.  We will review your claim details from time to time and ask you to supply documents such as bank statements or pay slips. As a result, your award could change.

Housing Benefit is means tested. We consider things like: 

  • your income (and your partner’s if you have one) 
  • savings 

  • if anyone else lives with you 

  • personal circumstances 

  • whether you rent from a private or a social landlord 

If you rent from a private landlord your benefit will be calculated using the local housing allowance

How long we take to process your claim

We’ll contact you within 21 days of your claim to tell you if you can get Housing Benefit. 

When we have decided your claim, we’ll send you a benefit decision letter by post or email. 

Benefit start date

Your benefit will usually start from the Monday after we get your claim form. 

Sometimes, we can pay benefit from an earlier date if you have a good reason for not claiming earlier. 

We can only backdate for up to one month if you are of working age, and 3 months if you are of pension age.  

You must let us know if you want to backdate your claim when you fill in the form. 

How your benefit is paid

If you’re a: 

  • council tenant - we’ll pay the benefit into your rent account 

  • Housing Association tenant - we’ll pay the benefit to either the Housing Association or your bank account every 4 weeks in arrears 

  • private tenant - we’ll pay directly into your bank account every 4 weeks in arrears 

Payments direct to landlords

Sometimes we’ll pay your benefit directly to the landlord.  
We may do this if you’re 

  • more than 8 weeks behind with your rent 

  • having or have had problems paying your rent 

You can find out more information on Housing Benefit on the Citizens Advice Housing Benefit pages

To apply

Before you apply, you’ll need: 

  • a valid email address 

  • 2 forms of ID for example, your: 

    • passport  

    • driver’s licence  

    • birth certificate  

    • marriage certificate 

If you do not have 2 of the above forms of ID please supply a Utility bill which shows your name and address.

  • evidence of your National Insurance (NI) number, for example: 

    • your wage slip 

    • correspondence from the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) 

    • your NI card 

If you are including a partner on a claim, you’ll need to supply the evidence listed above for them too. 

You’ll also need to provide us with information on: 

  • you, your partner, and others living in your home 

  • your home  

  • your pensions, benefits, allowances and tax credits 

  • your capital, savings and investments 

  • other income 

  • childcare costs 

  • your earnings 

    • if you are self-employed, we’ll need to see 

    • if you are employed, we’ll need to see 

      • the last 5 payslips if paid weekly

      • the last 3 payslips if paid fortnightly 

      • the last 2 payslips if paid monthly or 4 weekly 

If you do not have payslips or they are handwritten your employer should complete an employed earnings form [pdf] 273KB.

We’ll need proof of your circumstances to assess your claim. If you don’t have all the information now you can send extra evidence later.  

Claim online

  1. Select the button below and you’ll be directed to our partner’s website Citizen Access. This site is approved by us and is safe to use. 

  2. On the Citizen Access webpage, select make a new claim and follow the onscreen instructions. 

  3. If you are unable to complete the form yourself, you can ask a friend or relative to help you. If you cannot complete the form online and have nobody to help you, please call 01903 737753 and we will arrange for someone to call you within a week to help you claim.

Apply on Citizen Access

To finish a Housing Benefit claim

You’ll need your Citizen Access key code to complete your application. 

Once on the Citizen Access website choose retrieve a claim. 

Finish your Housing Benefit claim

To upload evidence

If you’re sending documents because your circumstances have changed please report this change before sending your evidence. 

You’ll need to have: 

  • your claim reference number, this is on any letters we’ve sent 

  • access to a smartphone, tablet/iPad or scanner so you can upload documents to the form 

Files should be: 

  • a saved image or document 

  • a scan or photo of a printed document 

  • no more than 5MB 

Make sure: 

  • you only scan or photograph one document at a time 

  • the text of the document is easy to read in your scan or photo 

  • your scan or photo shows the whole document with no text cut off 

  • you take photos of documents in good light 

After selecting the button below you’ll need to select upload my evidence on Citizen Access and follow the onscreen instructions. 

Upload your evidence