Housing benefit is a type of welfare given to people who pay their rent and council tax. It may also be given to people in shared housing or with disabilities.
If you qualify for housing benefit, it will depend on how much money you have coming in, what you can afford to pay for your rent and council tax and if there are any other benefits that affect how much home benefit you can get.
The amount of housing benefit that you get is based on the number of people living in your home and which income bracket you fall into. The higher your earnings, the lower the amount of home benefits that you will receive. Learn more about how to calculate your housing of benefit below.
What is Housing Benefit?
- Housing benefit can be spent on:
- rental payments
- rental deposits
- repairs and maintenance
- home maintenance and repairs
- household utilities
- clean and laundry
To qualify for housing benefit you must be classed as a ‘priority need’ tenant. Priority need tenants include people with disabilities, the elderly, children and people who are at risk of becoming homeless.
priority need is the ability of someone to pay their rent and council tax. This includes having enough savings or income to meet the rent and council tax and a ‘totality of needs’.
There are certain people who are classed as having a more limited ability to pay their rent and council tax. They are classed as having a ‘total needs’ budget.
How to Calculate Housing Benefit
If you are in work, the most important figure to know is your National Insurance (NI) number. If you’re receiving tax credits or have a housing benefit claim, your NI number is used to calculate your housing of benefit. If you’re not receiving these benefits, you’ll need to have a bank account to make an online claim and can get one for free by contacting NatWest, Northern Rock or RBS. You can get a bank account with Halifax or HSBC and it will cost you £25 plus VAT a month. Find out if you qualify for a bank account with us.
How to calculate housing benefit. If you have a NI number you can work out how much home benefit you’re entitled to. If you don’t have one, you’ll need to have a bank account to make a claim.
Who is Eligible for Housing Benefit?
This will vary from area to area, but in most areas of the country, you are only eligible for housing is benefit if you are receiving some form of other state or benefit and you don’t own your own home.
Some benefits, such as council tax reduction or working tax credits, are payable as a weekly payment. If you are receiving any of these benefits, you must stop receiving them and stop claiming housing benefit to continue receiving the benefit.
To make sure that you qualify for housing benefit, you should speak to your housing office or local council.
If you think that you may be eligible for housing benefit, there are a number of ways to check. You can also see what benefits are available in your area.
Income Bracket Affects Your Housing Benefit Amount
According to government guidelines, someone is considered to be living in ‘low cost housing’ if they earn less than £188 a week. The government considers this to be a family of four with a net income of £21,000 or less.
The benefits for the ‘social rent’ which most people in low cost housing get is below £80 a week. This means that many people are left struggling with expensive housing in the UK.
The amount of money you receive for housing benefit depends on the type of income you have. Low earners include single parents, people in shared housing, carers, older people and those with disabilities.
Earnings £5,821, £9,235, £13,012
When you’re a low earner, you’re paid less than £73,501 per year. You get a lower rate of housing benefit based on the number of people living in your home.
Average earnings £14,243, £23,530, £39,208
At the other end of the spectrum, people with average or above average earnings earn £25,121 to £43,741. The maximum amount of housing benefit you can get is based on your income. You can find out how much you can get for your council tax and rent below.
Some people who are considered medium-earners are low earners who earn around a certain amount of money each month, and then earn more.
Someone who is considered medium-earner is someone who is on a low income, but has a higher amount of income over and above what they need to live on. It’s for people who earn between a certain amount and a certain amount and therefore their housing benefit is less.
Someone who is considered a minimum wage earner is someone who is on a very low income and is having to work the lowest amount of hours possible for their wages.
People who are working on minimum wage jobs and earning the minimum wage are entitled to a minimum wage. Learn more about your entitlements to minimum wage below.
What a Low Earner Can Get
For the lower income earners, you can usually get:
A one-bedroom flat (basic rate) in inner London (for a family)
A three-bedroom or four-bedroom flat (higher rate)
A two-bedroom flat (Universal Credit)
A one-bedroom flat in a shared house in inner London (rates vary)
A three-bedroom or four-bedroom flat in a shared house in outer London (rates vary)
Learn more about how much housing benefit you can get.
What a Low Earner Cannot Get
If you have a disability or long-term health condition, you can only get a four-bedroom or five-bedroom house.
A council tenant can only get a one bedroom flat (basic rate) in inner London.
You cannot get housing benefit for your own home if you are renting privately.
How Long You’ll Get Help from Benefits
The amount of housing benefit you get will depend on your situation, your household income, the value of your home and how much you pay for your rent. It may also depend on your previous home benefit payments.
All Housing Benefit payments are paid for by the Government. There is a legal limit on how much benefit you can claim per week.
To see how much housing benefits you can get for your household, see the Social Funding section of your benefits pack.
You get housing benefit if you can afford to pay the rent on your home. This can be as low as 30% of the market value of your home, as well as rent.
If you have savings, a loan or your home is renting on a leasehold basis, you do not get housing benefit.
When the Homeowner’s Income Increases, So Will the Rent Payment
Rent increases usually work the same as rent decreases. This means that if you qualify for housing benefit, the amount you get will be based on the amount you paid for your rent, plus any inflation linked increases or decreases.
If the Homeowner’s Income Decreases, You’re Now Paying for It
Homeowners can also claim Housing Benefit on the rent that they’re paying for their properties. If the rent you’re paying is less than your Housing Benefits, then you won’t get any Housing Benefit at all.
If your home has been sold then you can claim what is called a ‘Disabled Grant’ from the National Housing Federation. You will have to apply for it first and will need to tell your landlord.
The information above is meant to help you get a basic idea of how much housing benefit you can get from the government. It’s also meant to help you get a better understanding of what you can and can’t do if you want to live in a particular area.
Be careful to not overstretch yourself financially if you’re considering moving out of London if you don’t make enough money to afford a decent lifestyle there, or if your local area has fewer opportunities for low income people. A job in the local area or within commuting distance is always a better option.
Housing Benefit Chart – What you can and can’t do if you live in London.
There are no listed housing benefits in the table below. These benefits are not given to Londoners.