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How to make a claim for Housing Benefit

Updated: 20 Oct 2014
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We can explain how your Housing Benefit is worked out
A member of staff helping a customer
Anyone who has to pay rent or rates for their home can claim for Housing Benefit. It does not matter if your landlord is:
  • the Housing Executive
  • a housing association  
  • a private landlord
You can also claim if you:
  • live in a hostel
  • live in bed and breakfast accommodation
  • are a boarder or lodger
You cannot, however, get Housing Benefit if you are living with a close relative (such as a parent) and paying them rent.
You do not need to be unemployed to get Housing Benefit but you cannot get it if you have savings of over £16,000, unless you are receiving Guaranteed Pension Credit.

Owner Occupiers

If you are an owner occupier and you need help to pay your rates charges you would have to make a claim for Housing Benefit to Land and Property Services. You can call them on

What can I claim Housing Benefit for?

Housing Benefit is most commonly payable for a person who has rent and/or rates charges to pay for the home they live in. It can also be used to meet some service charges.
You cannot get Housing Benefit for meal costs, fuel charges or cleaning your home

How do I make a claim for Housing Benefit?

All claims for Housing Benefit must be made on an approved application form.
Forms are also available from your local Social Security Agency or Housing Executive office. You can also make a claim for Housing Benefit when you make an application for Pension Credit. The Pension Service will send you a Housing Benefit claim form to complete. You can then return the form to the Pension Service or send it to the Housing Executive.
If you are not entitled to Income Support or Job Seeker’s Allowance (Income Based) you must make your claim to the Housing Executive.
Please note, if you are entitled to Housing Benefit, the date we receive your application may affect the date your award will begin.

What other information has to be provided to support my Housing Benefit claim?

Details of the evidence we require is set out in the Housing Benefit application form. If you provide this additional information when you make your application this will allow us to decide your claim much more quickly. However we will write to you if we require any further information to support your claim. All new claimants will have to provide evidence of their identity (and their partner’s identity if applicable) as well as evidence of any Child Benefit Payments (to confirm that a child is a member of your household). You will also have to provide evidence of selected incomes such as Earnings from Employment and Occupational Pensions as well as any capital you possess (bank accounts, shares, property etc.)

If I am entitled to Housing Benefit when will my payments begin?

The date that you return your form will have an affect on the date that we can begin payment. Generally we can only award Housing Benefit from the Monday after the date that we receive your application form. The law permits limited exceptions to this rule (see Backdating).

How is Housing Benefit worked out?

If you receive Income Support, Job Seekers Allowance Income Based, Guaranteed Pension Credit or Employment Support Allowance (Income Related) you may receive the maximum award of Housing Benefit.
A maximum award of Housing Benefit may be less than the amount you are being charged if we decide your rent charge is too high. This can occur with certain private landlord tenancies.
If you do not receive one of the benefits listed above we will apply a means test to calculate how much of your rent and/or rates charges you can afford to pay yourself.
The maximum award of Housing Benefit may be reduced if you are under 35 and live alone. This age condition does not apply to Housing Executive tenants or tenants of a Registered Housing Association.
Please note however that Government is proposing rent restrictions where under occupation is occurring in Housing Executive properties and Registered Housing Association properties. The proposal is targeting Working Age Claimants only.
In certain circumstances your award of Housing Benefit may also be reduced if you have someone aged 18 or over living with you.