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How Housing Benefit awards are calculated

Updated: 20 Feb 2019
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The calculation process for a Housing Benefit claim can be summarised under the following 3 headings:   

Rent Level:

An 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. See our advice in the Local Housing Allowance section.
The rent level used to calculate an award of Housing Benefit may be reduced if you are aged under 35, renting from a private landlord and you live alone. (See our advice for Single and aged under 35)
(This age condition does not apply to Housing Executive tenants or tenants of a Registered Housing Association).
As part of Welfare Reform proposals, 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.

Means Test:

If you receive Income Support, Job Seekers Allowance Income Based, Employment Support Allowance (Income Related) or Guaranteed Pension Credit, a means test will not be applied in respect of your claim.  
If you do not receive one of the four benefits listed above we will apply a means test to calculate how much of your rent and/or rates charges that you can afford to pay based on your incomes and capital.


In certain circumstances your award of Housing Benefit may also be reduced if you have someone aged 18 or over living with you. There are however some exceptions when we will not make a reduction.
See our advice in relation to non dependants