Denied Housing Benefit
About housing benefit
Housing benefit is a benefit that can be used to help part pay for or fully pay for home rental payments. It is aimed at people that have incomes that are too low to pay for rental costs on their own and can apply to people that are already on benefits, work part time or full time provided that they fulfil the eligibility requirements to qualify for housing benefit payments
Who qualifies for housing benefit?
As with all benefits payments there are set criteria that an applicant must adhere to otherwise the benefits will be declined and stopped. In order to qualify for a housing benefit claim you should already:
- Pay rent on a home (the home can be privately rented or council)
- Be on a low income or currently claiming benefits
- Not have savings above the £16,000 threshold
- Live in the UK to make a claim for housing benefit
You will not get housing benefit if:
- You have savings above £16,000 in total
- You are a full time student
- You are living with a close relative
- You are currently an asylum seeker in the UK
- You live in a care/nursing home
When making a claim for housing benefit you should be aware of the following points:
- If you are in a couple and live together only one of you is able to claim for housing benefit
- If you currently receive Income Support, income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance or income-related Employment and Support Allowance you will likely get the full housing benefit allowance
Current housing benefit payment amounts?
There isn’t currently a set amount that you will receive in terms of housing benefit because the amount is worked out depending on a number of factors such as:
- Whether you rent a home privately or through the council
- What the “eligible” rent currently is (for example is it market value for the area)
- Whether there are unoccupied rooms in the property
- What your household income is and whether you have savings above £6.000
If you live in council/social housing an applicant’s age, family and the age of the family (along with any disabilities) will be taken into account when calculating the award. As will any communal charges for the property such as maintenance charges for lifts, laundry, etc.
In a new change to housing benefits that was brought in from April 2013 there is an eligible rent reduction based upon having unused bedrooms in a council or social housing property (in the media this has been called the Bedroom Tax).
Therefore, your housing benefit could be reduced if you have unused bedrooms in the rented accommodation. The reductions are:
- For 1 unused extra bedroom you will lose 14% of the eligible rent
- For 2 or more unused extra bedrooms you will lose 25% of the eligible rent
When working out the number of bedrooms that are being used as part of the claim formula you should be aware that you can count 1 bedroom as being in use if it is being inhabited by:
- A couple
- A single adult
- Children under the age of 16 of the same sex
- All children under the age of 10 boy or girl
- Each partner needing an external overnight carer
- Each disabled tenant
- All foster children
- Child that is in the Armed Forces or reservists
If you are renting accommodation privately the local authority will calculate the amount of housing benefit applicable by consulting the Local Housing Allowance rules. Each Local Housing Allowance will set a maximum amount that can be received in each region.
As a guide, no Local Housing Allowance will be higher than the following rates –
1 bedroom – Up to £250 per week
2 bedroom – Up to £290 per week
3 bedroom – Up to £340 per week
4 bedroom – Up to £400 per week
Housing benefit application
If you believe that you might be able to receive housing benefit you can make an application to the Jobcentre Plus and they will send the details of your claim to your local council.
The phone line for the Jobcentre Plus is 0800 055 6688.
If your application for housing benefit is granted, private tenants will receive benefit payments sent directly into the pre-arranged bank or building society account, whilst council tenants will have benefit payments entered into the rent account.