Private and housing association tenants should get a stop-gap housing benefit payment if their claim takes more than two weeks to process. This is called payment on account.
Who is eligible for a payment on account
You must be a private tenant or a housing association tenant to qualify for payment on account. It is sometimes called an interim payment.
Council tenants are not eligible.
To receive a payment on account, you must have filled in your housing benefit claim form correctly and supplied all the required documents and information to the council.
If the council has asked someone else, for example your landlord or employer, for information or evidence but they have not yet received it, you should still be entitled to payment on account.
Sometimes the council asks for documents that don't exist or that a landlord or ex-partner is keeping from you.
Tell the council if you have a good reason for not providing any documents you have been asked for. You might still get a payment on account.
How much is a payment on account
The council pays the amount it estimates you will be entitled to when your claim is fully processed.
If your final housing benefit award is more than the amount you receive as payment on account, the council pays you the difference.
If your final housing benefit award is less than the amount you receive as payment on account, you will have had an overpayment and will need to repay the extra money.
Overpayments are usually deducted in instalments from future housing benefit payments until the money is repaid.
Getting a payment on account
You should get payment on account automatically if your claim takes more than two weeks to process.
Payments on account should then continue until your claim is fully processed.
If you have not received a payment on account and 14 days have passed since you submitted your claim and all supporting evidence you should request payment on account from your council's housing benefit office. Contact details will be on your council's website.
Complain if payment on account is refused
Use the council's complaints procedure if you're refused payment on account.
You can complain to the Local Government Ombudsman if you are not satisfied with the council's response or if the council does not respond within a reasonable time.
Last updated 25 Apr 2016 | © Shelter