Getting payment on account

You may get a stop-gap payment if the council takes more than 2 weeks to process your housing benefit claim. 

Payments on account

A payment on account is an estimated amount of housing benefit paid when the council hasn't decided your housing benefit claim within 2 weeks of receiving it. 

Payments on account are sometimes called interim payments.

Once in place, payments on account should continue until your housing benefit claim is fully processed.

Who can get a payment on account

Only private tenants and housing association tenants can get a payment on account. 

To get a payment on account, you must:

Once you've done this, the council should make a decision on your housing benefit claim within 2 weeks.

If there's a delay, the council should make a payment on account automatically. If you don't receive a payment on account you should request one. 

If a payment on account is refused

The council can't refuse a payment on account if:

  • they're waiting for information from someone else such as your landlord or Jobcentre Plus
  • the information you've been asked for doesn't exist or is very difficult for you to provide

Tell the council if you have a good reason for not providing any documents you've been asked for. 

Use the council's complaints procedure if you're refused a payment on account.

How much is a payment on account

The council estimates how much housing benefit you'll get once your claim is fully processed.

You get the estimated amount as a payment on account.

If your final award is more than this, the council pays you the difference.

If your final award is less than this, you'll have had an overpayment

Overpayments can be paid back through deductions from future housing benefit payments.

Still need help?

If housing benefit delays are causing you problems:

Contact a Shelter adviser online, by phone or in person


Last updated 26 Sep 2018 | © Shelter

If you need to talk to someone, we’ll do our best to help

Get help

Was this advice helpful?

Email a link to this article

Thank you - your message has been sent.

Sorry! - your message has not been sent this time.

Was this advice helpful?

Thank you - your feedback has been submitted to the team.

Sorry! - your message has not been sent this time.