Delays with housing benefit claims can cause problems with your landlord. Find out how to speed up your housing benefit claim, prevent delays and keep paying your rent.
1. Send the council all the information it needs
Ask the council's housing benefit department what information it needs to process your claim for housing benefit.
Check your council's website using the Gov.uk council finder for details if you're applying online.
2. Check the council got your housing benefit application
Make sure that the council has received your application and has all the information it needs.
3. Respond quickly to the council's queries
If the council asks for more information from you, provide it as soon as possible to avoid further delays.
Make a note of the information you provide. Keep copies and get a receipt for your claim form and any documents.
4. Ask for payment on account
You shouldn't have to wait longer than two weeks for housing benefit to be paid if you have filled in the form correctly and provided all the information the council needs.
The council should automatically make a payment on account while your full claim is being decided. This does not apply if you're a council tenant.
If you don't receive a payment on account, use the Gov.uk council finder to contact your council.
5. Find out how much your housing benefit should be
Check through Gov.uk if your council's website has an online calculator so you can work it out yourself.
Use the Turn2us benefits calculator to check what other benefits you can apply for.
6. Plan your budget so you can pay your rent
You could fall behind with your rent if your housing benefit is delayed, so plan your budget.
Your housing benefit might not cover your whole rent. You will need a plan to make up the difference.
Keep paying your rent. Don't stop. It's better to make small regular payments of rent than nothing at all.
7. Keep your landlord updated
Contact your landlord if a housing benefit delay means you'll miss a rent payment and fall into arrears. Tell them you'll be getting housing benefit soon.
Get more information about negotiating with your landlord over rent arrears.
Last updated 25 Apr 2016 | © Shelter