Find out how your housing benefit is calculated and when you must claim universal credit instead if your situation changes.
How your housing benefit is calculated
Your housing benefit is calculated differently if you're a private tenant claiming housing benefit at the same address since before 7 April 2008.
You may get more than you'd get under the local housing allowance rules which have been in place for new claimants since that date.
You can check the local housing allowance rates on GOV.UK and compare the weekly amount to what you get at the moment.
Get benefits advice if it looks like you might be better off under local housing allowance rules - you may have to claim universal credit instead of housing benefit.
Get benefits advice before choosing to switch to universal credit. Once you make a claim, you can't usually go back to the old system.
When you have to transfer to universal credit
Unless you choose to move universal credit, you can continue to claim housing benefit until you have a change in circumstances.
If you're working age, some changes now mean that you must claim universal credit instead of your existing benefits.
- a partner moving in or out
- having your first child
- moving to a different council area
- starting to work 16 hours or more a week - if you don't have dependent children
If there's no change in your situation
You can continue to claim housing benefit until Jobcentre Plus tell you that you have to transfer to universal credit.
This is expected to happen at some point between July 2019 and December 2023.
If you're pension age
You can continue to claim housing benefit under the old rules at your current address.
If you move into a council or housing association property, housing benefit may cover your full rent although certain service charges won't be covered.
If you move to a different private rented property, your housing benefit will be calculated under local housing allowance rules.
Last updated 29 Jan 2019 | © Shelter
If you need to talk to someone, we’ll do our best to help