Housing benefit: How to claim
When you'll get housing benefit
How long before it’s paid
When you've given the council all the information they need to process your claim, you should be paid in 2 weeks.
After your claim is assessed, your housing benefit will be paid straight into your rent account on the day the rent is due.
There are sometimes delays in processing claims or making payments. Speak to your housing officer if this happens.
Private or housing association tenants
When it’s paid
Your housing benefit can be paid every 2 or 4 weeks or monthly, depending when your rent is due. Ask the council to pay it more or less frequently if you need them to.
It's paid in arrears, after your rent is due. That means you'll be paid for the week or month just gone, rather than the coming week or month. You'll have to budget for this as most landlords expect rent to be paid in advance.
How it’s paid
The council will usually pay your housing benefit straight into your bank account.
If you don’t have a bank account, find out more about opening one from the Money Advice Service or ask the council to pay it in a different way.
Who it’s paid to
It’s normally paid to you, but it will be paid to your landlord or letting agent if:
- you or your landlord tell the council you have more than 8 weeks’ rent arrears
- part of your other benefits like jobseeker’s allowance is already being paid to them because of arrears
You can also ask for your housing benefit to be paid to your landlord, for example because you struggle to manage your money. Speak to the council about this.
If there's a delay
Delays in processing a housing benefit claim are common.
If it takes longer than 2 weeks for your claim to go through, you should get a stop-gap payment called a payment on account.
This should be paid automatically after 2 weeks as long as you’ve provided all the required information and evidence. Request one if you don’t get it.
You should also find out what's causing the delay and see if there's anything you can do to speed things up.
If you have rent arrears
Tell your landlord you’ve claimed and are continuing to chase things up with the council.
If your landlord gives you an eviction notice because you’re in rent arrears, tell the council. They should prioritise your claim.
Last updated 24 September 2018 | © Shelter
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