How to claim housing benefit

How to claim

Check if you're in a universal credit area

Check if you’re in a universal credit area before you submit a claim for housing benefit.

If you are, you may have to claim housing costs under universal credit.

How and where to claim

How and where to claim housing benefit depends on whether you are making a claim for other benefits as well as housing benefit.

If you only want to claim housing benefit

Claim direct from the council if you’re just making a housing benefit claim.

Most councils allow phone or online applications. Some might send you a paper form to complete.

Find your local council on GOV.UK

If you want to claim other benefits

You can apply for housing benefit via Jobcentre Plus when you make a new claim for:

  • jobseeker’s allowance (JSA)
  • employment and support allowance (ESA)
  • income support

Jobcentre Plus will forward your housing benefit claim to your council.

Ask the Jobcentre about making a rapid reclaim if you’ve previously claimed housing benefit and another benefit within the last 26 weeks (12 weeks for ESA) and your circumstances haven’t changed.

Contact Jobcentre Plus on 0800 055 6688 to make a claim

If you want to claim pension credit

You can apply for housing benefit when you make a claim for pension credit.

The Pension Service will forward your housing benefit claim to your council.

Contact the Pension Service on 0800 99 1234 to make a claim

Information to include in your claim

When you apply for housing benefit, you’ll need to include information about:

  • your partner and members of your household
  • income and savings
  • rent and any service charges you pay

If you provide the wrong information you could be paid too much housing benefit and have to repay it.

Evidence you must provide

You may be asked for the following documents to support your claim:

  • ID and national insurance number
  • tenancy agreement, rent book or letter from landlord
  • bank statements (for last 3 months)
  • payslips
  • other benefit award letters

The housing benefit office will check your documents. Tell them if you have problems getting hold of any paperwork.

Ask the housing benefit office to copy important documents so they can be returned to you immediately.

You must submit all supporting evidence within 1 month of making your claim.

Getting your claim backdated

Housing benefit can be backdated if you could have claimed earlier but didn't.

If you’re of working age you can ask for your claim to be backdated if you have a good reason for not claiming before, such as serious illness. Claims can be backdated for up to a month.

If you're of pension age, your claim can be backdated automatically for up to 3 months.

Last updated 24 Sep 2018 | © Shelter

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