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.
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.
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.
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)
- 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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