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Housing benefit claims before moving to a new home

This content applies to England

There are pending updates to this page following Brexit and the end of transition period on 31 December 2020

Information on situations where housing benefit will be paid before a claimant moves into a new home.

Moving in date delayed for specific reason

In most situations housing benefit can only be paid for days in the relevant benefit week when the claimant was actually occupying their home. For information on benefit weeks see the page Date from which benefit is awarded.

A person is treated as occupying accommodation, and housing benefit is payable in respect of that accommodation for up to four weeks before a claimant moves in if moving in was delayed because:[1]

  • s/he could not leave a hospital or care home as soon as planned
  • s/he was waiting for a local welfare payment from a local authority, or a social fund payment for a need connected with the move, and:
    • the claimant is of pension credit age, or
    • a member of the claimant's family is aged under 6, or 
    • the claimant's income support, income-based JSA or income-related ESA  includes an additional amount in respect of disability or other support need
  • s/he was waiting for her/his home to be adapted to meet a disability need of her/his or a member of her/his family. The term 'adapt' must not be interpreted restrictively, and can include works such as redecoration or installing carpet.[2] In this case, the claimant can be awarded housing benefit on both the home s/he is waiting to move into and the home s/he is currently living in, during those four weeks.[3]

Where a person claims housing benefit for accommodation that they are unable to move into for either the first or second of the reasons above, and is receiving housing benefit on accommodation that they are actually occupying, the proper approach of the local authority is to suspend payments on the first dwelling until it is clear for what period, up to four weeks before moving in, the new home is the relevant dwelling.[4]

Other delays to moving in

Where a tenant moves in and claims housing benefit after their tenancy start date but in the same benefit week as their rent liability begins, unless the delay is for one of the reasons listed above, housing benefit will only be awarded for the days in that week that the tenant was occupying the property.[5]

See 'Week One Yes rule' in the section Date from which benefit is awarded for more information.

[1] reg 7(8) Housing Benefit Regulations 2006 SI 2006/213 as amended by para 7 Social Security (Miscellaneous Amendments) Regulations 2013 SI 2013/443; reg 7(8) Housing Benefit (Persons who have attained the qualifying age for pension credit) Regulations 2006 SI 2006/214.

[2] R (on the application of Mahmoudi) v Lewisham LBC [2014] EWCA Civ 284; see HB Circular A4/2014 and DMG Memo 6/14.

[3] reg 7(6) Housing Benefit Regulations 2006 SI 2006/213; reg 7(8) Housing Benefit (Persons who have attained the qualifying age for pension credit) Regulations 2006 SI 2006/214.

[4] Sunderland CC v GH (HB) [2014] UKUT 3 (AAC).

[5] Regulation 80 Housing Benefit Regulations 2006 SI 2006/213; SL v Renfrewshire Council [2014] UKUT 411 (AAC).

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