Housing benefit claims before moving to a new home

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

This content applies to England

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.

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 they:[1]

  • could not leave a hospital or care home as soon as planned

  • were waiting for their home to be adapted to meet their disability need or those of a member of their 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 they are waiting to move into and the home they are currently living in, during those four weeks[3]

  • were waiting for a local welfare payment from a local authority, or a social fund payment for a need connected with the move, and either:

    • the claimant is of pension credit age

    • a member of the claimant's family is under 6 years old

    • the claimant's income support, income-based JSA or income-related ESA includes an additional amount in respect of disability or other support need

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 is only awarded for the days in that week that the tenant was occupying the property.[5]

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

Last updated: 12 March 2021

Footnotes

  • [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).