This blog post aims to explore whether you must be on welfare benefits to claim Housing Benefit in the UK. For a comprehensive understanding of the topic, we will also discuss the eligibility criteria for Housing Benefit and the process of claiming the benefit. 

Do You Have To Be On Benefits To Claim Housing Benefit?

No, you don’t have to be on welfare benefits to claim Housing Benefit in the UK. Housing Benefit is a government subsidy that is available to help cover the cost of rent for eligible individuals and families. 

As long as you are a resident of the UK on a low income and requiring help with housing costs, you could be living in privately rented accommodation, a council or housing association property or even temporary housing, you can claim Housing Benefit. 

Your Housing Benefit claim will not be affected whether you receive means-tested or non-means-tested welfare benefits. These may include (but are not limited to) Jobseeker’s Allowance, Employment and Support Allowance, Pension Credit, or Universal Credit

However, if you are filing a new claim for Housing Benefit, you should be above State Pension age or living in temporary or sheltered accommodation as Universal Credit is replacing Housing Benefit across the UK.

If you are eligible for Housing Benefit, you can claim it by contacting your local council. You will need to provide proof of your identity, residency, and benefits status.

If you are claiming other benefits you should include details of the amounts and benefits that you get. It may help you in claiming the full amount of your Housing Benefit.

The amount of Housing Benefit you receive will depend on your circumstances. Factors that can affect your housing benefit claim include your:

  • Income
  • Savings
  • Number of dependents
  • Housing costs

In addition to this the number of rooms in your house, your partner’s income and savings as any disability benefits (this includes Personal Independence Payment, Attendance Allowance and Carer’s Allowance) that you claim will also impact how much you get through Housing Benefit payments.

If you claim the Guarantee Credit part of Pension Credit, your entire rent will be covered with Housing Benefit.

You can usually receive Housing Benefit for up to 52 weeks. If you are living in supported or temporary housing, you may be able to receive Housing Benefit for an extended period.

Since Housing Benefit is being replaced with Universal Credit, you may have to apply for housing costs under Universal Credit.

If you have any questions about Housing Benefit or Universal Credit, you can get Housing Benefit information from your council.

How Can You Claim Housing Benefit?

The process for claiming Housing Benefit varies depending on where you live in the UK. In England, Scotland, and Wales, you can claim Housing Benefit by filling in an online form on the government website.

In Northern Ireland, the process is slightly different and you will need to contact your local Housing Executive office.

Once you have submitted your claim, the relevant authority will assess your eligibility and let you know how much Housing Benefit you will receive. This is usually paid directly into your bank account, and you will need to provide your bank details when you apply.

If you’re on a low income and you’re struggling to pay your rent, you may be able to claim Housing Benefit. Housing Benefit can help you pay your rent if you’re unemployed, on a low income, or certain benefits.

If you are eligible for Housing Benefit, you can claim it by contacting your local council. You’ll need to fill in a form and send it to your local authority. If you claim any other benefits, you should mention their details in this form. If there is no space or specific question regarding other benefits in the form, you should attach a separate piece of paper that mentions the title of the benefits you claim, the amount your receive and how long you have been claiming them.

You will need to provide proof of your eligibility, such as your Jobseeker’s Allowance or Employment and Support Allowance award letter. They’ll then assess your claim and let you know how much housing benefit you’re entitled to.

If you are applying for Pension Credit you can add your claim for Housing Benefit as part of your application.

Once your claim is approved, you will receive a Housing Benefit award letter that will outline the amount of subsidy you are eligible for.

If your Housing Benefit payment does not cover your entire rent or you find yourself struggling to meet the costs of living despite your benefit claim you can also apply for a Discretionary Housing Payment to get help with the cost of living.

Who Can Claim Housing Benefit?

Anyone on a low income can claim Housing Benefit, whether they’re working or not. If you’re unemployed, you may be able to claim Housing Benefit to help you pay your rent. Housing Benefit can also help if you’re on a low income and you’re struggling to pay your rent.

Housing Benefit is available to eligible individuals and families who are residents in the UK and are in receipt of one of the following: Jobseeker’s Allowance, Employment and Support Allowance, Pension Credit, or Universal Credit. 

To be eligible for Housing Benefit, you must be a resident of the United Kingdom who is of State Pension age. If you receive a qualifying benefit, such as Income Support, Jobseeker’s Allowance, or Employment and Support Allowance you may get a higher amount of payment through your Housing Benefit claim.

As for your accommodation, it can be either privately rented, a council or housing association residence or you could be living in supported or temporary housing and still be eligible for Housing Benefit.

If you are thinking about whether to apply for Universal Credit or Housing Benefit, you can choose the latter if:

  • you are single and of pension age
  • you are part of a couple and both of you are of pension age
  • you (and your partner) live in a temporary accommodation
  • you (and your partner) live in a specified/supported accommodation

If you are not eligible for Housing Benefit, there may be other options available to help you with your housing costs. This includes Universal Credit, Support for Mortgage Interest, and other government schemes.

You can also contact your local authority or housing association to see if you are eligible for other forms of assistance.

Who Cannot Claim Housing Benefit?

Usually, you will not be able to claim Housing Benefit if:

  • Your savings are over £16,000. Unless you are also claiming Guarantee Credit of Pension Credit, you will not be eligible for Housing Benefit if your savings are over £16,000.
  • You are paying a mortgage on your own home. You may be able to claim Support for Mortgage Interest (SMI), but you will not be eligible for Housing Benefit.
  • You live in the home of a close relative. If you are living in the home of a close relative, you will not be eligible for Housing Benefit.
  • You are already claiming Universal Credit. If you are already claiming Universal Credit, you will not be eligible for Housing Benefit unless you are in temporary or supported housing.
  • You live with your partner and they are already claiming Housing Benefit. If your partner is already claiming Housing Benefit, you will not be eligible to claim it yourself.
  • You are a full-time student. Full-time students are not eligible for Housing Benefit.
  • You are residing in the UK as a European Economic Area (EEA) jobseeker. If you are an EEA jobseeker, you will not be eligible for Housing Benefit.
  • You are an asylum seeker or sponsored to be in the UK. If you are an asylum seeker or sponsored to be in the UK, you will not be eligible for Housing Benefit.
  • You are subject to immigration control and your granted leave states that you cannot claim public funds. If you are subject to immigration control and your granted leave states that you cannot claim public funds, you will not be eligible for Housing Benefit.
  • You are a Crown Tenant. Crown Tenants are not eligible for Housing Benefit.
  • You have reached State Pension age but your live-in partner has not. If you have reached State Pension age but your live-in partner has not, you will not be eligible for Housing Benefit unless you had an existing claim as a couple before 15 May 2019.

Conclusion:

The above discussion has clearly explained that one does not have to be claiming other benefits to qualify for Housing Benefit. However, if you are filing a new claim for Housing Benefit, it will be beneficial for you to declare other benefits that you claim as it increases your chances of getting a higher rate of payment (or even the full amount) of Housing Benefit in such cases.

FAQs: Do You Have To Be On Benefits To Claim Housing Benefit?

How much can you have in the bank to claim Housing Benefit?

You can have between £ 6,000 and £ 16,000 in the bank to claim Housing Benefit. If your savings are less than £ 6,000, you will be able to claim the full amount of Housing Benefit. However if they are more than £ 16,000 you will not be able to qualify for the benefit.

Can I rent a house from a family member and claim Housing Benefit?

Yes, you can rent a house from a family member and claim Housing Benefit only if the family member does not live in the same house as you. If they share accommodation with you, you cannot claim Housing Benefit even if you pay rent to them.

Do landlords accept people on benefits?

While it is at the discretion of landlords to accept tenants who claim benefits; however, they cannot legally discriminate based on benefits claim to refuse to let their property.

Do I get Housing Benefit on PIP?

Yes, you can claim Housing Benefit if you claim Personal Independence Payment (PIP). You will be eligible for a top-up or premium in addition to the basic rate in such a case.

Is Housing Benefit a means-tested benefit?

Yes, Housing Benefit is a means-tested benefit. This is the reason why the amount that you claim through this state benefit is affected by your income, savings and personal circumstances.

References:

Housing Benefit: Eligibility – GOV.UK

Housing Benefit: How to claim – GOV.UK

How to claim Housing Benefit – Citizens Advice

Housing benefit: hostels, refuges, supported and temporary housing – Shelter England

Housing benefit advice | Age UK

Should I apply for Universal Credit or Housing Benefit? | Lambeth Council