According to estimates. nearly 6.5 million (one-third of the total population) households in the UK are headed by someone who is above 65 years of age. With an increase in the aged population segment, a number of retired individuals would be keen to know about benefits that they may be able to avail themselves of once they retire. Through this blog post, we aim to learn whether or not the council pays rent for retirees; however, for a wider perspective, we will also explore other benefits and allowances that are available to those who have retired from the workforce.

Will The Council Pay My Rent When I Retire?

No, the council will not pay your rent when you retire. However, if you meet the below criteria, you may be able to claim Universal Credit or Housing Benefit to help with your rental payments:

  • you need to pay rent
  • you are on a low income 
  • you are claiming benefits
  • your savings are less than £16,000
  • you are over State Pension age

Being a means-tested benefit, Housing Benefit takes into account the following essentials regarding the claimant:

  • their savings
  • if they live with someone
  • the amount of rent that they need to pay
  • the number of rooms in their house
  • whether the claimant is receiving disability or carer’s benefits (including Attendance Allowance, Carer’s Allowance or Personal Independence Payment).

Whether you rent from council authorities or a housing association, if you are on low income and need help with rental payments, you can apply for support. The council authorities will first consult an assessment of your needs which include the following:

  • the number of people who share your household and their ages
  • whether a household member is sick or disabled
  • whether a household member is is a full-time carer

Additionally, your income will also be taken into account. This includes wages, benefits and tax credits, pensions, maintenance payments, grants and bursaries.

If you are a council housing tenant, payments for Housing Benefit will directly be paid to your rent account so that the amount that you are required to pay is reduced. If you are renting from a housing association or a private landlord, Housing Benefit payments will be paid directly to your own bank account or to your landlord.

If your Housing Benefit does not cover the full amount of your rental payments and you find it difficult to pay your rent as a pensioner, you may be able to apply for Discretionary Housing Payments through your local council. These payments can help you with funding for:

  • a shortfall in your rental payments(s)
  • your rental deposits
  • advance amount of rent in case you need to move home

As a retired individual, you may be able to claim the following benefits in addition to Housing Benefit, if you fulfil the eligibility criteria for each:

  • Attendance Allowance
  • Bereavement Support Payment
  • Carer’s Allowance
  • Cold Weather Payment
  • Disability Living Allowance
  • Pension Credit
  • Personal Independence Payment
  • Winter Fuel Payment

You may not be able to claim Housing Benefit if (a) your partner is already claiming it (b) you are receiving support through Universal Credit. 

If your Pension Credit includes a Guarantee Credit part, your income and savings will not be taken into account; making you eligible for maximum Housing Benefit. However, homeowners are not eligible for Housing Credit but they may still find support for their mortgage interest as part of their Pension Credit.

Does Council Tax Reduce When You Retire?

No, council tax does not reduce simply because someone has retired. However, should low income count as a factor resulting from retirement, individuals may claim for a council tax reduction. 

Similarly, if someone is claiming Pension Credit, living alone, or has less than £16,000 they will qualify for a council tax reduction on their monthly bill. 

Based on the current London Living Wage of £10.85 per hour, individuals earning between £86.80 and £173.59 will be considered on a relatively low income and be considered eligible for a 50 per cent discount on their council tax bill. Meanwhile, individuals earning less than £86.80 per week will be considered as earning a low income and will therefore become eligible for a 100 per cent council tax reduction.

Can Council Help Retired Individuals With Rent Arrears?

Yes, if you are retired, the council can help with rent arrears by offering convenient options such as a payment plan to clear their dues and make future payments easier for them. In such a case, social renters pay an extra amount above their usual rent to cover their arrears. However, before committing to a plan of such nature, you must calculate the amount you will be able to spare for this additional expense by considering your income and preparing a budget.

Claimants who are also on benefits in addition to availing a council house will find it easier to seek easy payment plans from their councils or social housing landlords. For instance, if you are on Housing Benefit or Universal Credit, you may simply have your payments transferred to for payment of your rent through Direct Debit or a Standing Order.

If this is not a workable solution as Housing Benefit or Universal Credit do not account for the entire amount of your rent, you may apply for a Discretionary Housing Payment (DHP). This is extra money provided by your local council to meet your rent payments or arrears (if you have any). You are not required to return this amount to the council. If you are on Housing Credit or Universal Credit, you can ask your local council for a DHP form. 

Can Someone Live With Me To Share Council House Rent?

Yes, if you are retired, someone can live with you in your council house as they are generally intended for eligible candidates and their families; whether they are dependants or non-dependants. However, if you intend to ask someone to live with you as a carer or a joint tenant, or you intend to sublet your council house, you must consult your tenancy agreement and discuss with your landlord/local council office prior to making any commitments.

If you are on Housing Benefit or Universal Credit, any changes to the number of people in your home might have an impact on the amount of benefit you were receiving prior to them moving in especially if they are expected to contribute towards the rent. Even if the additional occupants are not expected to contribute towards the rent, the council expects them to share your rent and taxes if they are non-dependants. This means that you will face a reduction in your benefits if someone who is classified as a non-dependant comes to live with you.

If you are not on benefits, you only have to inform your landlord of the addition of occupants to your household especially if they are expected to share the rent with you. There is a possibility that your tenancy agreement will need to be changed to adjust for joint tenancy. 

If you are under a Secure Tenancy or Fixed Tenancy agreement with the housing authorities, you may sub-let rooms in your council house; however, subletting of the entire council house is not allowed. You will find a clause in your tenancy agreement that confirms the same. Therefore, it is advisable not to add someone to your council house with the intention of subletting the premises.

Can Pension Credit Help Me When I Retire?

Pension Credit is a state benefit for individuals above state pension age; which aims to help them with finances if they are struggling to make ends meet.

It comes in two parts; Guarantee Credit helps to top up weekly incomes to meet the minimum level and Savings Credit, which is extra money that is given to those whose income is higher than the state pension or they have some savings. 

If someone qualifies for Pension Credit, they may not only benefit from added income to meet their living costs but also find themselves eligible for other state benefits as well. These include the following:

  • Council Tax
  • Dental treatment at NHS
  • Cold weather treatment
  • Housing benefit
  • Carer addition

What Benefits Are Available When You Reach 60?

There are certain allowances and benefits that men and women living in the UK may be eligible for once they reach the age of 60.

Individuals with at least 30 qualifying years may receive £134.25 per week as the basic state pension. Meanwhile, those individuals who have 35 qualifying years will be entitled to £175.20 per week as the full state pension.

When it comes to medical bills, individuals over 60 are entitled to free dental care and eye tests at the NHS.

Conclusion:

According to statistics, there are nearly 12 million people in the UK who are aged 65 years and above. Out of these, 5.4 million people are above the age of 75 years. It is expected that with rising life expectancies and a growing ageing population, there will be an additional 8.5 million people added to the above 65 years demographic. Considering this growth in numbers, it may be easier to understand the reasons why council authorities are unable to provide support to individuals who retire. However, if someone meets the eligibility criteria for Housing Benefit, they can claim this state benefit to help them with rental payments.

FAQs: Will The Council Pay My Rent When I Retire?

Do pensioners pay rent on council houses in the UK?

Yes, pensioners do pay rent on council houses in the UK. However, if they are of state-pension age, on a low income or claiming benefits, they can apply for Housing Benefit to get support for rental payments.

Do you get full Housing Benefit on State Pension?

If you are eligible for Guarantee Pension Credit, you can get full Housing Benefit on a state pension.

How much Housing Benefit can a pensioner claim?

The maximum housing benefit that a pensioner can claim is 100 per cent of the eligible rent. This does not account for expenses incurred for services such as heating, lighting, water and non-dependant charges.

What benefits are pensioners entitled to?

Depending on their eligibility, pensioners may be entitled to Disability Living Allowance, Personal Independence Payment, Carer’s Allowance, Attendance Allowance, Pension Credit, Cold Weather Payment, Winter Fuel Payment and Bereavement Support Payment.

How much State Pension will I get when I retire at 66?

Currently, the full state pension rate is £179.60 but the amount that you qualify to receive will depend on your National Insurance contributions.

References:

Benefits in retirement

The best benefits for pensioners and the over 60s | unbiased.co.uk

Housing Benefit – GOV.UK

Housing benefit advice | Age UK

Council Tax Support | Claiming Benefits

Get help with renting costs

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John has 22 years of experience in financial services. This spans across financial research, financial services (As a qualified mortgage broker and underwriter), financial trading and sales at global investment banks. While working as a publishing research analyst, he covered European bank credit and advised institutional clients on investment strategies at both JP Morgan and Societe Generale. John has passed all three levels of the CFA (Chartered Financial Analyst) programme.

John has 22 years of experience in financial services. This spans across financial research, financial services (As a qualified mortgage broker and underwriter), financial trading and sales at global investment banks. While working as a publishing research analyst, he covered European bank credit and advised institutional clients on investment strategies at both JP Morgan and Societe Generale. John has passed all three levels of the CFA (Chartered Financial Analyst) programme.