Updated 26th April 2017
Housing Benefit is intended to help you pay your rent if you are on low income. You may get help to pay part of your rent, or in some cases all of it – it is dependent upon your own personal circumstances. You do NOT need to be unemployed to get this payment. If you are in work and low paid, you can still apply for Housing benefit. It is payable to those on low income or claiming certain benefits. You can also receive this benefit if you are self employed.
Housing benefit is not meant to help you pay for any general expenses of your accommodation – such as heating or decoration. It is essentially to help towards paying your rent or part of it! There are other benefits available if you need help with heating or other costs. There is no set sum payable for housing benefit – such as there is with many other benefit payments.
Things that get taken into account in order to assess how much you are entitled to include; whether or not you pay your rent to a private landlord or your local council; how much your rent is; whether or not you have a spare room; any savings you have over the sum of £6,000; how much the income of your ‘household’ is and circumstances such as age and disabilities of those living in your household.
How much you get can be affected by the Benefits Cap, which limits the total of benefit payments that you are allowed to claim. You may get enough to cover all of your rent, or just part of it, depending upon how much you earn, where you live, what other benefits you receive.
If you are eligible, housing benefit can be claimed towards your rent for either council, sheltered, or private property. It is not available to help with your mortgage payments if you own your own home. It is for ‘rent’.
In many cases, your Housing Benefit may not cover all of your rent. If this is the case, further help may be available from your local council for help with your rent. The council will have a financial pool known as the Discretionary Housing Payment. You should contact them if you think you are eligible for additional money towards your rent.
The local authority (your council) is responsible for assessing your claim, and paying this benefit. It is not part of the government’s benefits system, nor administered by the Job centre. However, the Jobcentre may help you and advise you about making a claim to your local authority.
As from April 3rd 2017 the work-related activity component of Employment and Support Allowance will no longer be used as part of the Housing Benefit applicable amount - However
From 6 April 2017, Child Tax Credit will be limited to two children where a new child is born or joins a household on or after this date.
If you already receive Child Tax Credit for more than two children that were born before 6 April 2017, this will continue to be paid
Housing benefit is administered and paid by your local authority – NOT by the local benefits Office. But if you are claiming certain benefits, the benefits office will help you with your claim.
Your local council also has full responsibility for rooting out any fraudulent claims and payments of Housing Benefit.
The two main things that can affect how much you will get are the Benefits Cap, and the so-called Bedroom Tax. How much you may get will also be dependent upon where you live.
There are two basic methods of payment for this benefit.
If you live in council housing, you will not actually receive the money directly. It will be set off against your normal rent.
If you live in private rented accommodation, you will receive the money into your bank account and you should pay your landlord in the normal agreed way.
Council or Social Housing rent is assessed differently to private property rent, and there are set rules for each type of provision.
You can appeal against the decision if you are refused housing benefit.
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March 9th 2017
***Child Tax Credit - From April this year the ‘family element’ of £545 per year will be abolished.***
March 8th 2017
**MPs are calling for a halt to the accelerating roll-out of Universal Credit as the ongoing problems are causing undue and unnecessary hardship**
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