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How to claim housing benefit

How do I claim benefit?

All claims for benefit must be made in writing on application forms available from us, The Pension Service, or Jobcentre Plus. See benefit forms if you would like to download a form.

If you or your partner are claiming Income Support/Job Seeker's Allowance (Income Based)/Employment and Support Allowance (Income Related) or Pension Credit:

  • Make sure that you tell Jobcentre Plus/The Pension Service that you wish to claim Housing Benefit. They will then gather information from you which will help us calculate your claim
  • Jobcentre Plus will then forward the Housing Benefit forms to us. The Benefits Agency will also confirm to us if you have been granted Income Support/Job Seeker's Allowance/Employment and Support Allowance. If you are claiming Pension Credit, the form should be returned to the Pension Service who will forward the forms to us
  • Sometimes we may need further information in order to process your claim. If we do, we will write to you to tell you what we need (this could include you filling in one of our claim forms even if you do not rent from a private landlord)
  • Once we have received all the necessary information, including proof of your identity, we will assess your claim
  • In order to speed the process up you can get and complete a Housing Benefit form from us as soon as you apply for Income Support/Job Seeker's Allowance/Employment and Support Allowance/Pension Credit

If you are not in receipt of Income Support/Job Seeker's Allowance (Income Based)/Employment and Support Allowance (Income Related)/Pension Credits you can still apply for Housing Benefit:

  • This will be based on your income and your personal/family circumstances. You will need to obtain a claim form from us for completion. Once we have received the completed form from you together with all the necessary information including your proof of identity we will assess your claim for Housing Benefit and/or Council Tax Benefit
  • If you live with a partner you should only make one claim for both of you. It does not matter which of you claim unless one of you is a student
  • If one of you is a student (and the other is not) it is the non-student who should claim, with the student being entered as your partner on the form

If you do not provide all the information that we ask for we will not be able to work out your claim.

Can students claim benefit?

Most full time students are excluded from claiming Housing Benefit. If you are a full time student, you can only claim if you are:

  • Looking after a child or young person
  • Aged 60 years or over
  • Disabled
  • Receiving Income Support or Job Seeker's Allowance (Income Based)
  • Aged under 19 in further education (but not higher education)
  • Waiting to return to your course after illness or having had to care for someone

All part time students can claim Housing Benefit. Details and proof of your grant, parents' contributions and other income are needed to work out what benefit you may be entitled to.

Students are normally exempt from the payment of Council Tax and, therefore, will not be entitled to Council Tax Benefit.

When does benefit start and end?

Your Housing Benefit will normally start on the Monday following the date your application form is received by us or Jobcentre Plus. If you request the claim form via a telephone call, letter, email, or visit, then as long as you return the form within one month of your request, your benefit will commence from the Monday following the date you requested it. This will even apply if the claim is received on a Monday. It is therefore very important that you send the form as soon as possible. Any information to go with the form can be sent separately at a later date.

If you wish your benefit to start from an earlier date you can make a request for backdating. You can do this by either writing to us, or complete the online request for the backdating of housing benefit form.

If your entitlement to benefit stops due to a change in your circumstances, you will normally be paid up to and including the Sunday following the date that the change occurred. If you move out of your accommodation you will normally be paid up to and including the Sunday after you move out.

How often do I have to reapply for benefit?

You do not have to reapply for benefit, but you are required to inform us about changes in your circumstances when they arise. In addition, we will be undertaking checks on claims and may write or visit you from time to time to verify the information you have provided.