Housing Benefit

IMPORTANT FACTS- Council Tax Reduction

Council Tax Reduction was introduced after Council Tax Benefit ceased to exist on 1 April, 2013. Someone may apply for Council Tax Reduction whether they are unemployed or in work, rent or own their own place. 

The most one can get is a 100% reduction. How much you get depends on:

  • where you live  (each council runs their own scheme)
  • your circumstances (eg. income, number of children)
  • your household income, including things like savings, pension, your partner’s income
  • if your children live with you
  • if other adults live with you


You may get Council Tax Reduction if:

  • you pay Council Tax
  • you’re on a low income or claiming benefits

How to apply

To apply for Council Tax Reduction contact your local council.

Housing Benefit 

You may get Housing Benefit if you pay rent and your income and capital (savings and investments) are below a certain level. You could qualify if you are out of work, or in work and earning a low wage.

You can’t usually get Housing Benefit if:

  • you have savings of over £16,000
  • you live in the home of a close relative
  • you’re a full-time student (unless you’re disabled or have children)
  • you’re an asylum seeker or are sponsored to be in the UK

From 1 April, 18-21 year olds making new Universal Credit claims in full digital service areas will not be entitled to help with housing costs unless they fall into one of the exempt groups. These include:

  • those with dependent children
  • people exempt from the Shared Accomodation rate of Local Housing Allowance
  • people unable to live with their parents
  • young people who have been working (more than 16 hours per week) for the previous 6 months
  • existing claimants.

It will not affect supported housing until 2019.

Other restrictions

If you live with a partner or civil partner only one of you can get Housing Benefit.

If you’re single and aged under 35 you can only get Housing Benefit for bed-sit accommodation or one room in shared accommodation. 

How much do you get?

If you rent a property or room from a private landlord, your Housing Benefit will be calculated with the Local Housing Allowance rules. Here is a good calulator to signpost people to: https://benefits-calculator.turn2us.org.uk/AboutYo

If you live in council accommodation or other social housing, the most Housing Benefit you can get is the same as your ‘eligible’ rent.

More information can be found here.

Eligible rent includes:

  • rent for the accommodation
  • charges for some services, such as lifts, communal laundry facilities or play areas

Even if it’s included in your rent, you won’t get any Housing Benefit for:

  • water charges
  • charges for heating, hot water, lighting, or cooking
  • payments for food or fuel in board and lodgings or hostels

The amount of Housing Benefit you may get also depends on your personal and financial circumstances. Your local council will look at:

  • money you and your partner or civil partner have coming in, including earnings, some benefits and tax credits, and occupational pensions
  • your savings (and your partner’s or civil partner’s savings)
  • your circumstances: such as your age, the size of your family and their ages, whether you or any of your family are disabled, and whether anyone who lives with you could help with the rent
  • the particulars of your home and the rent you pay

Your council will also look at whether:

  • the amount of rent is reasonable for your particular home
  • your home is a reasonable size for you and your family
  • the amount of rent is reasonable for the area where you live                                                                                                                                                                       Your ‘eligible’ rent may be limited to an amount that’s reasonable for a suitably sized property in your area.

How it’s paid

If you are a council tenant, your council will pay any Housing Benefit straight into your rent account.

If you’re not a council tenant, your Housing Benefit will be paid:

  • to you by cheque
  • by Direct Payment into your bank or building society account

Housing Benefits & Bedroom Tax 

VIDEO– Bedroom tax has been controversial. Watch from 1.03 to find out what it is and the debate surrounding it. 

Housing Benefit will be impacted by the implementation of the Bedroom Tax. If you live in a council or housing association home and you have a spare bedroom you will have your Housing Benefit cut from April 1, 2013. Going forward, Housing Benefits will be included in the monthly Universal Credit payment and it is the responsibility of the claimant to pay for rent. 

One bedroom is allowed for each of the following: 

• A couple 

• A person who is not a child (age 16 and over) 

• Two children of the same gender (aged 10 and over but under 16) 

• Two children who are under 10 (regardless of gender) 

• Any other child 

If you are considered to have a spare bedroom the following deductions will be made from your Housing Benefit:

• 14% of the Housing Benefit will be deducted if you have one spare bedroom 

 25% of the Housing Benefit will be deducted if you have more than one spare bedroom 

There is also a non-dependent deduction to Housing Benefits if someone 18 or older (children or other adults) is living with you. 

Bedroom Tax: 
14% of the Housing Benefit will be deducted if you have one spare bedroom  
25% of the Housing Benefit will be deducted if you have more than one spare

You can claim up to 100% for a Council Tax Reduction 
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