You could get Housing Benefit and Council Tax Reduction if you are on a low income. You can be unemployed or working to claim these benefits.
Housing Benefit - is help with paying your rent.
Council Tax Reduction - is to help you pay your Council Tax bill.
We look at the amount of your Council Tax bill, who you rent from and the number of rooms that you need.
We also look at:
- your income
- your savings
- the people who live with you
- whether anyone in your household has a disability
- if anyone living with you should contribute to your rental and Council Tax costs
Can I claim benefits?
You may get Housing Benefit if:
- you pay rent
- you’re on a low income or claiming benefits
- you have less than £16,000 in savings
Usually you won't qualify for Housing Benefit if:
- your savings are over £16,000 (unless you get the Guaranteed element of Pension Credit)
- you live with your landlord, who is a close relative
- you’re a full-time student - unless you’re disabled or have children
You can claim Council Tax Reduction if:
- you are liable to pay the Council Tax bill at your address
- you’re on a low income or claiming benefits
- you have savings of £16,000 or less
How much will I get?
There is no set amount for Housing Benefit we can pay, we need to work out:
- the amounts of money that the government says you need to live on for your circumstances; this is called an applicable amount
- the maximum rent we can pay: this is worked out differently depending on if it is a housing association property (such as Incommunities) or rented from a private landlord - this is called eligible rent and is the amount we use to work out your benefit
- we may not pay this maximum amount, that will depend on your other circumstances such as your household income and the people who live with you and the size of the property you live in.
For Council Tax Reduction:
- if you or your partner are a pensioner, you may get Council Tax Reduction for up to 100% of your Council Tax bill.
- if you are of working age and you or your partner qualify for a severe or enhanced disability premium or carer premium you may receive Council Tax Reduction for up to 100% of your Council Tax bill.
- for all other working age, the maximum amount of Council Tax Reduction you may receive is 75% - this means you will have to pay at least 25% of your Council Tax bill.
- you may not get the maximum amount, this will depend on your other circumstances such as your household income and the people who live with you.
You can use our online benefits calculator to estimate how much benefit you may qualify for.
Second Adult Rebate
This is also known as Alternative Maximum Assistance. If you share your home with people on a low income you may get help to pay your Council Tax bill based on their income.
To qualify they need to be:
- 18 or over
- not your partner
- not renting from you
- not responsible for the Council Tax bill themselves
We do not look at your own income and savings for this benefit
Use the benefits calculator to see if you might qualify for
- Housing Benefit
- Council Tax Reduction
- Second Adult Rebate
How many rooms do I need?
The maximum amount of Housing Benefit we can pay also depends on the number of bedrooms that you need.
People who need a room:
- an adult couple
- 2 children under 16 of the same sex
- 2 children under 10 (regardless of sex)
- a single adult (16 or over)
- any other child
You can use the Directgov LHA bedroom calculator. This will tell you how many bedrooms you need.
Registered Social Landlords - Housing Associations
The maximum eligible rent is usually the rent charged but this amount may be reduced if you have more rooms than you need. You may have heard this called the bedroom tax.
If you have spare bedrooms the maximum we can pay could be reduced by:
- 14% for 1 spare bedroom
- 25% for 2 or more spare bedrooms
These rules do not apply if:
- you or your partner have reached the qualifying age for state pension credit.
- your property is in shared ownership
- your tenancy is excluded e.g. site rents or moorings
- you live in supported accommodation
- you live in a property as a result of previously being homeless
Private Landlords - Local Housing Allowance
If you are renting a property from a landlord in the private sector the maximum Housing Benefit we can pay is based on the Local Housing Allowance figure for your area and the number of rooms that you need not the rent that you have to pay.
If you live in a Housing Association property, Local Housing Allowance will not affect you.
We can only pay Housing Benefit based on the number of bedrooms that you need, not the number of bedrooms in the property or the rent you are charged.
If you are under 35, single and without children you are allowed what is known as the shared accommodation rate.
You can use Directgov to find LHA rates - enter how many bedrooms you need or shared accommodation rate and type in the postcode.
There is a limit on the total amount of benefit that most people aged 16 to 64 can get. This is called the benefit cap:
- £500 a week for couples (with or without children living with them)
- £500 a week for single parents whose children live with them
- £350 a week for single adults who don’t have children, or whose children don’t live with them
The amount of Housing Benefit we can pay may be reduced so that you don’t go over this limit.