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Check how much Housing Benefit you can get

This advice applies to England

You might be able to get all your rent paid or just some of it. How much Housing Benefit you get depends on:

  • where you live

  • who you live with

  • your income

  • any savings you have

You won’t know exactly how much Housing Benefit you’ll get until after you’ve applied. If you need an estimate before claiming, you can use the Turn2us benefits checker.

You can also contact your nearest Citizens Advice. An adviser will ask you about your circumstances and will be able to tell you how much Housing Benefit you’re entitled to.

If you rent from a private landlord

The maximum Housing Benefit payment you can usually get is called the ‘Local Housing Allowance rate’. It depends on where you live and what kind of property you live in - for example a house or flat.

Your rent might be more than the Local Housing Allowance rate. If it is, you’ll have to pay the rest yourself.

You can check the Local Housing Allowance rate in your area on GOV.UK.

The Local Housing Allowance rate doesn’t apply to every type of tenancy - for example it might not apply to you if:

  • your tenancy started before 15 January 1989
  • you’ve been getting Housing Benefit for the same property since 1996

  • you live in a caravan, mobile home or houseboat

  • your landlord’s a charity or housing association and they give you care or support - for example if you live in sheltered housing

  • you pay rent as part of a shared ownership scheme

If you think the Local Housing Allowance rate might not apply and you want to know how your Housing Benefit is calculated, contact your nearest Citizens Advice.

There are other circumstances that might affect how much Housing Benefit you can get.

If you’re single and under 35 years old

Your Housing Benefit will usually be limited to enough to pay for a bedsit or a room in a shared house or flat. This means that if you rent a 1-bed flat by yourself, your payment might not cover your full rent.

The limit won’t usually apply if you:

  • have someone else living with you - for example a child or a flatmate
  • are a foster carer
  • are at least 25 years old and lived in homeless hostels for at least 3 months
  • are at least 25 years old and have left prison under the Multi-Agency Public Protection Arrangements (MAPPA)

If you used to be in care, the limit might not apply until you’re 22 years old.

If you’re disabled, the limit won’t usually apply if you get one of these benefits:

  • Personal Independence Payment including the daily living component
  • Disability Living Allowance including the middle or highest rate care component
  • Attendance Allowance
  • Armed Forces Independence Payment

The limit will still apply if someone gets Carer’s Allowance for looking after you.

If you need overnight care, you might be able to get Housing Benefit for a 2-bed flat if someone regularly stays over in a separate room so they can care for you.

If you claim other benefits

You’ll automatically qualify for the maximum amount of Housing Benefit for your type of property if you claim:

  • Universal Credit
  • Income Support
  • income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA)
  • income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
  • the guarantee part of Pension Credit

Some things could still stop you from getting the maximum amount. For example, if someone lives with you who could help pay the rent or you have a spare room.

Check if the benefit cap applies to you

There’s a limit to the amount of benefits you can get each week. This is called ‘the benefit cap’.

The benefit cap doesn’t apply to you if:

The benefit cap also doesn’t apply if you or your partner stopped work less than 9 months ago. You must have worked for 50 weeks in the year before you stopped working and not got Income Support, Jobseeker’s Allowance or Employment and Support Allowance.

You can check how the benefit cap will affect you if you're not sure.

If the benefit cap applies to you, your total payments can't be higher than the cap - even if you’re eligible for the full amount of Housing Benefit.

If another adult lives with you

If you live with your partner, your local council will look at how much they earn when deciding your Housing Benefit payments.

They’ll also look at the income of any other adults you live with who aren’t tenants or boarders - for example a grown-up son or daughter. They’re known as ‘non-dependants’.

You won’t usually get the maximum amount of Housing Benefit if a non-dependant lives with you.

Your nearest Citizens Advice can help you work out if you should get the maximum amount of Housing Benefit.

If you rent from the council or a housing association

The maximum Housing Benefit you can get is the full amount of rent you have to pay.

There are circumstances that might affect how much Housing Benefit you can get.

If you claim other benefits

You’ll automatically qualify for the maximum amount of Housing Benefit for your type of property if you claim:

  • Universal Credit

  • Income Support

  • income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA)

  • income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)

  • the guarantee part of Pension Credit

Some things could still stop you from getting the maximum amount. For example, if someone lives with you who could help pay the rent or you have a spare room.

Check if the benefit cap affects you

There’s a limit to the amount of benefits you can get each week. This is called ‘the benefit cap’.

The benefit cap doesn’t apply to you if:

The benefit cap also doesn’t apply if you or your partner stopped work less than 9 months ago. You must have worked for 50 weeks in the year before you stopped working and not got Income Support, Jobseeker’s Allowance or Employment and Support Allowance.

You can check how the benefit cap will affect you if you’re not sure.

If the benefit cap applies to you, your total payments can't be higher than the cap - even if you’re eligible for the full amount of Housing Benefit.

If you have an extra room

You won’t usually get the maximum amount of Housing Benefit because what’s known as ‘the bedroom tax’ or 'spare room subsidy' will apply. You can check how the bedroom tax will affect your Housing Benefit.

If Housing Benefit doesn’t cover your rent

Once you claim Housing Benefit, you might also be able to get a Discretionary Housing Payment (DHP) if you need help paying the rest of your rent.

How long you can get a DHP for depends on your circumstances. In the long term you might need to look for extra work or move somewhere more affordable.

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