Finding a decent place to live in the UK can be an uphill task, especially if you are struggling to make ends meet. Fortunately, the British government offers some help to those who can’t afford to rent a place on their own. Find out how you can get help with rent payments thanks to the housing benefit. We’ll tell you how much you’re entitled to and the eligibility criteria for this service in this article.
- What Is Housing Benefit?
- Types of Housing Options
- Who Can Make a Claim
- When Should You Apply for Housing Benefits?
- How to Apply
- How Much Housing Benefit Can I Get?
What Is Housing Benefit?
Housing benefit is financial aid given to persons unable to pay rent in the UK. The aid is only available to citizens that are receiving other governmental benefits or can’t raise their monthly rent due to unemployment or low income.
The Difference Between Housing Benefit and Universal Credit
The UK federal government offers an array of financial help to its citizens to allow them to cope with inflation and unemployment. Housing benefits and universal credit are the top most sought-after benefits in the UK. While both provisions are given to a particular category of citizens, the difference stems from the purpose. Beneficiaries of housing benefits can only use this money to pay for rent and utilities linked to it, while those receiving universal credit can use it for multiple purposes outside of rent payment.
Types of Housing Options
There are two types of housing benefit options available for UK citizens. These are the council and social housing rent, and private rental options.
Council and Social Housing Rent
This option attracts particular benefits depending on how much rent you pay, the availability of a spare bedroom, total household income, and the state of people living in the house. If you have a disabled family member, the circumstances change, and your benefit could increase. You can read more about council housing here.
Private Rental Options
If you live in a privately owned home, the amount you receive could be your local housing allowance (LHA) or actual rent, depending on which of the two is lower. Your household size and home location significantly affect how much LHA you get. Your household income and the health of the members determine how much you receive.
You may need to contact the local council for more information if you live in a houseboat, mooring, caravan site, boarding home, hostel, or property protected by the rent act.
Who Can Make a Claim
You should apply for housing benefits if you cannot raise your rent or live in supported, sheltered, or temporary housing. Additionally, you can claim this service if you have reached or are above the pension age in the UK. If you were living with your spouse or civil partner and have recently separated, you can claim a new housing benefit status independently.
When Should You Apply for Housing Benefits?
This department is open all year long, so you can apply any time if you’re doing it online or via mail. However, if you utilize an in-person application, you may have to do it during working days and office hours.
How to Apply
If you are interested in receiving this benefit, you can apply through your local council. To start the application process, you must provide a postal address number to know which city you belong to. If you are above the state pension age, you can request housing benefits as part of your pension credit.
However, applicants should note that the above services are being replaced by universal credit. Therefore, anyone who wants the housing benefit can simplify the process by checking out UC for housing online. Nevertheless, you can contact the local council for more help if you have already applied for the service with its help.
Before you apply for housing benefits, you must create an account to facilitate the process. Once you follow the instructions provided on the website and submit the request. Remember to attach the correct documents to avoid any delays.
The Requirements and Documentation Needed
Even though this service is available to individuals who can’t pay their rent, the government doesn’t offer its help before screening each person for eligibility and confirming their identity. So, when you apply for housing benefits, here’s what you should provide:
- Bank or Building Society account details
- Proof of investments
- Proof of income for adults living with you that isn’t dependent on you
- UK driving license or photo card or any other recognized ID
- Your monthly rent bills
- Tenancy agreement or rent book
- A tenancy confirmation letter from the landlord
- Additional utilities included in your rent
- Service charges that are part of your rent
- The landlord’s or agent’s contacts
- The most recent pay slips (5 for weekly payments and 2 for bi-weekly payments)
How Much Housing Benefit Can I Get?
If this is the looming question in your head, you should know there is no particular amount dedicated to each person. Therefore, you must use the benefits calculator to find out how much you’re eligible for.
The government is working hard to ensure no one has difficulty finding a decent place to live. Whether you opt for a private rental flat or a council home, the amount you receive will depend on your personal circumstances. We hope the information we compiled helps you get your housing benefit application started.