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Housing Benefit new claim

You may be able to claim Housing Benefit to help with paying your rent if you are on benefits, receive a pension or you are on a low income.
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What is Housing Benefit?

Housing Benefit is a national benefit paid to people on low incomes who have to pay rent for the home they live in.
 
Housing Benefit is available to you if you are:
  • a council tenant
  • a housing association tenant
  • in a shared-ownership scheme (but only for the rental part of the agreement)
  • renting private accommodation
  • paying a rental charge for mooring your houseboat
  • paying a rental charge for pitching your mobile home or caravan.
If you also pay Council Tax, you may also be able to get a Council Tax Reduction or Second Adult Rebate.
 
 

Who can claim Housing Benefit?

You can claim Housing Benefit to help pay your rent whether or not you are:
  • receiving other benefits, tax credits, or pensions
  • working
  • unemployed
  • unable to work due to illness or disability
  • caring for a child or adult
  • retired.
But not everyone who makes a claim for benefit will get it.
 
You cannot get Housing Benefit if you have more than £16,000 in savings, stocks and shares or other capital unless you also receive Pension Credit Guarantee Credit.
 
The best way to find out if you can get benefit is to make a claim.
 
 

Making a claim for Housing Benefit

To claim Housing Benefit you must complete our form. 
 
The form is a long one and may take some time to fill in but you can do it in stages by saving the form and going back to it later.
 
You can also claim for Council Tax Reduction on the same form.
 
 
If you can't download or print off the form and you would like a paper form, please email us or phone us on 020 8430 2000.
 

Filling in the form

The form looks long, but we need to ask a lot of questions to make sure everyone gets the right amount of benefit.
 
If someone else fills in the form for you, they must sign it in the space provided.
 
If you need help filling in the form, we can arrange for someone to visit you.To make an appointment phone us on 020 8430 2000.
 
If you are writing to us or sending your claim form to us by post, send it to:
Newham Benefits Service
PO Box 23504
London
E15 4UU
 

Claiming Housing Benefit with other benefits

You can make a claim for Housing Benefit at the same time as you make your claim at the Jobcentre Plus or the Pension Service for any of these benefits:
  • Income Support
  • Jobseeker's Allowance
  • Employment and Support Allowance
  • Pension Credit.
 
 

Proof of identity and evidence

To support your claim, we will need to see documents as proof of identity and evidence of your circumstances.
Do not send us valuable items, such as benefit order books, bank books, or passports, in the post. If you have valuable items that we need to see please call us on 020 8430 2000 to make an appointment to bring them in to us.


Original documents we need 

You will need to provide original documents from the 'identity' section and 'National Insurance number' section below.

Identity

To prove your identity (and your partner if you have one) you will need to provide two per person of:
  • birth certificate, marriage/divorce certificate, separation or annulment papers (in your current name)
  • passport (current and valid) or National Identity Card
  • medical card
  • gas, electricity, phone or water rates bill, but not a mobile phone bill, in your name for the last quarter
  • driving licence (photo card current and valid) - full or provisional
  • cheque card or credit card or debit card
  • certificate of employment in HM Forces or Merchant Navy
  • letter from solicitor, social worker or probation officer
  • Home Office standard acknowledgement letter (SAL1 or 2)
  • Residence Permit or Aliens Registration Certificate
  • Immigration and Nationality Directorate Travel Document.
 

National Insurance number

We need to see proof of your National Insurance number (and your partner if you have one). You will need to provide one per person of:
  • P45 or P60
  • letter from the Inland Revenue about tax
  • pay slips or salary statement or works pension statement as long as they show your National Insurance number
  • letter that the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has sent to you (not hand-written)
  • National Insurance number card (not hand-written).
 

Documents you can provide copies of 

You will need to provide documents from each of the four sections below. You can bring in or send These can be copies or scanned and emailed to us though we may ask to see originals at a later date if there is a discrepancy.

Income

To prove your income and the income of anyone who lives with you, you must provide one per person of any of the following that are relevant to your circumstances:
  • payslips (if you get paid weekly we require the last five weeks; if you get paid monthly we require the last two months payslips - no gaps)
  • trading accounts for the last financial year if you are self-employed
  • Income Support (IS), Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) or Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) decision letter, Pension Credit, Working Tax Credits, Child Tax Credits, other Tax Credits or pension notification letters
  • evidence of any other income you or any member of your household receives must be declared and supporting evidence provided; if this information is not provided the highest deduction will be taken from your benefit.
 

Rent

If you pay rent to a private landlord or a housing association, we need to see a tenancy agreement or letter from a landlord or agent giving the following information:
  • full name and business or residential (home) address of the owner of the property
  • full name and business address of any agent
  • date the agreement started
  • amount of current rent payable
  • what is included in the rent - for example heating, lighting, cleaning, water rates, meals, personal care, general counselling and support
  • payment period or frequency - for example weekly, monthly, four-weekly.
 

Savings, investments, stocks, shares, property or any other capital

If you, your partner or your children have any savings, investments, stocks, shares, property or other capital, we will need to see evidence. This can include one per person of any of the following:
  • bank, building society or Post Office account pass books or statements (the last two statements for each account – no gaps)
  • share certificates or dividend statements for stocks or shares or bonds
  • property
  • evidence of any other savings and capital must be declared and supporting evidence provided.
 

Payments for child care and/or into a personal pension

If you pay for child care and or into a personal pension, these payments are taken into account when calculating the amount of Housing Benefit you may be entitled to. We need to see:
  • proof of payments made to childminder, nursery or after-school club and their registration number
  • bank statements for proof of any personal pension contributions paid out or letter or statement from pension company.
If you cannot get all the documents we need straightaway, you should send the claim form to us as soon as possible with the documents you do have so that you do not lose money. You can send us the other documents later.
 
 

How much Housing Benefit could I get?

The amount of benefit you will receive depends on:
  • your personal circumstances and those who live with you
  • your income and benefits
  • any other money, savings or investments you have
  • the income and savings of other people who live in your home
  • how much rent you pay.
Housing Benefit does not cover certain service charges, such as charges for fuel and water.
Use our online benefits calculator to get an estimate of how much Housing Benefit you could get.
The calculator will only estimate what you could be entitled to. The best way to find out how much you will get is to make a claim.
 

Savings

Working age

If you are of working age and you have any savings between £6,000 and £16,000 they will be taken into account in calculating your income and may reduce the amount of Housing Benefit you get.
 
If you have savings, investments or other capital worth more than £16,000 you will not be able to get Housing Benefit.
 

Pension age

If you are of pension age and you have any savings between £10,000 and £16,000 they will be taken into account in calculating your income and may reduce the amount of Housing Benefit you get.
If you have savings, investments or other capital worth more than £16,000 you will not be able to get Housing Benefit unless you also receive Pension Credit Guarantee Credit.
 

Private tenants

If you are a private tenant making a new claim for Housing Benefit, or you already get Housing Benefit and you move to privately rented accommodation, your benefit will be worked out using the Local Housing Allowance (LHA).
 

Council and housing association tenants

From April 2013, if you are a council or housing association tenant, of working age and your accommodation is assessed as having at least one spare bedroom, we will not pay Housing Benefit for the full amount of your rent. The rent we use to calculate your Housing Benefit could decrease by:
  • 14% if you have one spare bedroom
  • 25% if you have two or more spare bedrooms.
The number of bedrooms we can allow for a council or housing association tenant is the same as the number of bedrooms we can allow for a private tenant under LHA.
See ‘Calculating the number of bedrooms you need’ to find out how many bedrooms you need.
You will not be affected by these reductions if you, or your partner:
  • have reached state pension age or
  • are living in:
    • housing association shared-ownership scheme
    • caravan or houseboat
    • exempt supported accommodation
    • temporary accommodation provided by us because you are homeless.
     
     

    Receiving your Housing Benefit

    Council tenants

    We will pay your Housing Benefit weekly into your rent account so you will not have to pay the full rent. You will be told how much your Housing Benefit is, and how much your rent payments will be.
     

    Housing association and private tenants

    Your benefit will be paid straight into your bank or building society account, in arrears, every two weeks. We cannot pay Housing Benefit into Post Office accounts.
     

    Paying your benefit directly to your landlord

    We will pay your Housing Benefit directly to your landlord if you:
     
    • have rent arrears of eight weeks or more
    • move out still owing rent and we owe you some Housing Benefit
    • are having deductions for rent arrears taken from your Income Support, Jobseeker's Allowance, Employment and Support Allowance or Pension Credit
    • are a vulnerable person and you cannot take responsibility for paying your Housing Benefit
    • your claim is calculated under Local Housing Allowance rules and you can show us that you will have difficulty taking responsibility for paying the rent yourself.
     
    If you think any of the above rules apply to you, you can tell us about it when you claim or you can fill in our Paying your landlord form (PDF). 
     

    How we pay your landlord

    We usually pay Housing Benefit to landlords directly into their bank accounts, every four weeks or monthly in arrears.
     

    First payment

    If there has been a delay in dealing with your claim and your first Housing Benefit payment is for a large amount, we will usually pay your first payment directly to your landlord’s bank account.
     
     

    Not getting enough Housing Benefit?

    If you do not agree with our decision, for example if you think you are entitled to benefit and we have said you are not, or if you think you should get more benefit because we have made a mistake, you can appeal.
     
    If you think we have calculated your benefit correctly, but you need more help with your housing costs you can apply for a Discretionary Housing Payment.
     
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    Housing Benefit on two homes

    You can ask for Housing Benefit to be paid on two addresses at the same time, for a period of up to four weeks.
     
    We can pay you this overlapping benefit if you have actually moved into your new home and we accept that you could not have reasonably avoided having to pay two rents for the same period.
 
 
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