Housing Benefits - FAQs

Housing Benefit is paid by the council to help people who live in rented accommodation meet the costs of their rent. It is means-tested so any income or savings you have may affect the amount that is paid.

Who can claim?

You must be liable for rent and have savings of £16,000 or less. If you are aged 60 or over and receive the guarantee credit part of pension credit, the £16,000 capital limit does not apply and you will still be able to get full eligible housing benefit.

How much is paid?

As housing benefit is a means-tested benefit it depends on a number of factors including how much income and savings you have, your household composition, whether you are disabled or a carer etc.  Recent changes mean that more pensioners can now get more help with their rent.  Please use the following link to check how much you might get or to claim Housing Benefit on-Line.  Please note that this will give you an estimate of what you might be entitled to claim and you will still have to complete and submit the application form on-line.

Non-dependant deductions

Your housing benefit may be less if other people share your home, e.g. an adult son or daughter. This is known as a non-dependant deduction. The amount of the deduction will depend on the income of the non-dependant.

How to claim

You can claim on a form available from the Council or you can claim when applying for Jobseekers Allowance, Employment Support Allowance or Income Support from Jobcentreplus..

The Pension service will be working more closely with local authorities, therefore if you are claiming the pension credit, your local authority will not need to re-assess your income and savings if the Pension Service has already done this. They should accept the Pension Service assessment without needing to recheck or verify the information. Make sure to tell the Pension Service that you also want to claim Housing Benefit or Council Tax Benefit

The Start Date of Your Benefit Claim

Under Housing and Council Tax Benefit law your claim for benefit must be made in writing, either on a benefits application form or by letter. Normally we will start your claim from the Monday after we receive your application form or letter. It is therefore very important that you get your application form or letter to us as soon as possible because it affects the date your benefit claim will start from. If we send you an application form we will allow you 4 weeks to complete and return it. If you take longer than 4 weeks to return the form you might lose your entitlement to some of your benefits.

The Rules on Backdating Benefit

You can only ask for a backdate of benefits if there is a reason why you were unable to apply for your benefit earlier. If you disagree with the date your claim starts from for any other reason you can appeal against the decision.  If you are pensionable age the maximum backdate allowed is 3 months. If you are working-age the maximum backdate allowed is 6 months.

For more information please see our ’Backdating your benefit claim‘ leaflet. Alternatively you can telephone the Benefits section on 01923 773138 or email


When we give you too much benefit, we call it an 'overpayment'. If we give you too much benefit, we will send you a letter.

The letter we send you will tell you:-

  • why we gave you too much benefit
  • how much the overpayment is
  • if you have to pay back the amount
  • how you can appeal if you think this is wrong  

Benefits online

If you want to claim Housing Benefit or Council Tax Reduction, you can now do this online. It is quicker and easier and means your claim will be faster. 

Claim Housing Benefit online

Apply for Discretionary Housing Payment

If you already receive Housing Benefit or Council Tax Reduction:

Report a change to your circumstances

Register for self-service

For more information, contact our Benefits Section on 01923 278501 or email

You can download a Housing Benefit Fraud Referral Form to report suspected fraudulent benefit claims.

Benefit Fraud Referral Form (pdf)


Benefit LeafletsHealthHousing Benefits