Housing Benefit and Universal Credit

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Depending on your circumstances, you may be able to get help towards your rent / housing costs through either Housing Benefit or Universal Credit. 

The amount you’re entitled to depends on:

  • where you live;
  • what savings you have;
  • how many people live with you; and
  • your income.

Housing Benefit

Housing Benefit can help you pay your rent if you’re unemployed, on a low income or claiming benefits. It is paid by your local council.

It is being replaced by Universal Credit – if you are receiving housing benefit and have a change of circumstances you may have to make a claim for Universal Credit.    

You can only make a new claim for Housing Benefit from your local council if either of the following apply: 

  • you have reached State Pension age
  • you’re in supported, sheltered or temporary housing.

For further information on Housing Benefit please view the Gov.UK website.

Universal Credit

Universal Credit is a single benefit for working-age people. It replaces means-tested benefits, such as: 

  • Income support
  • Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
  • Tax credits
  • Housing Benefit

Universal Credit is paid monthly in arrears to only one member of the household unless certain exceptions apply. You are expected to manage a budget and pay your rent / housing costs direct to your landlord. It is expected that a claim will be in payment after 6 weeks of making the claim. 

Universal Credit mainly affects working age people, however for mixed age couples; where one partner is of working age and the other has reached Pension Credit qualifying age, they will have to claim Universal Credit rather than Pension Credit. 

For further information on Universal Credit please view Gov.UK's Universal Credit and You factsheet publications.

How do I make a claim?

Alternative Payment Arrangements (APAs)

When can an  APA  be considered?

Discretionary Housing Payment (DHP) 

Discretionary Housing Payments (DHPs) provide financial support to help with rent or housing costs and are provided by your local council.

Eligibility

What a DHP can cover

How to apply

Other organisations that can help

Here is a list of organisations that can help and advise you on money, benefits and debts issues. 

Organisation Type of Help and Support Website
Gov.UK The best place to find government services and latest information on coronavirus situation and on benefits available. Gov.UK website
Citizens Advice Bureau Advice service for a wide range of matters – legal, financial including debts and benefits. Tel: 0344 411 1444 Citizens Advice Bureau website
Money Advice Service Money, Benefits and debt advice Online Tools and Calculators. Tel: 0800 138 7777 Money Advice Service website
Turn to Us This provides detailed guidance on different benefits and has handy online benefits calculators. Tel: 0808 802 2000 To find out which benefits you may be entitled to, please use the Benefits Checker on the Turn2us website. The Benefits Checker should only take ten minutes to complete
National Debtline Free debt advice and support for people with money worries and debt difficulties in England, Wales & Scotland. Tel: 0808 808 4000 National Debtline website