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News Article

Who can claim Housing Benefit?

Published 16 October 2015 by

If you’ve not got much money coming in, you could find it difficult to afford all of your household bills. You might struggle to pay your rent and if this is the case, it’s important that you know that help is available.

Housing Benefit could help you meet the cost of your rent, whether you’re already receiving other benefits or are currently working. However, if you already get Housing Benefit, you may have been told that your benefits are due to move to Universal Credit. Let’s take a look at how much you could get, and how you could claim this.

How much you could claim

You could be eligible to receive Housing Benefit if you’re out of work or on a lower income. You also won’t be able to have savings over a certain level, usually £16,000.

For tenants in council or social housing, the amount of Housing Benefit you’ll get will depend on the average rent for a property in your area and your household income. Your Housing Benefit could be reduced if you have a ‘spare bedroom’ – read on to find out what this is.

If you’re renting privately then how much you’ll get will depend on the size of your house and the number of people living in it. Adult couples are expected to share a bedroom, two children aged between 10 and 16 of the same sex are expected to share and two children under the age of 10 are expected to share, regardless of gender. So if you and your husband rent a house and you have twin boys, you’d only be able to get Housing Benefit for two bedrooms.

Here’s how much you could get, depending on how many bedrooms you’re eligible to receive Housing Benefit for:

Property size Weekly amount of Housing Benefit

1 bedroom or shared accommodation

Up to £260.64

2 bedrooms

Up to £302.33

3 bedrooms

Up to £354.46

4 bedrooms

Up to £417.02

Universal Credit

Depending on where you live in the UK, your Housing Benefit might soon move to Universal Credit. This is a payment to replace other benefits including Jobseeker’s Allowance, Housing Benefit and Employment and Support Allowance. If you’re a social or council housing tenant, Universal Credit will mean you’ll receive Housing Benefit differently.

Instead of having your Housing Benefit paid to your landlord, it will now be paid directly into your account. If you’re not used to receiving this money, you might find it hard to budget for the rent payment. You could find that you accidentally spend the money on something else, which would leave you short for your rent.

If you’re looking for a way to manage your Housing Benefit payment on Universal Credit, you could consider the thinkmoney Personal Account. It’s a clever account designed to help with budgeting by ring-fencing the income, including Universal Credit, that you need to put aside to cover your regular bills such as rent. When your wages or benefits are paid to you, the money will go into your Salaries account, and the amount you need for bills will be held back so you won’t be able to accidentally spend it. The leftover money will go to your Card account, and you’ll then be able to spend this without worrying that your bills won’t be met.

There’s just one monthly management fee for the thinkmoney Personal Account – £17.50 for a single account or £24.50 for a joint account – and no charges for going overdrawn or missed payments. For more information about this, click here.