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Eligibility for housing benefit

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last updated: 28 May 2016 report a problem

your entitlement to housing benefit

In this article

  • How the council makes its calculations to decide your eligibility for housing benefit
  • When deductions are made from the amount you might get


After you have made a claim for housing benefit the council will take various factors into consideration when deciding how much benefit you might be eligible for. With changes to the way benefits are worked out in general, how much you might receive will be determined by which benefits cap rate you fall under – £500 per week or £350.

How the council makes its calculations

1)      The first thing the council does is work out how much you need to live on taking into consideration:

  • The number of people in your house and their ages
  • If anyone is sick or disabled
  • If anyone is a full-time carer

2)      The council then examines how much income you have coming in to the household such as:

  • Wages
  • Benefits and tax credits
  • Pensions
  • Child support or maintenance payments
  • Grants, bursaries and student loans

3)      Savings and investments

  • People who have £16,000 or more in savings will not be entitled to any housing benefit, though this does not apply if you are of pension age and receive the guaranteed pension credit

4)      The rent you pay

  • The council will reduce the amount of benefit you receive when looking at the rent you pay if you pay service charges or other charges included with your rent or you have other adults living with you who could contribute to the rent (known as ‘non-dependants’)
  • The council considers your home is too large for your needs
  • Service charges included in rent that will not be included in your housing benefit can be any or all of the following: charges for meals, personal laundry service, personal alarm system, personal support and care, water charges and most fuel charges
  • Having said that housing benefit will be given to help with the cost of some service charges such as: fuel charges for communal areas, charges for communal laundry facilities, charges for lifts, entry phones, gardens and children’s play areas

5)      Non-dependant deductions

  • If you have a ‘non-dependant’ living with you, your housing benefit might be reduced. A non-dependant is someone aged 18 over who is not your husband, wife, civil partner or partner (including same sex partners) or a lodger
  • Any children you have of adult age are counted as non-dependants unless you are getting child benefit for them (for example, if they are 18 or 19 and still at school)
  • There will be no deduction made if you or your partner are registered blind, get attendance allowance or the care component of disability living allowance
  • Similarly, no deductions are made for a non-dependant who is: getting pension credit, in prison, in hospital for more than 52 weeks, or is staying with you, but usually lives somewhere else, a full-time student (unless they work full-time during the summer holidays) under 25 and getting income support, income-related jobseeker’s allowance or income-related employment and support allowance or on certain youth training courses
  • If none of those apply then the council will find that a non-dependant can pay something towards your rent, whether they do or not. If this is the case, your housing benefit will be reduced by a weekly amount that varies according to their income and personal circumstances
  • A deduction may be delayed for 26 weeks in certain situations if you or your partner is over 65


If you receive income support, income-based jobseeker’s allowance, income-related employment and support allowance or the guaranteed pension credit you will be entitled to the maximum amount of housing benefit.

If you are not in receipt of these benefits, your housing benefit will be reduced by 65 pence for every £1 of income (except income that is removed from the equation) you have above the level the council decides you need to live on.

Where to go for further help and advice

If you need help with making a claim for housing benefit or feel that the council has not worked out your entitlement correctly Shelter provides advice and support.

In summary:

  • The council takes into consideration a wide range of factors when deciding how much housing benefit you may be eligible for
  • Ultimately, if you receive any or all of these benefits – Income Support, income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance, income-related employment and support allowance or the guarantee credit of pension credit – you will be eligible for the maximum amount of housing benefit
  • Deductions to the housing benefit you receive depends on a number of factors
  • The amount you receive also depends on which benefit cap applies to you

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