Housing Benefit is worked out differently depending on your circumstances.
If you live in council accommodation or other social housing
The most Housing Benefit you can get is the same as your ‘eligible’ rent, which includes:
- rent for your accommodation
- charges for some services, eg lift maintenance, communal laundry facilities or play areas
Even if it’s included in your rent, you won’t get any Housing Benefit for:
- charges for heating, water, lighting or cooking
- payments for food or fuel in board and lodgings or hostels
Your local council will also look at your personal and financial circumstances when they work out your Housing Benefit. They’ll look at:
- money you and your spouse or partner have coming in, including earnings, some benefits and tax credits, and occupational pensions
- your savings (and your spouse or partner’s savings)
- your circumstances - eg your age, your family and their ages, whether you or any of your family are disabled, and whether anyone who lives with you could help with the rent
Your home and rent
Your council will also take into account your home and the rent you pay. They’ll look at whether:
- the amount of rent is reasonable for your particular home and the area where you live
- your home is a reasonable size for you and your family
Your ‘eligible rent’ might be limited to an amount that’s reasonable for a suitable property where you live.
If you rent from a private landlord
The amount of Housing Benefit you get will be calculated using the Local Housing Allowance rates.
It will depend on where you live and who lives with you.
Local Housing Allowance rates are set for different types of accommodation in each area. The rates range from a single room in a shared house, up to properties with 4 bedrooms.
Local Housing Allowance limits
There are limits to the amount of Local Housing Allowance that can be paid:
- £250 a week for a 1 bedroom property (including shared accommodation)
- £290 a week for a 2 bedroom property
- £340 a week for a 3 bedroom property
- £400 a week for a 4 bedroom property
If you’ve been getting Housing Benefit since before 7 April 2008, the Local Housing Allowance rules will only apply to you if you:
- change address
- have a break in your claim for Housing Benefit
How Housing Benefit is paid
If you’re a council tenant, your local council will pay any Housing Benefit straight into your rent account.
If you’re renting privately, your Housing Benefit will be paid:
- directly into your bank or building society account
- to you by cheque, in some circumstances