Housing Benefit eligibility
Housing Benefit is gradually being replaced by Universal Credit, but only for new claims or certain changes of circumstances in areas where the Universal Credit 'full service' is in place. At the moment this only applies in Erewash and some areas covered by Chesterfield Jobcentre but the Universal Credit full service will expand across Derbyshire during 2018.
Find out more about Universal Credit or contact using the information on this page.
Housing Benefit is payable whether you are working or not, and you have a low income. It is payable whether you are a council tenant or rent from a private landlord or housing association or may be payable even if you are renting a room in someone's home.
If you are of working age and you get Income Support, Income-Related Jobseeker’s Allowance or Income-Related Employment and Support Allowance, most of your rent will usually be paid via Housing Benefit.
There are some things in your rent that Housing Benefit cannot pay for, such as water charges and some service charges. Housing Benefit may also be reduced for other reasons, for instance if you are considered to be living in a home that is too large for your needs. Please seek advice.
If you are of working age you can still get some help with your rent even if you do not get benefits but have:
- a low income and
- savings of less than £16,000
You can claim even if you are in paid work as well as if you are too ill to work, or unemployed. If you normally work but cannot work due to temporary illness you may qualify.
If you are a pensioner, you may qualify for maximum Housing Benefit even if you have over £16,000 in savings, providing you qualify for the ‘Guarantee Credit’ part of Pension Credit.
If you are paying a mortgage, Housing Benefit does not apply. Please seek advice.
How much help you can get with rent depends on how much you are liable to pay and how much your weekly income is, compared to what the law says you need to live on. Housing Benefit can make extra allowances if someone in your household is disabled, or a carer.
Not all of your income counts. Certain things are ignored. For example:
- any attendance and disability living allowances or the new Personal Independence Payment (these also lead to extra allowances in Housing Benefit)
- any child maintenance you receive
- between £5 and £25 of any earnings after stoppages depending upon your circumstances
- if you pay for registered childcare, some of what you pay can be ignored for the purpose of calculating weekly income
Council Tax reduction
Council Tax reduction is now the responsibility of your local district or borough council.
Help for pensioners will remain the same, but some people of working age, may find themselves paying some of their Council Tax - even if they are on basic benefits which have previously led to a full rebate.
Even if you cannot get council tax reduction, you may still be entitled to a non-means-tested discount to lower your total bill if for example:
- a disabled person lives in the property
- a room is needed for that person’s needs
- there is an extra kitchen or bathroom for the disabled person
- you are the only adult in the property
Call our Benefits Helpline tel: 01629 531535 on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday between 11am and 4pm.