Working out housing benefit
We run the scheme but the Government sets the rules. How much you get depends on:
- whether you have a partner
- whether you or anyone you live with gets a disability benefit
- your personal circumstances and the amount of rent you have to pay
- how much money you have coming in - income from working or self employed, benefits and pensions
- the amount of savings you have (more than £16,000 will normally disqualify you)
- any other people you live with including non-dependants, who would be expected to make a contribution to household costs
- the number of bedrooms you need
- renting from council or housing association:
- If you have a spare room your eligible rent will be further reduced by 14% for one spare bedroom and 25% for two or more spare bedrooms – Bedroom Tax
- renting from a private landlord:
- The 'Local Housing Allowance’ is used to work out the maximum rate to be used in the calculation of housing benefit based on where you live and how big your property and family are.
If you get one of the following:
- Income Support
- Job Seekers Allowance (Income Based)
- Employment and Support Allowance (Income Related)
- Pension Guarantee Credit
You will get the full amount of your eligible rent / maximum housing benefit minus any non-dependant deductions.
All other cases
We calculate benefit by comparing your weekly income with your 'applicable amount'. Your applicable amount is the amount the Government says you need to live on each week (the amount will depend on your circumstances for example: if you are single, part of a couple, sick, disabled, elderly or a lone parent).
If your weekly income is less than, or the same as your 'applicable amount', you will get the full amount of housing benefit. If this happens you should claim Income Support as you may get more help.
If your weekly income is more than your 'applicable amount' (any income over that is called "Excess Income") then you are entitled to receive housing benefit equal to the weekly eligible rent less 65% of the weekly excess income figure and less any non-dependant deductions.
If you have any other adults living with you (over the age of 18), such as grown up children, we may have to reduce the housing benefit we can pay you. This reduction is called a non-dependant deduction.
Claiming housing benefit - single and under 35
If you are under 35 years old, and live on your own renting from a private landlord, then the amount of housing benefit you are entitled to will be restricted in line with legislation.
This restriction will not apply if you:
- rent from a local authority or housing association
- are aged under 22 and have been in care
- live in supported housing provided by a housing association, registered charity, voluntary organisation
- get the severe disability premium in your benefit because you are entitled to the middle or higher rate care component of the Disability Living Allowance
- need an extra bedroom for a carer who provides you with the overnight care you need but who doesn't normally live with you
- have spent at least three months in a:
- homeless hostel
- hostel specialising in rehabilitating and resettling within the community
The Overall Benefit Cap
There is currently a limit on the total amount of welfare benefits that working age households can receive and this is called the overall benefit cap (OBC).
The cap applies to households in receipt of Housing Benefit or Universal Credit unless exempt.
- For couples, families and single parents, the total amount of specified welfare benefits that can be received is £500 per week.
- For single people, the total amount of specified welfare benefits that can be received is £350 per week.
Unless you are exempt, if your household receives more than the above amount in total for specified welfare benefits, your Housing Benefit payments, or where you are in receipt of Universal Credit, your Universal Credit payments will be reduced by the amount that your total benefits exceed the cap.
Following the Government’s summer 2015 budget, the cap is to be reduced in the autumn of 2016 to a set limit.
- For couples, families and single parents, the total amount of specified welfare benefits that can be received is £442.31 per week
- For single people the total amount of welfare benefits that can be received is £296.35 per week.