Local Housing Allowance
LHA applies to most private sector accommodation.
However, it excludes for example council and registered housing association lettings, mobile homes, caravans, shared ownership cases, and social accommodation where care, support or supervision is provided.
The LHA considers the location and the size or category of accommodation rather than the rent actually payable for it.
LHA rates take into account the number of bedrooms needed by a claimant and their household up to a maximum of four and are based upon the number of people in your home as set out below.
The LHA rate is set by the Valuation Office Agency and places a cap on the maximum amount of Housing Benefit that claimants can receive. Please note that this is different to the Overall Benefit Cap which applies to the total of all the welfare benefits which a claimant receives.
- View the current rates for your area and calculate how many bedrooms you are entitled to (Please go to the section entitled “How LHA rates are calculated”).
In its summer 2015 budget, the Government stated that LHA rates were to be “frozen” for a period of four years from April 2016. This will mean that the maximum rent that may be payable as Housing Benefit for a relevant property will remain unchanged during that period of time.
How many bedrooms am I entitled to?
The number of bedrooms you need will be based on how many people you have living with you. We do not count other rooms such as a living room, kitchen or bathroom.
You will be assessed as needing one bedroom for each of the following people up to a maximum of four bedrooms.
- Every adult couple (married or unmarried).
- Any other adult aged 16 or over.
- Any two children of the same sex aged under 16.
- Any two children aged under 10.
- Any other child.
An extra bedroom may be included for the following people but only up to the maximum limit of four as outlined above.
- A foster parent with or without a placed child.
- A disabled child who needs their own room.
- A non resident carer providing regular overnight care.
- A child that was previously a non-dependant and who is away on armed forces duty and intends to return to your home afterwards.
What If I have more than 4 bedrooms?
If you make a new application for LHA or change your address and are assessed as needing more than 4 bedrooms for the occupants of your home, you will have your Housing Benefit restricted to the 4 bedroom rate.
Are there any exceptions to these rules?
If you are a single person under 35 years of age, you will always receive the shared room rate for LHA purposes regardless of the property you actually occupy.
If you claim Housing Benefit, you can only get it for yourself and your family. If you have another adult living with you, on a non commercial basis, your benefit may be reduced.
If you are a joint tenant, this may affect the amount of Housing Benefit you get as your benefit will be calculated based upon your share only.
Calculate your benefit entitlement
A benefit calculator is now available to help you determine whether you may be entitled to Housing Benefit and/or Council Tax Support and the potential amount.
If you find that you may be entitled, you will be able to access the benefit claim form directly from the ‘Results’ page of the calculator.
The calculator will also permit you to assess the impact of increasing your working hours and/or pay on your entitlement.
Local Welfare Assistance (LWA)
Local Welfare Assistance (LWA) is a discretionary support scheme. LWA payments may be made to help residents who do not have an alternative means of paying for what they need.
The payments are intended to meet one-off needs rather than on-going expenses and are aimed at helping:
- people in short-term need because of a crisis or emergency
- support vulnerable people in the community
- ease exceptional pressure on families.