Apply for Housing Benefit
Housing Benefit is help to pay rent for people on low incomes who are employed or unemployed.
Who can claim Housing Benefit?
Universal Credit has replaced Housing Benefit for most new claimants. You can only make a new claim for Housing Benefit if one of the exceptions below applies. If not, you will have to claim Universal Credit instead and if you are eligible, your housing costs will be included as part of your award.
You can still make a new claim for Housing Benefit if you:
- and your partner (if you have one) have reached state pension age. Check if you are classed as pensioner by using GOV.UK’s state pension age calculator.
- are a mixed aged couple and one of you is getting Guaranteed Pension Credit, and you have received this benefit continuously since before 15th May 2019. In this situation the older member of the couple needs to be the main claimant for the Housing Benefit claim.
- live in temporary accommodation provided by the Council, in supported accommodation, or in a hostel
- have been on Income Support, income-related Employment and Support Allowance, income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance, or Housing Benefit in the last month and:
- are receiving the severe disability premium (SDP) as part of your benefit award; or
- were receiving SDP within the last month and still satisfy the entitlement conditions.
This new exception was introduced from 16 January 2019.
Other eligibility conditions
In addition to the above, you may be able to claim Housing Benefit if:
- you rent your home
- your income is low enough to satisfy the means test
- your savings or investments are under £16,000 (unless you are also receiving the guarantee element of Pension Credit). But note that savings over £6,000 (or £10,000 for pensioners) will affect how much you get.
You can't get Housing Benefit if you own your home, but there is other financial help available for homeowners.
Existing Housing Benefit claimants
If you already receive Housing Benefit, you can continue to do so until:
- your circumstances change and you need to make a new claim, or
- you are migrated to Universal Credit by the Department for Work and Pensions (which could be sometime between 2020 and 2024).
You do not need to start a new claim if you move house and stay in Royal Greenwich - you just need to complete the change of circumstances form.
Once you have claimed Universal Credit, your Housing Benefit claim will end and you will not be able to re-claim in future unless one of the above exceptions apply.
Complete the online form to apply for both Housing Benefit and Council Tax Support. Depending on your circumstances, the form will take from 10 minutes up to 45 minutes to complete.
You can save the form at any point before you submit it by noting the reference number and clicking 'Save for later'. You can not make any changes to the form once it is submitted.
How much you can get
The amount you get depends on:
- money that you and your partner have coming in
- your savings and your partner's savings
- any other people you live with
- other circumstances such as your age, ages and size of your family, if anyone in your family is disabled.
Council or housing association tenants
If you're a council or housing association tenant, the amount you get also depends on:
- your eligible rent (this is the amount of rent we use in our assessment)
- if you're under pension age and have spare bedrooms.
If you rent your home from a private landlord, the amount you get depends on the Local Housing Allowance - this may be lower than your actual rent.
Contact the Welfare Rights Service to check how much you can get and for a free benefits check.
You can also visit our benefits pages to see what other support you may be able to get.
What happens next
When you have completed the application form, an evidence checklist will be automatically created and emailed to you. You have one month to provide the evidence requested, so that your claim can be processed.
We may need additional information from you, for example if you are a student. If so, you may need to complete an additional form.
Do not delay submitting your claim form even if you do not have all evidence to support your claim at the time of submission, as you have one month to send it to us and you could miss out on benefit if you wait.
If your application isn't approved, you can appeal the decision.
Backdating your claim
You can ask for your claim to be backdated although you must have a good reason for the request.
Your claim can be backdated for up to one month before the date of your claim unless you've reached the minimum age for claiming Pension Credit (Gov.UK) in which case it can be backdated for three months.
To request backdating, please provide details in the 'anything else' section on the application form.
If your circumstances change
You must tell us about any changes in your circumstances or any changes in the circumstances of the people who live with you.
If you don't tell us about a change of circumstance or delay telling us, you may end up with an overpayment which you'll need to repay.
COVID19: If your income has recently reduced, please report your change of circumstances ideally via the online form or email. We are receiving a high number of requests at the moment and we will process these as soon as possible. If you have received the acknowledgement for your change of circumstances being submitted you do not need to chase it up.
The Royal Borough of Greenwich checks and verifies all information provided in support of Housing Benefit and Council Tax Support claims. See our data protection information for details of how we collect and distribute personal information.