Home Money Can YOU claim housing benefit? Help is available if you are a senior and struggling to pay your rent.

Can YOU claim housing benefit? Help is available if you are a senior and struggling to pay your rent.

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Housing Benefit – This is intended to support low-income tenants and does not cover homeowners.

Housing benefit is now merged with Universal Credit for people of working age, but is still available to people over state pension age and those living in certain types of accommodation.

It aims to support low-income renters and does not cover homeowners, although, depending on their circumstances, they may qualify for a loan to help with mortgage interest payments.

We look at the rules for housing benefits and how to apply for them, and some valuable sources of help if you’re struggling to afford a roof over your head.

Housing Benefit – This is intended to support low-income tenants and does not cover homeowners.

Are you entitled to housing benefits?

If you are under 66 and making a new application for help with housing costs, you will normally need to claim UC; Read our guide to Universal Credit here.

The exceptions to this are if you live in sheltered or supported accommodation, or a shelter for survivors of domestic abuse, or in temporary housing arranged by your council.

You can also apply for a new housing benefit if you are over 66 years old.

However, if you have a partner, they must also be over state pension age, or you must have already claimed pension credit as a couple before 15 May 2019, or you must live in the type of accommodation mentioned above.

There is a list of Circumstances that may prevent a claim for housing benefits.including having savings of more than £16,000 (unless you receive the collateral credit element of pension credit) or living with a close relative.

If you have doubts, the Government suggests you use one of the free and anonymous profit calculators listed here, either Consult with a local benefits advisor.

If you are a homeowner and want to apply for a loan to pay your mortgage interest, the government-backed website MoneyHelper has information about mortgage interest support. scheme here.

if you live in Scotland, you can find out more about housing benefit here. and if you are in Northern Ireland go here.

How much is the housing subsidy worth and what does it cover?

There are a number of factors that determine how much you receive and whether it covers part or all of your rent if you qualify.

Since there is no fixed amount, the free profit calculators linked here could help you reduce it.

There are different rules for private tenants and for those living in municipal or social housing.

But in both cases, the amount is affected by your household income (including benefits, pensions and savings) if it is over £6,000.

He bedroom tax reduces the amount you can get if you live in municipal or social housing.

The size of the household and the number of bedrooms you are eligible for are also included in the calculation for private renters.

In the private sector, where you live and the rent typically charged in your area will play a big role in what you get.

This is Money pensions columnist Steve Webb explained how this works to a reader who faced a huge rent rise that exceeded her housing benefit.

‘As a private tenant, your housing benefit is not based on your actual rent. “Instead, it is based on something called local housing allowance,” he stated.

The LHA is typically set to match or exceed the rental level of the cheapest 30 per cent of rental properties in its area, he continued. Can Discover the LHA in your area here.

Although this level has been reduced or frozen on several occasions in recent years, from April this year it was reset to once again cover the bottom 30 per cent of rent levels in each local area.

Webb said: ‘The political justification given for imposing the 30 per cent threshold is that people on benefits should not be able to choose the best properties in an area and have their rent covered in full by the taxpayer.

“Instead, the taxpayer will only pay up to the rent for a relatively modest property, regardless of the actual rent.”

He added: “When people are really struggling and perhaps have some particular or exceptional need, they can apply to their local authority for what is called ‘discretionary housing payments.’

The Government has more here about discretionary housing payments, Who can claim them and how to request them.

Housing benefit may be limited by the benefit limit, which applies to people between 16 and state pension age.

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How to apply for housing benefit

There are two ways to apply. The first is through your town hall. you can use this zip code checker, which will take you directly to the housing benefits section of your council’s website.

The second is through a pension credit application, which increases older people’s income to a minimum of £218.15 for single people and £332.95 for couples.

If you already claim pension credit, Contact the Pension Service To discover more. Read our guide to claiming pension credit here.

You can claim in advance, for example, if you are moving, although you probably won’t receive money before you move, and you may also be able to backtrack a claim.

Age UK recently carried out a ‘mystery shopper’ exercise to find out how useful councils are when people are unable or unwilling to apply for housing benefit online.

The charity warns there is a postcode lottery if you don’t use computers and ask for help. So you may need to be persistent or contact one of the organizations linked below, including Age UK itself, to help you.

The Government says you will have to provide information and evidence to support your claim, and has a list of what you will need need to know or could be requested during housing benefit application process.

Any change in circumstances must be reported and there is a summary of common examples here.

If you are a council tenant, housing benefit will be paid directly into your rent account and if you are a private or housing association tenant it will usually go into your bank or building society account.

Can you challenge a decision?

The Government explains the basic concepts of appeal a housing benefit decision here.

You can challenge a council to review a decision or appeal against it in court.

Regarding help and advice with resources, Citizen Advice has information hereand Take refuge here.

You may also want to consult a lawyer. He Law Society has a tool to find a lawyer here, which allows you to search by legal issues (‘welfare, health and benefits’ is one of the options) and by where you live.

Where can you get help with a claim?

Gov.uk has general guidance on What you need to know about housing benefit.

The following organizations have more information and some have staff who will help you with complaints or if you have problems or want to appeal a decision.

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Age UK

Advice to citizens



Emergency help: The shelter has a helpline at 0808 800 4444 which is open Monday to Friday between 8am and 6pm if you are homeless, have nowhere to stay overnight, are worried about losing your home in the next two months or are at risk of harm or abuse.

The number and link above are for England, but there are details of Refuge in Wales here and Scotland here.

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