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Housing Benefit

Housing Benefit can help you to pay your rent if you are unemployed, on a low income or claiming benefits.

For most people Housing Benefit has been replaced by Universal Credit.

If you need help to pay your Council Tax you will still need to claim Council Tax Support.

Who can get Housing Benefit

You can only make a new claim for Housing Benefit if:

  • you live in supported housing (hostels or sheltered housing)
  • you are homeless and the council has placed you in temporary accommodation
  • if you and your partner are both State Pension age
  • you or your partner have been getting Pension Credit since before 15 May 2019

If none of these apply to you, you will need to claim Universal Credit

Who can’t claim Housing Benefit

Usually you won't get Housing Benefit if you:

  • are receiving or are able to claim Universal Credit (includes an amount for housing costs).
  • rent your home from a close relative who lives in the same house
  • own the property you're claiming benefit for (or have a mortgage on that property)
  • and any partner have joint savings or investments of more than £16,000
  • are an EU citizen, EEA or Swiss national who has not applied to the EU Settlement Scheme and been granted settled status or pre-settled status (who must also have a right to reside).
  • are a foreign national subject to immigration control

Apply for Housing Benefit

Housing Benefit can help pay for rent and some service charges. It doesn't help with water, care, heating, food or mortgage payments.

Any evidence needed will be listed at the end of the form. 

The amount of Housing Benefit you can get is based on:

  • the amount of rent you pay
  • your household income, including any benefits and pensions
  • savings and investments (over £6,000 for those of working age and £10,000 for those of pension age (you can't get Housing Benefit if you have savings of £16,000 or more unless you're a pensioner and receive the guarantee credit part of Pension Credit)
  • your circumstances, for example the ages of people in your household and if someone has a disability
  • if you're a housing association tenant under pension age how much you get also depends on whether you have spare bedrooms
  • if you rent from a private landlord how much you get depends on the local housing allowance rate which may be lower than your actual rent

It takes on average 15 days to process a new Housing Benefit claim. If you provide all the evidence needed as soon as possible, we can process claims more quickly.

Changes to your circumstances

If you already claim Housing Benefit, you must let us know if you have a change in your circumstances.

You will need your claim reference number (you will find this on your notification letter) and your National Insurance Number to help confirm your identity.

Tell us about a change as soon as possible, the change may mean that you're eligible for more Housing Benefit. If you do not let us know within one month, we may not be able to backdate the change.

Suspended awards

If you receive Housing Benefit and we have sent you a letter telling you it has been suspended because of a change in your circumstances. You can use our form to send us the supporting evidence we have asked for. 

Self-employed review

If you're self employed we may ask you complete a self-employed review form.

Proof of rent

You will need to provide proof of the rent you pay.

If you can’t supply your tenancy agreement or rent card, your landlord will need to complete the rent proof form.

Rent proof form

Proof of earnings 

If you're employed but don’t have the number of wage slips needed, your employer will need to complete the employer's certificate of gross earnings form.

You can submit these forms with your claim or change notification.

Appeal a decision

If you don’t agree with a decision about your Housing Benefit you can appeal.

You need to appeal within one month of the date on your decision letter.

You can ask for:

  • a letter explaining our decision
  • us to look at our decision again
  • an independent appeals tribunal to look at the decision

Use the general enquiry form to appeal.

Or you can write to us Plymouth City Council, Plymouth, PL1 3BJ

View your Housing Benefit online

Sign in or register for a My Plymouth account to view your Housing Benefit payments online.

With a My Plymouth account you can see:

  • any payments made to you
  • your award information
  • any documents we have sent you

You will need:

  • benefit reference number (you can find this on your award letter)
  • National Insurance Number

Access My Accounts (opens new tab)

If you are a landlord and need to contact us, use the online contact form.