Information about claiming Housing Benefit

Do I qualify for help with my rent?

If you want to know if you will qualify for any help with your rent, you can do a quick calculation using an online calculator, the link is shown below;

You will be asked questions about your household make up, income and savings. This will also give you an estimate of Tax Credit entitlement.

Alternatively, you can use the online claim form. This is a more detailed assessment which will enable you to make a claim at the end. This will take slightly longer as the questions are more detailed but once you have finished, we will contact you about your claim. you will also need to provide evidence to support your claim.

Please note the potential weekly rate of housing benefit notified at the end of the assessment is an estimate only and may not be what you are entitled to. If you are currently working the estimate will be less accurate and we will contact you about this.

Who can claim housing benefit?

Housing benefit is available to those who are on a low income and need help with paying rent on their home. 

Only people in certain groups can make a new claim for housing benefit.  Everyone else will need to claim Universal Credit and apply for Housing Costs within their Universal Credit to help pay their rent. See this link for more information Universal Credit

You can still make a new claim for housing benefit if,

  • You are receiving Pension Credit
  • You are single and of pension age
  • You are a member of a couple and you are both of pension age 
  • You live in a hostel, supported accommodation, a refuge or temporary emergency homeless accommodation, you will need to claim housing benefit as well as Universal Credit.

People who are already receiving housing benefit will stay on housing benefit until they move to Universal Credit or have a change that requires them to claim Universal Credit. However, if you are claiming Universal Credit and receiving housing benefit because you are living in a hostel, supported accommodation, a refuge or temporary emergency homeless accommodation, and you moved to a private or socially rented accommodation your housing benefit will end and you will need to add Housing Costs to your Universal Credit claim.

If you are in one of the groups above that can still claim housing benefit, please go to make a claim via our online portal.

How many bedrooms am I entitled to?

How many bedrooms you need is based on how many people you have living with you. We do not count other rooms such as a living room, kitchen, or bathroom.

The number of bedrooms you need is then used to work out the maximum rent we can use in your calculation of your housing benefit.

You are entitled to one bedroom for;

  • every adult couple (married or unmarried)
  • any other adult aged 16 or over
  • A disabled child who cannot share a bedroom (see below)
  • one or more foster children (see below)
  • two children of the same sex aged under 16
  • two children who are under 10 regardless of their sex
  • any other child
  • a carer (or group of carers) providing overnight care (see below)

An extra bedroom can be awarded to disabled couples who cannot share a room and to disabled children or non-dependants who need an overnight carer. 

Couples who cannot sleep in same room due to disability

An extra bedroom can be allowed if one or both of a couple have a disability that means they are unable to share and one member of the couple is in receipt of:

  • the middle or higher rate care component of Disability Living Allowance (DLA)
  • higher rate Attendance Allowance (AA)
  • the daily living component of Personal Independence Payment (PIP), or
  • Armed Forces Independence Payment (AFIP).

We will need to know why the couple cannot share. This may be due to insufficient room for 2 single beds because of medical equipment taking up space or may be due to the extent and regularity of disturbance to sleep.

Disabled children

To qualify for the extra bedroom for a disabled child, the home must actually have the extra bedroom and the child must be;

  • entitled to the care component of Disability Living Allowance (DLA) at the highest or middle rate; and
  • because of their disability, it would not be reasonable for them to share a bedroom.

When deciding whether it is reasonable to expect the child to share a room, we will need to know the nature and frequency of care required during the night, and the extent and regularity of the disturbance to the sleep of the child who would normally be required to share the bedroom. Medical evidence will be required.

Foster children

A foster child includes:

a.   a child placed with the claimant or his partner by a local authority under section 23(2)(a) of the Children Act 1989 or by a voluntary organisation under section 59(1)(a) of that Act.

b.   placed, with the claimant or his partner prior to adoption; or

c.   placed for adoption with the claimant or his partner in accordance with the Adoption and Children Act 2002 

Carers

An extra room can be allowed where the claimant or their partner (or both) needs overnight care, and that care is provided by one or more people who normally live somewhere else (known as a non-resident carer). To make a referral please complete our online form.

Housing benefit for the extra room can only be awarded if evidence is provided that the non-resident carer is: -

  • Actually engaged in providing overnight care
  • Regularly staying overnight in your home for that purpose; and
  • Provided with the use of a bedroom in your home that is not used by the people who normally live there.

Are there any exceptions to these rules?

  • A single person under 35, living alone, will receive the shared room rate regardless of the property they occupy. There are some exceptions to this for:
    • care leavers who are under 22 years old,
    • certain severely disabled people,
    • people aged 25 or over who have been in a homeless hostel for 3 months,
    • certain (MAPPA) ex-offenders, 
    • qualifying foster parents.   
  • If you claim Housing benefit you can only get it for yourself and your family. If you have an adult living with you, on a non-commercial basis, your benefit may be reduced.

If you are a joint tenant this may affect the Housing benefit you can get. For more information, please contact us at the address at the end of this fact sheet.

What is Local Housing Allowance (LHA)?

Local Housing Allowance (LHA) is the maximum amount of help that you can claim from housing benefit or Universal Credit if you pay rent to a private landlord. It is based on the area the customer lives, number of occupiers in the property and household size. 

LHA rates -2022/2023

 

Room

1 Bed

2 Bed

3 Bed

4 Bed

Milton Keynes weekly

£70.00

£149.59

£189.86

£224.38

£299.18

 

Room

1 Bed

2 Bed

3 Bed

4 Bed

Milton Keynes monthly

£303.33

£648.22

£822.73

£972.31

£1296.45

Anyone making a new claim for LHA or who changes their address and is entitled to more than 4 bedrooms, will have their benefit restricted to the 4 bedroom rate.

Who isn't eligible for housing benefit?

You can't usually get housing benefit if:

  • you have savings of over £16,000, unless you are over pension age and getting the 'guarantee credit' of Pension Credit
  • you live in the home of a close relative
  • you're a full-time student (unless you're disabled or have children)
  • you're an asylum seeker or are sponsored to be in the UK

Other restrictions

If you live with a partner or civil partner only one of you can get housing benefit.

If you're single and aged under 35 you can only get housing benefit for bed-sit accommodation or one room in shared accommodation.

When does my benefit start?

Once your claim has been processed, your benefit will usually start on the Monday after we receive your completed claim form.

How will my housing benefit be paid?

If you rent your home from the Council, we will credit any benefit to your rent account once a week.

If you rent from a private landlord or letting agent, we will usually pay you every two weeks in arrears direct into your bank account or in some cases by cheque. If you rent your home from a Housing Association, we can pay your rent to you or your landlord by BACS or in some cases by cheque. The Council may pay your benefit to your landlord without your consent if your landlord has proved, to the Council’s satisfaction, that your rent is more than 8 weeks in arrears. If you want your housing benefit paid directly to you then you will need a bank account. Access to more information about basic bank accounts.

I am having trouble paying my rent, is there any other financial help I can get?

If you are having difficulty paying your rent and/or Council Tax, you may be able to claim extra help. This is called a Discretionary Housing Payment (DHP) – see here for more information: Discretionary Housing Payments. This can only be paid to people who are already receiving either housing benefit or help with their rent through Universal Credit.

What can I do if I disagree with a decision about my housing benefit claim?

If you are not happy with a decision made about your benefit, then you have various options.

You can:

  • Ask for a further explanation of the decision. You can do this in writing, e-mail or by phone
  • Ask us to look at the decision again (request a reconsideration). This request must be in writing and signed by you and must be made within one month of the date on the decision notice.
  • If you are not happy with the reconsideration decision, you can make an appeal. For more information go to our Appeals Page. https://www.milton-keynes.gov.uk/benefits/appeals

What happens to my benefit if I go away or move abroad?

You must tell us if you are going to be abroad for 4 weeks of more.

In most cases you are not entitled to housing benefit or a council tax reduction from the day you leave the UK if you plan to be out of the country for 4 weeks or more. The day you leave the UK counts as day 1 of your absence.  

You are committing benefit fraud if you do not tell us that you are going abroad, even if it is just for a visit.

Can I get help with deposits or rent in advance?

The Council’s Homeless Prevention Team will be able to give you advice on finding another property. If you are having difficulty moving they may be able to help you with a deposit bond to secure new accommodation or if you are receiving housing benefit or getting help with your rent through Universal Credit, recommend a Discretionary Housing Payment for a deposit, removal cost or rent in advance.

I am not happy with the service I have received how can I make a complaint?

If you wish to make a comment, complaint or compliment about the Council you  need to know the ​different ways to make a complaint.