Housing Benefit

If you are on a low income you may be able to get Housing Benefit to help towards your rent. You can claim Housing benefit whether you are employed or unemployed.

Use our Online Housing Benefit and Council Tax Support Claim and Calculator to check your entitlement or to make a claim.

Always claim as soon as you need help paying your rent - Housing Benefit is normally awarded from the Monday following the date you first contact us.

Please note:

  • If you are married to or live with a partner only one of you can claim Housing Benefit
  • If you are claiming Income Support, Job Seekers Allowance or Employment Support Allowance the DWP will forward your Housing Benefit claim to the Council as part of the claiming process.

Once we have assessed your application we will write to you to confirm the official decision. Our letter will show how we calculated your Benefit entitlement and explain your right to appeal if you think our decision is wrong.

How much Housing Benefit will I get?

How much Housing Benefit you are entitled to depends on:

  • The ‘eligible’ rent and whether you have to pay service charges
  • Your household income
  • Childcare costs
  • The amount of capital or savings you have
  • The number of people in the household and their ages
  • The number of “grown up” children in the household (known as non-dependants)
  • If anyone in your household is disabled or is a carer

If you rent from a private landlord

If you rent accommodation from a private landlord or agency the amount of rent we can allow when we work out your entitlement to Housing Benefit is limited by (a) the Local Housing Allowance (LHA) and (b) the Bedroom Standard

Local Housing Allowance is a flat rate that is set by the Valuation Office Agency for properties in the Reading area for a 12 month period from 1st April each year.

Local Housing Allowance 2014

Bedrooms per week per month
Shared accommodation/joint tenants £75.75 £328.25
1 bedroom £151.50 £656.50
2 bedrooms £186.47 £808.04
3 bedrooms £213.26 £924.13
4 bedrooms £303.00 £1,313.00

The Bedroom Standard

The LHA rate used to work out the Housing Benefit you are entitled to is based on how many bedrooms your household is assessed to need. You are allowed one bedroom for each of the following:

  • Each adult couple (same or opposite sex)
  • Any other adult aged 16 or over
  • Any 2 children of the same sex under 16 years
  • Any 2 children regardless of sex under 10 years
  • Any other child

You will have to pay the difference if you choose to live in accommodation:

  • Which has more bedrooms than you are assessed as needing and/or
  • The rent charged is more than the LHA allowed for that size of property

When we work out how much Housing Benefit you are entitled to – if you have:

  • One extra bedroom the amount we allow as your rent is reduced by 14%
  • Two or more extra bedrooms the amount we allow as your rent is reduced by 25%

If you are single and under 35 years the maximum Housing Benefit you could receive is restricted to the Local Housing Allowance rate that applies to a room in a shared house, unless

  • You are under 22 and were formerly in Social Services care under a court order
  • You are under 22 and were formerly provided with accommodation by Social Services
  • You are entitled to a Severe Disability Premium
  • You have one or more non-dependants

Other Tenancy Arrangements

The Local Housing Allowance does not apply to:

  • Council and housing association tenants
  • Tenants with a registered ’fair rent’
  • Tenants with tenancies starting before 1989
  • Tenancies provided by charitable or voluntary organisations which also include care, support or supervision
  • Tenants living in caravans, mobile homes and house boats
  • Tenants where the rent includes a substantial element of board


  • If you are a Council or Housing Association Tenant and are of working age your Housing Benefit will be reduced if you live in accommodation with more bedrooms than your household requires, according to the Bedroom Standard (see above)
  • If you are a Housing Association Tenant your Housing Benefit may be restricted if your rent is too high compared with private rent.

People not eligible for housing benefit

You won’t normally be eligible for Housing Benefit if:

  • You have savings over £16,000 - unless you get Pension Credit Guarantee Credit
  • You live in the home of a close relative
  • You are a full-time student - unless you’re disabled or have children
  • You live in accommodation provided by your employer as a condition of employment
  • You are a Crown Tenant
  • You are an asylum seeker or sponsored to be in the UK
  • You are an owner occupier or are not charged rent

For a free online calcluation of any other benefits and tax credits you may be entitled to, please go to the Entitledto Website .

Contact this service

Housing Benefit and Council Tax Support0118 937 3707More Information
Rents Helpline (Council Tenants)0118 937 2784More Information





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