You should always check your housing benefit decision letter carefully. The decision letter will tell you if you are entitled to any benefit and, if so, how much. It should also explain how your benefit was calculated.
The letter should include all of the things described below:
Your eligible rent
Your eligible rent is usually the actual rent charged by your landlord, minus amounts for:
Housing benefit/rent allowance
This is the amount of benefit that you will receive, or that will be paid directly to your landlord.
If the amount here is less than the eligible rent, then there is a shortfall between your benefit and your rent charge. You will have to make up this shortfall yourself. You might be able to apply for a discretionary housing payment to help you pay this shortfall.
The date benefit is to be paid from
The letter should state the date that you will be paid benefit from. This is usually paid from the Monday after:
- you asked the council for a form to claim housing benefit (provided you returned it, properly completed, within 1 month)
- your entitlement to income support, jobseeker’s allowance, employment and support allowance or pension credit begins
If you make your claim as soon as you move in, you can usually get housing benefit from the date your tenancy starts.
Details of what to do if you disagree with the decision
The letter should tell you what to do if you do not agree with the decision and the time limits for challenging the decision (see below).