If you have not received a payment within 14 days of handing in your form and you have provided all the information required, you should be entitled to a stop-gap payment while you are waiting for your claim to be processed. This is called a ‘payment on account’ or interim payment.
A ‘payment on account’ can only be paid if you are a private tenant or a tenant of a housing association. It cannot be paid if you are a council tenant.
If you are eligible for a ‘payment on account’ it should be paid automatically. This does not always happen, so you or your landlord may have to remind your council to make a payment. It’s a good idea to do this as soon as possible after the 14 days, to avoid building up rent arrears.
A ‘payment on account’ does not have to be made if you have been asked to provide information in support of your claim but you have failed to do so without good reason.
The amount you are paid in a ‘payment on account’ is an estimated amount and may be less than the amount of rent you have to pay. Once your claim is assessed, any difference between your Housing Benefit entitlement and the amount of Housing Benefit paid on account will either be refunded or reclaimed from you.
If you’re refused a ‘payment on account’, you can make a complaint using the council’s formal complaints process – there may be information about this on your council’s website, or you can ask the council for further details.