Housing Benefit

If you rent your home and have a low income, or get welfare benefits, you may be entitled to Housing Benefit.

If you rent your home from a private landlord, Local Housing Allowance (LHA) will be used to calculate the amount of Housing Benefit that you can receive.

A number of changes to the rules on LHA and Housing Benefit have been introduced in recent years. Our advice pages are updated as changes are implemented, but a summary of the changes can be found here.

What is Housing Benefit?

Housing Benefit is a means-tested benefit to help people pay their rent. This page explains more about what it is, what it covers, and who can claim it

How is Housing Benefit calculated?

The amount of Housing Benefit you are entitled to depends upon your rent, income, capital and circumstances. The rules are complicated – find out more here.

What is Local Housing Allowance?

Local housing allowance (LHA) is a way of working out how much housing benefit you are entitled to if you rent your home from a private landlord

The bedroom tax

The bedroom tax reduces the Housing Benefit of working-age council and housing association tenants when the council decides you have one or more spare bedrooms. Find out if it affects you here.

Discretionary housing payments

If you get some Housing Benefit but are having difficulty paying the rest of your rent yourself, you may be able to get a discretionary housing payment

Benefit jargon

Fed up looking at letters from the Benefit department and not knowing what they mean? This page can help you understand the jargon.

Changes to Housing Benefit and Local Housing Allowance

There have been a number of changes to the benefit system, including the bedroom tax and the benefit cap. These changes may have affected the amount of help you get to pay your rent.

Making a claim

If you think you might be entitled to help to pay your rent, read this page to find out how to make a claim, the information you will need to provide, and how to make sure everything runs smoothly.

Waiting for a Housing Benefit claim to be processed

This page tells you what to expect while you are waiting and what to do if you haven’t heard anything

Housing Benefit decision

This page tells you how to work out what the letter says and what you can do if you disagree with it

Challenging a Housing Benefit decision

If you receive a letter or an explanation from the Housing Benefit department that you do not agree with, there are things you can do

Getting payments backdated

You may be able to ask for your Housing Benefit to be backdated for a short period.

Changes in circumstances

Find out which changes you have to tell the Housing  Benefit department about

Housing Benefit before moving in

You may need to start paying rent on a new home before you can actually move in. In some situations, you may be able to get Housing Benefit

Housing Benefit while away from home

You can get Housing Benefit while you are away from home for up to 13 weeks, so long as you intend to come back to your home and you are not likely to be away any longer

Housing Benefit on two homes

Normally you can only get Housing Benefit for one home at a time. However, there are special circumstances where it may be possible to have Housing Benefit paid for more than one home.

Housing Benefit if renting from a family member

You may not be able to claim Housing Benefit if you pay rent to a family member or partner.

Housing Benefit for students

Most full-time students are not entitled to Housing Benefit, however there are some exceptions

Housing Benefit for mobile homes

You might be able to claim Housing Benefit to help pay rent or pitch fees for your mobile home.

Passporting benefits

Passporting benefits are benefits that, once you have them, automatically allow you to collect other benefits

We are sorry that we cannot provide this information in Welsh, however if you would like to speak to an adviser in Welsh please contact 08000 495 495.

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This page was last updated on: May 9, 2023

Shelter Cymru acknowledges the support of Shelter in allowing us to adapt their content. The information contained on this site is updated and maintained by Shelter Cymru and only gives general guidance on the law in Wales. It should not be regarded or relied upon as a complete or authoritative statement of the law.