Not everyone is eligible to receive housing benefit so you will need to get advice before claiming and not assume you will be able to get this.

Housing benefit is paid by the council either directly to your landlord or to you. It is only there to cover your rent, and some service charges. Housing benefit will not pay for water rates, cooking, heating or lighting or for any care.

Housing benefit can only be used to pay rent and not help with mortgage payments.

If you think you are eligible you can claim housing benefit by either downloading the form from your local authority’s own web site or by asking for a form to be sent to you.
Some local authorities will now accept forms filled in on-line; some can be delivered in person or by post. However, before you submit your form ensure you have a copy of anything you send, including the form itself.

You must submit the claim as soon as you move in (if not before) as housing benefit is usually only payable from the first Monday after they have received the application. If you have been delayed for any reason ask for the application to be back-dated to the start of your tenancy, giving a good reason why you were late (needed help completing the forms, were ill, needed a carer to help).

Housing benefit is usually paid in arrears, and can take a number of weeks to process. The more information you submit the easier it is to process.