How benefit is worked out
The amount of benefit you receive depends upon your income, savings and circumstances.
There’s a limit on the total amount of benefit that most people aged 16 to 64 can get. This is called the benefit cap, read more about the benefit cap on GOV.UK.
What money is counted when benefit is worked out?
We count the money you earn from work after money has been taken out for:
- National Insurance, and
- half of any money you pay into a pension fund
We also count any other money you have coming in. This includes most State benefits, works pensions and any savings or capital you have.
Government rules say that if you (and your partner if you are a couple) have savings or capital of more than £16,000, you cannot get Housing Benefit (unless you are in receipt of pension credit guarantee). If you have £6,000 (for working age people) and £10,000 (for pension age) or less, it will not affect your claim. If you have more than these amounts it affects how much Housing Benefit you will get.
We do not count:-
- Disability Living Allowance
- Attendance Allowance
- Mobility Allowance
- War Widows Pension
- War Disablement Pension
- Child Benefit
- any maintenance payments you receive if you have dependant children
But we need to know if you get any of these, as you may get more benefit.
How much will I get?
The maximum amount of Housing Benefit you can get will be decided by the number of bedrooms your household needs – not the number of bedrooms you have.
If you rent privately
The amount of benefit you can get is based on either the Local Housing Allowance (LHA) rate or your actual rent (whichever is lower). The LHA rate is based on the number of bedrooms you need, not how many you have. Find out more about Local Housing Allowance in our area.
LHA rates apply to all claimants regardless of age.
If you rent from a social landlord or housing association
Housing benefit will be reduced if you have more bedrooms than the rules say that you need, for example if your children have grown up and left home. This is called under occupancy (also referred to as bedroom tax). You can find out more about under occupancy and 'spare' rooms on GOV.UK.
Under occupancy rules only apply to claimants who are working age.
We work out your Housing Benefit by comparing the money you get each week with your 'applicable amount/living allowance'. Your applicable amount/living allowance is what the government says you and your family need to live on each week.
The applicable amount will be higher for some people - for example, if you are disabled or you are a one parent family.
What if I have other people living with me?
If you have friends, relatives or anyone over 18 living in your home, you may get less benefit. The amount may be taken out of your benefit for each non-dependant who lives in your home.
Non-dependants do not include:
- your partner
- a child you get Child Benefit for
- people under 18 years old
- people in full-time education
What if I start work?
You must let us know if you start work.
Report a change of circumstances
If you are entitled to an extended payment, your Housing Benefit will continue at the same rate as before for an extra four weeks. If you qualify for an extended payment we will let you know. You do not need to apply.
This information is for guidance only. It does not cover all the rules for all the benefits for every situation, nor does it provide a full interpretation of the rules. It should not be treated as a complete and authoritative statement of the law.