In a recent blog, we briefly touched upon how housing benefit can help in paying rent if you’re or about to be homeless. As mentioned earlier, to be eligible for housing benefit: you must live in the accommodation you’re claiming benefit on; must have low income or claiming benefits; and your savings must be less than a specific level. If you’re eligible, all or part of your rent will be paid. It’s important that you start looking for various accommodation options available to people facing eviction, so that you’ve plenty of time to get a benefit.
There are two ways of claiming housing benefit: take a housing benefit claim form from your local council, or request for it while you make a new claim for a specific benefit. You can obtain this claim form from the website of your local council or gov.uk and must return the completed form within a month. The claiming benefits with which you could include a housing benefit claim are: income support, income-based jobseeker’s allowance, income-related employment & support allowance, or pension credit. For the first three benefits mentioned above, you need to contact Jobcentre Plus and for the pension credit, contact the Pension Service. They will send the required details of the housing benefit claim to your local council. The already rolled out Universal Credit could also pay for housing if you’re eligible and live in a particular area.
You can claim housing benefit irrespective of your employment status; however, if you live with a partner, then only one of you will get the benefit. There are certain evidences that you must provide with the claim form such as proof of rent, payslips (if working), proof of benefits/tax credits you receive(if any), savings you have, etc. As original documents are needed, it’s better to submit them to the council yourself and take the receipt as a proof. In certain cases, it is possible that your council may pay an added amount over the payment you receive through housing benefit if your rent is not covered with it. This added amount paid is known as discretionary housing payment.
If you are facing house repossession, then make a claim for housing benefit or Universal Credit (if applicable) as soon as possible.