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The current processing time for new applications and changes to benefit claims is an average of 6 weeks.

If you contact us with a general enquiry online we will reply to you within two working days.

You can only make a new claim for Housing Benefit if you meet one of the following criteria: 

If not you need to claim Universal Credit  Opens in a new window  for help with paying your rent.

The benefit cap sets a limit on the total amount in benefits that most working age households can get.  This amount includes DWP benefits, Child Benefit, Child Tax Credits and Housing Benefit.

The cap doesn't apply if you're above the qualifying age for Pension Credit.

The cap applies to the benefits received by the household. This means benefits received by you, your partner and dependent children who live with you.

Not all benefits are counted as income for the cap. 

After adding up all included benefits of the household, any amount above the cap will be deducted from your Housing Benefit entitlement.

You can find detailed information on the benefit cap at Gov.uk: benefit cap Opens in a new window

Where to get support

Your local Jobcentre Plus office Opens in a new window can advise and help. A work coach can give advice on employment and training to help you change your circumstances so that you may not be affected by the cap. They also have access to a wide range of other services such as debt and budgeting advice.

Discretionary Housing Payments

If you are affected by the benefit cap and feel that you will not be able to afford the shortfall in your rent you may be able to get extra help through Discretionary Housing Payments. Generally awards are short term and should not be relied upon as a permanent additional income. However, these extra payments may give you the time you need to find a solution such as finding work or moving to a cheaper property.