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: 

  • You are single and of state pension credit qualifying age, or
    Part of a couple and are both of state pension credit qualifying age, or
    Part of a couple and been continuously receiving Pension Credit since at least 14/05/19
    You can find your Pension Credit qualifying age using Check your State Pension age  Opens in a new window
  • Qualify for the severe disability premium  Opens in a new window and receiving Income Support, Employment Support Allowance, Jobseekers Allowance or Housing Benefit or one of these benefits has ended in the last month
  • Live in supported accommodation
  • Have been placed in temporary accommodation by the Local Authority

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

Most private tenancies are worked out using Local Housing Allowance (LHA) rates.

The LHA rates shown are the maximum you could get before we look at your income and circumstances.

April 2020 to March 2021 rates
Charge Shared room One bedroom Two bedroom Three bedroom Four bedroom
Monthly charge £281.66 £448.76 £598.34 £728.00 £897.52
Weekly charge £65 £103.56 £138.08 £168 £207.12

Due to the Covid-19 outbreak, the Government has recently announced that Local Housing Allowance rates from April 2020 will increase. This change will, in effect, reverse the decision to freeze the Local Housing Allowance rate introduced in April 2016.

The new rates will be applied shortly to all current Housing Benefit claims that are calculated using these rates, from April 2020. A letter will be sent to confirm this change.

What rate would apply to me?

LHA is based on the number of bedrooms your household needs, not the number of rooms in the property you rent, or the rent that you are charged.

One bedroom is allowed for:

  • Every adult couple
  • Any additional adult aged 16 or over
  • Any two children regardless of sex aged under age 10
  • Any two children of the same sex aged under 16
  • Any other child
  • A carer who normally lives elsewhere (we may write to you about this)

Some couples and single people will only be entitled to the shared accommodation rate, this is when:

  • You are one of a couple, don’t live with dependants and rent a room in a shared home
  • You are 34 years old or younger and live alone (there are exemptions for severely disabled people, care leavers under 22 years of age or those with a bedroom used by care workers providing overnight care)
  • You are 35 years or over and rent a room for your sole use in a shared home

A shared home is where you have sole use of a bedroom and have to share a kitchen, a bathroom, a toilet or a room suitable for living in.

How LHA is paid

LHA is paid to you and will go straight into a bank or building society account.

It is up to you to make sure that your rent is paid to your landlord. If you think you may struggle with the responsibility of paying your rent, you can ask us to make payments direct to your landlord.

A request for direct payment can be made by you, your landlord or another interested party.