Problems With Your Housing Benefit Claim

Coronavirus (COVID-19): change to service

On advice from the government regarding the coronavirus (COVID-19), we are able to offer some extra assistance to those who most need it.

See further information about changes to services.

Common reasons why you might not receive the benefit you expected 

Why have you used a different income to assess my benefit?

Your income is any money you or your partner receive on a regular basis. As well as wages you have earned through employment, it includes unearned income such as:

  • Income Support
  • Employment and Support Allowance
  • Tax Credits
  • Jobseekers Allowance
  • Universal Credit

We make sure we work your income out correctly and realistically and we can ignore certain expenses (such as childcare) and certain income (child benefit or child maintenance). 

Why doesn’t my claim cover my full rent or Council Tax?

There may be several reasons for this.

If you rent from a private landlord, the maximum amount of Housing Benefit we can pay is based on the size of your household, not the amount of rent being charged by your landlord.

For example, you may live in a three-bedroom property, but your household only needs two. Your rent will be higher, but your Housing Benefit can only be based on your actual needs.

It may be that your rent is more than the maximum we can pay and so you will need to pay any shortfall. Also, if you have someone living with you who has an income and is not dependent, we must reduce your benefit according to their income.

Why don’t payments arrive when my rent is due?

We only pay housing benefit either every two or four weeks. This might not tie in with when your rent is due, but it is your responsibility to manage your money and make sure it gets to your landlord in time. When is my payment due?

Why can’t you pay my landlord?

We can’t normally pay your landlord if your claim is assessed under the Local Housing Allowance Scheme.

However, we know some tenants may struggle with budgeting for their rent. We’ve put certain safeguards in place to help in certain circumstances. We can pay your landlord if you are:

  • eight or more weeks in arrears.
  • unlikely to pay the rent.
  • unable to pay the rent or
  • to obtain or safeguard a tenancy.

You can find more information about our Safeguard Policy here.

If you disagree with our calculations, you can contact us so we can explain it. We must calculate income under the Housing Benefit Regulations 2006 so while you may disagree with it, there may be nothing we can do. If you are certain that we’ve miscalculated your income, you can appeal against our decision.