Housing Benefit: Help with your rent

Housing Benefit is help to pay your rent if you are on a low income. It might cover all or part of your rent and may also cover some service charges.

How much you get depends on various factors: 

  • your household income
  • if you receive certain benefits
  • if you are a council, housing association or private tenant
  • who you live with
  • the number of rooms you have

You may get more help if you are receiving other benefits like Attendance Allowance, Carer’s Allowance, Disability Living Allowance or Personal Independence Payment.

Who can claim it?

Housing Benefit is means-tested so it depends on your income, savings and capital.  You may be able to claim if:

  • you are personally liable to pay rent on your home
  • you have less than £16,000 in savings or capital (unless you receive Pension Guarantee Credit, which has no upper savings limit)
  • you are on a low income or receive Pension Guarantee Credit

Discretionary Housing Payments

If you get Housing Benefit but it doesn't cover all your rent, you may be able to get a Discretionary Housing Payment.  Contact your local council to find out how to apply.


Help if you have a mortgage

If you own your home, you may be eligible for Support for Mortgage Interest (SMI).  This is help for housing costs, such as interest payments on your mortgage and on certain loans for repairs or improvements to your home.

SMI is calculated using a standard rate of interest, not your lender’s rate, and is only available to cover interest, not the amount borrowed. There is an upper limit on the amount you can claim.

Who can claim it?

You may be eligible for SMI if you are getting one of the following benefits:

  • Pension Credit
  • Income Support
  • Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
  • Universal Credit

You don’t have to make a separate claim. SMI forms part of your claim for other benefits.  SMI is usually paid direct to your lender after a waiting time of 39 weeks if you are of working age.  There is no waiting time if you are on Pension Credit or if you have reached Pension Credit qualifying age.

Next steps

To apply for Housing Benefit contact your local council to ask for a claim form.  You can find their contact details on Gov.uk: gov.uk/find-your-local-council

If you are already claiming Pension Credit, contact the Pension Service gov.uk/contact-pension-service

If you need help with your claim, ask your local Age UK if they can help.

For more information on SMI, visit gov.uk/support-for-mortgage-interest/overview or contact the Pension Service: gov.uk/contact-pension-service

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