You can claim Housing Benefit whether you live in social housing, a housing association property or privately rented housing.
The amount you get will depend on things such as:
- where you live
- your age
- how many bedrooms you have
- who lives with you
- your savings
- what benefits you receive
- and if you are subject to the Benefit Cap
If the council or Housing Executive decides the house is too big for your needs, the benefit may be paid at a reduced rate (under-occupancy rule, or commonly known as the bedroom tax). Currently this is a 14% reduction for one spare bedroom or 25% for two or more.
If your rent is higher than the amount of Housing Benefit you get, you will have to pay the difference. You may be able to get a Discretionary Housing Payment to help with this.
You must contact your local council in order to apply for Housing Benefit or a Discretionary Housing Payment; details of your awarding authority can be found here. Alternatively if you need assistance or advice, speak to your welfare rights adviser by contacting us here.
Universal Credit is now replacing several legacy benefits including housing benefit, therefore for any new housing benefit claims please look at Universal Credit. You do not need to do anything if you are already receiving housing benefit.
You might be able to get extra help with your mortgage interest payments if you claim:
- income-related Employment and Support Allowance
- Income Support
- Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
- Pension Credit
- Universal Credit.
These benefits may also cover other housing costs, such as service charges and ground rent. If you have these costs, you should apply for help through your benefit.
Since April 2016, there has been a waiting time of 39 weeks (around nine months) between first claiming the benefits we have listed above and being able to access the extra help with housing costs.
From April 2018, the way support with mortgage interest is paid will be changing. It will change from a benefit to a long-term loan. If you claim support with mortgage interest, you will be contacted about this change.
Designed to replace Council Tax Benefit, Council Tax Reduction provides help towards the cost of your council tax if you are on a low income. The amount of support available in Wales is the same across the country, however you will need to contact your local authority in order to claim. Details of your authority can be found here.