In basic terms, the housing benefit in the UK is money given to low-income families to help with their rental accommodations as well as other service charges. If you qualify for housing benefit, you can receive money whether you are employed or not, with the only restrictions applied in regard to whether you are a private tenant or a social one. The money itself can be paid to a private landlord, a council or a housing association.
Who is the Housing Benefit For?
Generally, the housing benefit is for those who are struggling to pay their monthly rent because of their low income. As mentioned before, it doesn’t matter if these people are earning a wage or not, though the amount they actually earn monthly and the amount they’ve saved up does.
The housing benefit only covers monthly rents, and not for buying homes or paying mortgages. It can be used to pay for certain services, but some are not covered by it.
Eligibility of the Benefit
Anyone who low income and has earnings of less than £16,000 a year can claim the housing benefit and can do so from local councils. While eligibility itself is straightforward, the amount you can potentially get may vary greatly depending on you or your family’s actual circumstances, which you’ll need to keep the local councils up to date on.
Eligible rent is calculated based on whether the person has income, how old they are, whether they have a family and how big it is, and also whether the person is suffering from a disability.
Because of the wide range as to who can be eligible for the benefits, it’s much easier to simply enumerate those who aren’t eligible. Anyone who has earnings greater than £16,000 a year are no longer eligible unless they’re of State Pension age. Other people who aren’t eligible are full time students, people living with their relatives and asylum seekers from different countries. If you’re a couple, only one person may claim the benefit.
Most people who aren’t eligible can have the opportunity to apply for Universal Credit instead.
The Benefit Cap
The amount of benefits you receive can be limited if the money you’re supposed to receive is more than the maximum amount.
How it is Paid
Depending on your living arrangements, the money can be transferred in different ways. If you’re a council tenant, the money is transferred directly to your rent accounts, while private tenants receive their money by cheque or direct bank deposit.