Advice and Guidance on Housing Benefit

Housing benefit is a national welfare benefit administered by local councils on behalf of the government.

The scheme helps people of pension credit age on low incomes pay their rent and those who have not migrated to Universal Credit or are presently excluded from claiming the housing cost element of Universal Credit.

Housing benefit or Universal Credit will not provide financial help for Council Tax.

You may be eligible to receive Council Tax Support if you are liable for Council Tax.

  • you / and your partner are pension credit age
  • you are working age living in supported or temporary homeless accommodation
  • and you are liable to pay rent on a property you are occupying as your home. Your income and capital (savings and investments) will need to be below a certain level.
  • you are working age, instead you must claim Universal Credit
  • you already receive the housing costs element of Universal Credit
  • you have savings of over £16,000, unless you are receiving the ‘guarantee credit’ element of pension credit
  • you live in the home of a close relative who resides with you
  • certain persons from abroad or people who have recently returned to the UK

Only certain groups can now claim Housing Benefit.

Visit the Universal Credit page if you are working age and require help with your rent.

If you are pension credit age or part of a group who can still claim housing benefit, you must fill in an application form.

To request a form call 01306 879187, or email

If you are also liable for council tax you will make an application for Council Tax Support at the same time.

You will also need to provide evidence in support of your claim. Examples include:

  • ID
  • pay slips,
  • occupational pension,
  • other benefits,
  • tax credits,
  • rental liability (tenancy agreement)
  • all your capital (bank statements, bond certificates, etc).

Please do not send their personal or sensitive documents to us via the post. These documents include:

  • passport (only the page with the photo and personal details)
  • bank statements
  • birth certificates
  • NI card
  • drivers licence
  • medical / health-related information

Instead scan, screen grab or photograph on your mobile phone the evidence to be submitted and email it to

For ID card, residency card, visa or driving licence copy both pages.

If you are providing for more than one ID documents please ensure each document is provided as a separate attachment.

While we are still accepting non-personal / sensitive documents and copies of original documents (that you do not want returned) by post, you can email them to us.

Our reception is open for appointments between 9am to 2.30pm, Monday to Friday.

We do not need to verify a document that has already been verified by the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP). If you are in receipt of Universal Credit or any DWP/Pension Credit benefit we can accept that your identity has been verified and there is no need for us to request further information regarding your identity.

If you make a claim for Guaranteed Pension Credit then you can make your initial claim for Housing benefit or Council Tax Support at the Pension Service.

The amount of housing benefit that you will be entitled to depends upon how much your weekly income is and what your circumstances are, for example, your age, the size of your family and whether anyone in the house is elderly or disabled.

Once we have looked carefully at your income and your circumstances, we will construct a calculation. Generally speaking, the higher your income is, the less your weekly benefit will be.

If you are in receipt of Guaranteed Pension Credit and you have no grown up people living with you other than your partner, then you may qualify for full eligible housing benefit. Full eligible Housing Benefit may not be your full rent.

Your claim for housing benefit will be continuous for as long as you are entitled. However, we will contact you from time to time either by arranging a visit or by post to check that it is using the correct information to calculate your benefit.

The Government applies a ‘cap’ (a maximum limit) on the total amount of benefit, including Housing Benefit, that people can get.

It means that the amount of benefit a household can receive in Mole Valley will be limited.

There are rules, that set out the number of bedrooms Housing Benefit will pay for, if you are renting from:

  • a local authority
  • a registered housing association or
  • another registered social landlord

The size criteria rules will only apply to claimants of working age.

The rules restrict the level of benefit that can be paid if your property is too large for your needs. Find out the number of rooms you are eligible for on the Valuation Office Agency (VOA) website by using their LHA bedroom calculator.

If you are under-occupying there will be a reduction in your Housing Benefit of:

  • 14% for under-occupancy by one bedroom
  • 25% for under-occupancy by two bedrooms or more

For further information, visit the National Housing Federation website.