Housing Systems: Combating poverty and sustaining tenancies.
How to claim


  • Most working age people cannot make new claims for Housing Benefit - they have to claim Universal Credit instead. Click here for more details.
    But some are wrongly told they have to claim UC when they don't need to! Click here.

  • A person can only receive an award of Housing Benefit if they make a claim for it.

  • This does not have to be the tenant - it could be the tenant's partner, former partner, appointee or someone else who is treated as liable to pay the rent.

  • Although couples make one claim - only one of them will be deemed the HB claimant (the one that goes on the claim as 'you').

  • A new claim will be needed when the claimant does not currently have a 'live' claim with the Local Authority where they live - this can include a surviving member of a couple if their partner was the HB claimant prior to their death: click here.

  • A claim is generally made directly to the Local Authority - usually in writing on the LA's claim form but some LAs have on-line claims. Sometimes the claim will be made via the Pension Service ie when claiming Pension Credit.

  • The default is for any HB to be awarded from the Monday after the date of claim - but there are exceptions and some claims can be backdated.

  • If the claimant is worried that they are going to delay being able to make a claim and therefore miss out on some HB entitlement, they can 'log' the claim over the phone.

  • If a working age claimant has been on HB and it has ended, it can be beneficial to argue that the HB award is continuous - ie get it reinstated - rather than having to claim UC (or starting a new claim where this is possible).

Lots of things can go wrong when making a claim for HB meaning that the claimant misses out on HB that they are entitled to - click on the links below for more information to help minimise these problems. 

Getting It Right

How to claim HB - on a passport benefit - joint tenants - couples - special rules for hostels. 

Providing Evidence

What's needed from the tenant & when and what can the HB Office get from elsewhere?

Nil Income

When a 'nil income' claim is needed, and what to do to ensure payment.

Need Backdating?

When a backdate can be requested, how far. What are the alternatives?

Defective Claim

Why the HB Office may decide a claim isn't valid, and what can be done.

Adverse Inference

What is this?

Mental Capacity

How does someone without mental capacity claim?

Intention to claim

A useful concept!