Advice On Claiming Housing Benefit

Who can claim? - What does it cover? - How do I claim? - How is it worked out? - Customer Information

What is Housing Benefit?

Housing Benefit may help you to pay your rent if you are on a low income.

Housing Benefit cannot help with mortgage payments. If you own a property you may be able to get help with the interest payments on your mortgage from Income Support. Contact Jobcentre Plus for details.

Who can claim?

You can make a new claim for Housing Benefit if you pay rent and any of the following apply:

  • you have reached State Pension age
  • you’re in supported, sheltered or temporary housing

If you do not fall into any of the categories above you should claim Universal Credit (Opens in a new window or downloads a file) 

What does Housing Benefit cover?

Housing Benefit can help with the part of the rent you have to pay just to live in your home. The amount you have to pay your landlord may be more than this if it includes other charges for heating and so on.

These are the things Housing Benefit cannot help with:

  • the cost of fuel for heating, hot water, lighting and cooking
  • the cost of meals
  • water charges
  • service charges for things such as personal laundry and household cleaning
  • deposits for securing accommodation

Housing Benefit can help with service charges which your rent includes for the use of communal facilities such as:

  • children’s play areas
  • shared areas for cleaning
  • lift

How do I claim?

You can make a new claim for Housing Benefit by completing the online form. Alternatively, you can claim by contacting the Benefits team on, by calling 01851 822642 or by collecting a form from any of our area offices. Please refer to the section above regarding who can claim.

When to claim

You should claim as soon as you think you need to. Housing Benefit cannot normally be backdated so you could lose money if you delay in claiming (even if, in special circumstances, a claim is backdated it cannot be for more than 6 months).


If you are married and normally live with your partner or if you are unmarried and live with one partner as husband or wife, you should make one claim for both of you and not two separate claims (you can chose who makes the claim)

What information does Comhairle Nan Eilean Siar's Benefit Section need from me?

The form you fill in will ask for details about the people who live with you. We need to find out how much money you have coming in and work out how much the law says you need to live on. We can then work out how much Housing Benefit you can receive.

Money coming in

To find out how much money you have coming in we need details of your earnings, unearned income and any savings you have between £6,000 and £16,000.

Earnings - means all the money you receive for working after taking away your Tax and National Insurance payments and half of any contributions you make to a pension scheme.

Unearned Income - is any other money you have coming in. It includes most Social Security benefits but not Mobility Allowance, Attendance Allowance and Disability Living Allowance.

Savings - include such things as money held in Banks and Building Societies, stocks and shares, National Savings Certificates and Bonds, property investments (apart from your home) and money you may have overseas.

  • If your savings total less than £3,000 they will not affect how much housing benefit you can receive
  • If your savings total more than £16,000 you will not be able to receive housing benefit
  • If you have between £6,000 and £16,000 in savings we have to assume that you have money coming in from this. We will take this into account when working out your Housing Benefit. If you are claiming with your partner we have to take account of both your savings added together

How is my Housing Benefit worked out?

We use the allowances and premiums set by Government to assess how much you need to live on.

Allowances take into account basic day to day living expenses for:

  • Single People
  • Couples
  • Children

Premiums take into account special needs for:

  • Families
  • Senior Citizens
  • People with Disabilities
  • Carers
  • One Parent Families

We add up the amount of allowances and premiums that apply to you. If this is the same or more than the money you have coming in you should receive the maximum Housing Benefit. (However, you may get less if you have people living with you other than children on Child Benefit, your partner, sub-tenant and joint-tenants). If the money you have is more than the total amount of allowances and premiums that apply to you then your Housing Benefit is reduced.