Claim Housing Benefit

If you're not currently getting Housing Benefit from us and want to make a new claim.

If you're already receiving Housing Benefit and need to tell us about a change see changes of circumstance.

Universal Credit is being introduced gradually across Bristol from June 2018.

Most working age households won’t be able to make a claim for Housing Benefit once Universal Credit has been introduced in their area.

Use our Universal Credit checker to see if it has been introduced where you live.

Housing Benefit if Universal Credit is in your area

When Universal Credit is introduced to your area, you can still claim Housing Benefit if you have three or more children.  You’ll also need to make a claim for current benefits and tax credits.  

You can still also get Housing Benefit to help with your rent if you:

You’ll need to make a claim for Universal Credit for your living costs if you are working age or find out about pension age benefits if you are old enough to get State Pension Credit.

If you're already receiving Housing Benefit and need to tell us about a change see changes of circumstance.  This includes a change of address within the Bristol City Council boundary.

Eligibility for Housing Benefit

You may get housing benefit if you:

  • live in an area where Universal Credit has not been introduced yet and:
    • you rent your home or
    • you're a sub-tenant or lodger
  • live in an area where Universal Credit has been introduced and you
    • live in temporary or supported accommodation or
    • are old enough to get State Pension Credit

If you don't pay rent, but your name appears on the Council Tax bill you may be eligible for Council Tax Reduction.

Who isn’t eligible

Usually you won’t get Housing Benefit if:

  • you rent your home from a close relative who lives in the same house
  • you own the property you're claiming benefit for (or have a mortgage on that property)
  • you and any partner have joint savings or investments of more than £16,000
  • you're a foreign national subject to immigration control
  • you're receiving or are eligible to claim Universal Credit

Use our benefits calculator to see if you might get help with housing costs.

How to claim

Claim Housing Benefit

We’ll decide your claim once we get all of the necessary evidence.  We’ll contact you if we need more information.

We’ll tell you our decision within 21 days of receiving your claim.

We’ll send you a benefit decision letter when your claim has been decided.

What you’ll get

How much you get depends on:

  • your household income, including benefits and pensions
  • savings and investments over £6,000 for those of working age and over £10,000 for those old enough to get State Pension Credit
  • your circumstances, for example age of people in the house, if someone has a disability

If you’re a council or housing association tenant how much you get also depends on:

  • your eligible rent which is the amount of your rent we use in our assessment
  • if you’re under pension age and have spare bedrooms

If you rent from a private landlord, how much you get depends on the Local Housing Allowance.  The amount of Local Housing Allowance may be lower than your actual rent. 

How we pay your Housing Benefit

If you're a council tenant, we'll pay your benefit direct to your rent account.

If you're a housing association tenant, we'll pay your benefit direct to your landlord every four weeks (if you've asked us to), or direct to your bank account every two weeks in arrears.

If you're a private tenant, we'll pay your benefit direct to your bank account every two weeks in arrears.

Sometimes we'll pay your benefit directly to your landlord.  Examples of when we do this:

  • if you're more than eight weeks in arrears
  • if you're getting rent taken from another benefit like Pension Credit or Jobseeker’s Allowance

Backdated claims

If you’re of pension age, we’ll automatically backdate your claim by up to three months from the date we receive your claim.

If you’re under pension age, you must write to us if you want your claim to be backdated.  We can sometimes backdate your claim for up to one month from the date we receive your written request for backdating if there’s a good reason why you didn't claim earlier.

We may ask you to provide extra information about your reasons for not claiming sooner.