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For up-to-date information about our services and links to useful advice, see our Coronavirus page

Housing Benefit

You can claim Housing Benefit if you pay rent and your income, savings and investments are below a certain level. You can't usually receive Housing Benefit if: 

  • You have savings of over £16,000, unless you have reached the qualifying age for State Pension Credit and are getting the ‘guarantee credit’ of pension credit
  • You live in the home of a close relative
  • You’re a full time student (unless you are disabled or have children)
  • You’re an asylum seeker or are sponsored to be in the UK
  • You are claiming Universal Credit.

Housing Benefit is available to tenants living in:

  • Hostels
  • Housing association accommodation
  • Privately rented accommodation.

Housing Benefit for privately rented accommodation is called Local Housing Allowance and the rates are set separately. Please see the Local Housing Allowance page for full details including eligibility and how to apply.

You can get an estimate of the Housing Benefit and Council Tax Support you could get by using our online calculator. This will also estimate your entitlement to other benefits and tax credits. 

Benefit Calculator

If you would like to make a claim for Housing Benefit, please complete the benefit calculator first to estimate you qualify. Please record your benefit calculation reference number as you will need to record this on your application form. 

If you do qualify please complete the  Housing Benefit Application Form and  return with your  supporting evidence by email or by post to Benefits Team, South Norfolk Council, South Norfolk House, Cygnet Court, Long Stratton, Norwich, NR15 2XE.

You should contact us straight away to make a claim, as this will normally determine the date your benefits will start. Benefit claims may be backdated if there is good reason, find out more about backdating benefit.

The most Housing Benefit you can receive is the same as your ‘eligible rent’ which is the amount used to work out your benefit. This may not be the same as your full rent.

Eligible rent includes:

  • Rent for accommodation
  • Charges for services such as lifts, communal laundry facilities or play areas.

Even if the following are included in your rent, you won’t receive Housing Benefit for:

  • Water charges
  • Charges for heating, hot water, lighting or cooking
  • Payments for food or fuel in board and lodgings or hostels.

We assess the particulars of your home and the rent you pay and ask if:

  • The amount of rent is reasonable for your particular home
  • Your home is a reasonable size for you and your family
  • The amount of rent is reasonable for the area where you live.

Your ‘eligible rent’ may be limited to an amount that’s reasonable for a suitably sized property in the area you live. We will also look at your personal and financial circumstances. The amount of Housing Benefit you may get also depends on:

  • The money you and your partner or civil partner have coming in, including earnings, some benefits and tax credits, and occupational pensions
  • Your savings and your partner's, or civil partner's savings
  • Your circumstances, such as your age, the size of your family and their ages, if you or any of your family are disabled, and if anyone who lives with you could help with the rent - non-dependents
  • If you work and have child care charges to pay.

Housing Benefit is paid straight into your bank account every four weeks in arrears. If you are a housing association tenant, we can pay your benefit straight to your landlord.

We have to pay your landlord if you are more than eight weeks in arrears with your rent.