Housing Benefit

A regular council payment to help pay your rent

Housing Benefit is a regular council payment to help pay your rent. You could get Housing Benefit to help you pay your rent if you are on a low income or claiming benefits.

How much you get depends on your income and circumstances and the amount you get could pay for all or part of your rentMost residents who are of working age will need to claim Universal Credit to help pay their rent. An overview of Housing Benefit is available from the Department for Work & Pensions.

Please remember that any delay in claiming will mean that you will lose out on benefit. 

Making a claim

You will need to complete an online application form and provide the original documents asked for on the form. If you do not, your claim may be delayed and we may not be able to pay you benefit.

When your claim has been assessed and all your details verified, we will write to you with a decision. If you have not heard from us within 21 days of making your claim, please contact us immediately to check we have received it and that we are not waiting for any other information.

If you are housebound, one of our officers can help you complete the form at your home. If you are having difficulty completing the online form please contact us.

If you are self-employed and do not have up-to-date accounts for your self-employed business, please complete a Self Employed Earnings Information form.

Your personal information will be held and used in accordance with the requirements of the General Data Protection Regulations 2018. More details

Frequently asked questions

If you are paid too much Housing Benefit you will be asked to pay it back.

Housing Benefit overpayments are recovered either by taking money from your ongoing Housing Benefit (if you are still receiving it) or by sending you an invoice. You must pay the invoice in full or contact us to make an arrangement.

If you fail to repay the amount due, further recovery action will be taken against you. This incurs costs and money can be deducted from your wages or salary, from any other benefits in payment, or by involving a debt collection agency or the County Court.

Sometimes overpayments are recovered direct from your landlord if they were receiving payments direct  - and if they contributed to the overpayment by failing to inform us of a change in circumstances, such as tenants quitting the property.

Repay housing benefit overpayments

If you have an outstanding Housing Benefit overpayment for which we are taking deductions directly from your Housing Benefit, you can request that these deductions are reduced if you are suffering from financial hardship.

Financial information questionnaire

If you don’t agree with a decision that has been made on your Housing Benefit claim you have the right to appeal. Any appeal should be made in writing, signed by you and sent to us. The appeal should be made within one calendar month of the date of our decision about your claim.

When your appeal is received, we’ll check to make sure it is correct, if there are any changes to be made these will be carried out and a new notification will be sent to you. You then have a new right to appeal.

If the decision is found to be correct your appeal will be sent to the HM Courts and Tribunals Service, who are independent from the Council, and you will be sent a letter to confirm this. A copy of the papers sent to the HM Courts and Tribunals Service will also be sent to you. They will then contact you directly with a date for the hearing which you should attend. If you have any queries concerning your appeal hearing you can contact them directly using the contact details stated on their letters.

We must process your claim within 30 days or as soon as possible after that period.  It could take longer if you haven't provided all the supporting evidence we asked for, or if we need to contact you again to get more evidence.

It is a means-tested benefit, which means that how much you get depends on: your income and circumstances, who lives with you, any other benefits you receive, and any savings you have. If you have a partner, your combined income and savings will be taken into account. Housing Benefit can pay for part or all your rent, but not for other costs - for example, fuel or meals. Any other adults living with you can affect how much Housing Benefit you receive.

Housing Benefit is paid directly into your bank account (or into the account of your landlord in certain situations).

You can't claim if you:

  • don't pay rent
  • rent a former joint home from your ex-partner (there are some exceptions in these cases) 
  • rent from a close relative who lives in the same home as you or the tenancy is not on a commercial basis
  • are the parent or guardian of your landlord's child
  • live in your home as part of your job
  • live in a care home, such as a nursing home or old peoples' home
  • your partner, or both of you together, have more than £16,000 in savings (except for some pensioners)
  • were previously a non-dependant in that property*
  • some students
  • some people from abroad           

This is not a complete list, so for further information please contact us directly.

Your first Housing Benefit payment will be made as soon as possible after your claim has been assessed. Further payments are made 4-weekly in arrears. Payment usually arrives in your bank account on a Wednesday, but it can be on a different day if there is a Bank Holiday, or if unforeseen delays occur.

A Direct Earnings Attachment (DEA) is a method of debt recovery used by councils to recoup housing benefit overpayments. Employers are required to pay amounts from the salary of their employees direct to the Council until the debt is paid.

Advice for employers can be found in the Employers' Guide to Direct Earnings Attachments.

If you move from one home to another, rent may be payable on both properties at the same time for a maximum of 4 weeks if:

  • you have moved from one home to another on a permanent basis and you are responsible for rent payments for your previous address
  • you can't move into a new home because it is being adapted to meet the disablement needs of yourself or a member of your family who lives with you
  • you had to leave your home for fear of violence and intend to return (maximum absence of 52 weeks)
  • your family is so large that the local authority has had to house your family in 2 properties (no time limit)
  • you or your partner is a student studying away from home and needs to claim benefit elsewhere. You would need to prove that it is unavoidable and that it is reasonable to pay benefit on both homes (no time limit).

You will need to make a written request for an overlapping payment direct to us and provide evidence from your previous landlord. You can only receive Council Tax Support on a single property at any one time so you will be responsible for payment of Council Tax on both homes if you do not get full Council Tax Support of your new property.

You must write to us as changes to the number of people in your household may affect the number of bedrooms you need, which in turn affects the local housing allowance applicable to you. Changes which can affect your local housing allowance are, for example, a young person reaching the age of 16 or a child reaching the age of 10, or if there is a substantial change or improvement to the condition of your property.

If you are over pensionable age your claim for Housing Benefit can be backdated up to a maximum of 3 months. If you request a backdated award you will be asked to provide details of your circumstances during this past period. If you are under pensionable age you may ask for your claim to be backdated for up to one month prior to your application for Housing Benefit.

In both cases you must prove that you had a very good reason for failing to apply earlier. You will be asked for documentary evidence to support your request. For instance, if you have been ill, a letter from your doctor or the hospital.

If you are self-employed you should send us your latest accounts or, if these aren't available, you'll need to complete a self-employed income form.

We currently disregard 100% of War Disablement & War Widows Pension income in the calculation of Housing Benefit entitlement. This is allowed under Section 134 (8) of the Social Security Administration Act 1992 and is mainly funded by the Government.

The Housing Benefit Portal

Landlords: From 1 June 2022 we will no longer be sending payment schedules either by post or email. If you have not done so already, please register for the online portal where amongst many useful functions you can view your schedules, next payment amounts and individual tenants' entitlement details. There's a brief guide on how to register 

Claimants: The online portal is also available for you. You will need a MyEastleigh account and within this you can add Housing Benefits as a service to see all aspects of your claim, from the details we hold about you to your next payment amount.