Council and social tenants

Housing benefit can be paid to help anyone pay rent if they are on a low income and you can apply whether you’re unemployed or working. Housing benefits for people living in council accommodation or other social housing is normally paid directly to the council or housing association. 

You may be entitled to help with your rent through Universal Credit. If you are not eligible for Universal Credit, you may be entitled to housing benefits.  

Check if you are eligible for Universal Credit (external website)

If you are entitled to claim Universal Credit, you will still need to claim Council Tax Reduction and Free School meals.

How is it worked out?

Your entitlement to housing benefit is based on your income, personal circumstances and the amount of rent you have to pay. You can find out what you may be entitled to by using our benefits calculator

The amount of rooms in your property can affect your entitlement, if you are assessed as having one or more extra bedrooms in your house, your housing benefit could be reduced by:

  • 14% if you have 1 extra bedroom
  • 25% if you have 2 or more extra bedrooms

If you have more than £16,000 savings, then normally you would not qualify for housing benefits.

If you have made a claim, you can log in to your account or register your details to check your entitlement online.

Log in or register to view your housing benefit entitlement


The government has provided a set calculation for working out the number of bedrooms a household needs. You are allowed one bedroom for:

  • Every single adult or adult couple (married or unmarried)
  • Any other adult aged 16 or over
  • Any two children under age 10
  • Any two children of the same sex aged under 16
  • Any other child
  • Single claimants aged under 35 years of age will be entitled to the shared room rate.

You can use the bedroom calculator (external website) to work out how many bedrooms the Government says you need.

How to apply

Make sure you apply as soon as possible so that you get your full entitlement. You will need to complete a claim form, which you can do online.

Complete a claim form online

The claim form can also be used to claim council tax reduction and free school meals.

Change of circumstances

If there is a change in your household circumstances, let us know immediately as it will probably affect your claim. If you don’t update us in time, you could miss out or have to pay money back.

If you have moved address, you can report a change of address online

You can contact us about any other changes in your circumstances.

Additional evidence

We cannot pay your benefit until we have seen original documents of the following;

  • National Insurance numbers for you and your partner. 
  • Two documents of identity (per person) 
  • Capital, savings and investments. 
  • Earnings. 
  • Any other income. 
  • Any benefits, allowances or pensions. 
  • Your tenancy.

These can be taken to Russell House, our libraries, cash offices and one stop shops. 


By ‘partner’ we mean a person you are married to, live with as if you are married to them, a civil partner or a person you live with as if you are civil partners.

What can I do if I disagree with a housing benefits decision?

If you are not satisfied with a decision about your entitlement to benefits, visit our appeals page to see what you can do and if help is available.