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About Housing Benefit

Housing Benefit is a means-tested welfare benefit. This means your (and your partner’s) income and capital, and the income of anyone living with you, is assessed to calculate if you are entitled, and if you are, how much you are entitled to.

You could get Housing Benefit to help you pay your rent if you're:

  • residing in temporary accommodation (placed in or out of the borough by Barking and Dagenham Council), or a council hostel
  • residing in supported exempt accommodation
  • residing in Housing Association sheltered accommodation
  • you have reached State Pension Credit age, or are part of a couple where both of you have reached state Pension Credit age

If you do not fall into one of the categories listed above you will need to claim Universal Credit.

Universal Credit is a new benefit for working-age people, replacing six existing benefits (known as legacy benefits) and Housing Benefit is one of these benefits.

Housing Benefit does not help with mortgages, instead the Support for Mortgage Interest (SMI) scheme, administered by the Department for Works and Pensions, helps those on a low income pay the interest on their mortgage.

Our simple guide explains how Housing Benefit is calculated.

How Housing Benefit is calculated (PDF, 101.30 KB)


You may find the following definitions helpful:

  • Total weekly income – this is the total amount of earned and unearned income for you and your partner, after all disregards including student income, and any amounts added to your weekly income depending on how much capital you have
  • Total weekly applicable amount – this is the calculated amount you (and your partner) need to meet your necessary weekly costs
  • Eligible rent – this is the maximum amount of Housing Benefit we can award you. Your eligible rent is decided depending on your tenancy. Find out what your eligible rent is if you're a private tenant, a private tenant (pre-April 2008), or a council tenant or housing association tenant
  • Non-dependent deductions – these are the deductions for any adults living with you, such as an adult child, relative or friend, who is not liable to pay rent

Housing Benefit general enquiry

If you would like to ask us a question about Housing Benefit, the best way to contact us is to use our Housing Benefit general enquiry form. To use the form, you need to be signed in to your My Account. If you don’t have one, you can create a My Account.

Housing Benefit general enquiry

Request for housing cost element details

If you intend to claim Universal Credit and you would like to request housing cost element details, you can complete a form that we will use to send you information. To use the form, you need to be signed in to your Barking and Dagenham Council My Account. If you don’t have one, you can create a My Account.

Housing cost element form

Online benefits calculator

You can use an independent benefits calculator to find out how your benefits will be affected if you have a change in your circumstances and what benefits you could be entitled to.

Benefits calculators

We can only process Housing Benefit applications for residents of Barking and Dagenham. You can claim Housing Benefit if you:

  1. are liable to pay rent
  2. occupy the home on which Housing Benefit is to be paid
  3. satisfy a means test

You could be liable to pay rent if you're renting a property from your local council, a housing association, a housing co-operative, a private landlord or via a managing agent.

If you're living in a hostel or a shared accommodation you can claim as long as you're liable to pay rent.

Once you submit a Housing Benefit application form and all the required documents, we'll assess your claim by carrying out a means-test. The means-test decides how much Housing Benefit you're entitled to.

If you live with a partner, only one of you can make a claim for Housing Benefit as the claimant.

If you have been placed in temporary accommodation outside of the borough by our Housing Team, you can claim Housing Benefit with us. However you will need to claim Council Tax Support from the borough you have been placed in.

You cannot claim Housing Benefit if you and/or your partner:

  • have more than £16,000 combined savings, unless you are in receipt of the Guarantee Credit element of Pension Credit
  • pay rent to a close relative, and that close relative resides in the same home
  • do not pay rent
  • are from abroad, and are subject to immigration control

Your combined savings is the total amount of money you and/or your partner have in all of the following:

  • cash
  • bank current accounts, deposit accounts and savings accounts
  • National Savings accounts
  • giro bank accounts and building society accounts
  • post office accounts
  • ISA accounts and Premium Bonds
  • shares and unit trusts
  • National Savings Certificates
  • equity of land and buildings

Only these students are entitled to claim Housing Benefit providing they have a liability to pay rent:

  • part-time students
  • those under the age of 20 in further education
  • those that have reached pensionable age
  • those who are disabled
  • those in receipt of Income Support, Jobseeker’s Allowance (Income Based) or Employment and Support Allowance (Income Related)
  • those with children
  • those with non-student partners; however, the non-student partner must usually be the main applicant