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Which benefit can help you pay your rent?

This section explains briefly what benefit options are open to you, to help pay your rent, and how you can claim them.

More information is available from the Department of Work and Pensions, the Citizens Advice Bureau and other agencies.

YOU are responsible for telling the relevant benefits agencies of any change in your circumstances to keep your benefit claim up to date.

When you start a new tenancy with us, you will be asked if you are going to claim benefits. If you are, you will need to advise the benefit agency of your change of circumstances – including your new address and rent charges immediately.

Do not leave it until you move in, as some benefits will not be backdated.

Housing Benefit

Housing Benefit is a means tested benefit that helps towards payment of your rent and/or service charges. It is paid by your local council on behalf of the Department of Work and Pensions. You can only claim this benefit if you are not claiming Universal Credit, or if your property has ‘exempt accommodation status’. Your local authority will be able to tell you if this is the case.

Am I able to claim?

In order to claim Housing Benefit:

  • You must be paying rent for the home you are living in – this includes shared ownership properties
  • The property you are living in must be your main home
  • You must have a low income or be entitled to income support, jobseeker’s allowance, employment support allowance, or pension credit

If you have savings of more than £16,000 you will not usually be able to get Housing Benefit.

A few people are unable to claim Housing Benefit, such as many full-time students, some people from abroad, and people who are in service accommodation.

How do I claim?

Contact your local authority to make a claim for Housing Benefit. Check that you have provided all of the evidence of your income, identification and any other proof that the local authority may require. Without this your claim will not be agreed.

When is Housing Benefit paid?

Housing Benefit is usually paid four weekly ‘in arrears’, however your tenancy agreement states that rent payment is due ‘in advance’ (please refer to your tenancy agreement). Please speak to the income management team if you are unable to pay your rent in advance.

Council Tax support

The local authorities make a council tax charge to every household. If you are on a low income help may be available.

For more information contact your local authority.

Universal Credit

Universal Credit is being rolled out across the country. Over a period of time, Universal Credit will replace many of the existing benefits, including Housing Benefit. If you qualify for this benefit, any entitlement to housing costs will be included.

This benefit will be paid to you on the same date each calendar month, in arrears. You will be responsible for paying

your rent to us in advance as stated in the tenancy agreement. Direct debits can be collected from your bank account the day after Universal Credit reaches your bank account.

Pension Credit

At some point in the future, housing costs (currently Housing Benefit) will be included in new Pension Credit claims which will be paid direct to you, and rolled out to existing Pension Credit claimants.

As with Universal Credit, the payment will be made to you and you will be responsible for paying your rent to us in advance as stated in the tenancy agreement.

Money Matters

Magna offers money matters advice to any resident who needs help with benefit information and claims, including assisting with claim forms, budgeting and paying arrears. Help is also available from your local authority, your local job centre, the Citizens Advice Bureau, or other local advice agencies.

Contact details of these organisations can be found in the ‘who to contact’ section.