Welcome to birmingham.gov.uk

Welcome to birmingham.gov.uk



Housing Benefit

This page tells you:

  • Who can get housing benefit
  • How it is paid
  • What affects the amount you can get
  • When it will be paid
  • How to appeal against a decision

You can make a new claim for Housing Benefit or report a change in circumstances online.

Can you get Housing Benefit?

To qualify, you must:

  • live in Birmingham
  • be liable for rent (including if you are a lodger in occupation), when making a claim, select 'Yes' when asked if you are a tenant, and then write on the form that you are a lodger in occupation.
  • be actually residing in the property
  • rent your home from a Private Landlord, Local Authority or Registered Social Landlord
  • not have savings of more than £16,000, unless you have reached the qualifying age for state pension credit

You may also qualify if:

  • you live in a mobile home or houseboat
  • you are renting under a shared ownership scheme
  • you are a boarder whose rent includes meals

If you have recently arrived in or returned to the UK, you will need to go to your nearest Customer Service Centre to see an advisor. Specialist advice is also available from the Home Office and the Refugee Council.

How is Housing Benefit paid?

If you are a local authority tenant:

  • we will pay your Housing Benefit directly into your rent account

If you are a tenant of a Registered Social Landlord:

  • Your housing benefit can be paid into your Bank, Building Society or Credit Union account, OR
  • Directly to your landlord

If you are a private tenant:

  • Your housing benefit can be paid into your Bank, Building Society or Credit Union account

If you don’t already have one of these accounts, you will need to open one. You can open a basic bank account with any bank – please see the attached leaflet for more advice. attached document Basic Bank Accounts

We MUST pay housing benefit directly to your landlord if:

  • you are in rent arrears of eight full weeks or more, or
  • Deductions for rent arrears are being made from your Income Support, income-based Job Seeker’s Allowance, or income-related Employment and Support Allowance.

How much benefit will I receive?

Housing benefit is means tested and the amount you receive will depend on your personal circumstances.

What can affect Housing Benefit?

The amount of housing benefit you will receive depends on who lives with you, your total income and any savings you may have, or the total amount your family receives in benefits. The amount can also be affected by the amount of bedrooms your family needs.

People who live with you

Adults who live with you, other than your partner, are called non dependents. The Government expects that a non-dependant will make a contribution to your rent and deducts this amount from any housing benefit you may receive, whether or not they actually do.

The amount of the deduction is based on the weekly gross income of the non-dependant and for 2015/16 are as follows:

Non - Dependant Deductions 2015

Deduction in Housing Benefit

Age 18 or over

Not in remunerative work


In remunerative work and in receipt of gross income, per week, of

Less than £129.00


£129.00 - £188.99


£189.00 - £245.99


£246.00 - £327.99


£328.00 - £407.99


£408.00 and over


Over 18 but under 25

On IS/JSA (IB) or ESA (IR) (assessment phase only) which does not include an amount for the support component or the work related activity component (if on main phase, see Others below)


Age 25 or over




In receipt of main phase ESA (IR)


In receipt of Pension Credit (either or both elements)


How many bedrooms does your family need?

In 2013, the Government introduced new rules that set out the number of bedrooms housing benefit will pay for if you rent your home. This is called “removal of the spare room subsidy”, but it is commonly known as “bedroom tax”.

The rules allow one bedroom for the following:

  • every adult couple (married or unmarried)
  • any other adult aged 16 or over
  • any two children of the same sex aged under 16
  • any two children aged under 10
  • any other child
  • a carer (or team of carers) who do not live with you but provide you or your partner with overnight care
  • one additional room for any foster children residing with an approved foster carer (please note this is ONE room only, not one room per foster child)
  • one bedroom for a child who is away at university, provided they return home during holidays AND intend to return home to live at the end of their university course.

If you have an adult child who is a member of the armed forces and who normally lives with you but are away on operations, they will be counted as part of your household and a bedroom will be allowed for them.

How will this affect me?

It is possible that the amount of Housing Benefit you get to pay your rent could go down. If you are assessed under these rules as having more bedrooms than is necessary for your household you will be considered to be under-occupying that property. If you are under-occupying there will be a reduction in your Housing Benefit of:

  • 14% of the total eligible rent for under-occupancy by one bedroom
  • 25% of the total eligible rent for under-occupancy by two bedrooms or more

If you are thinking of moving you need to consider these changes before you renew or make a new tenancy agreement.

Total amount of benefit received by your family

In 2013, the Government introduced a “cap” on the total amount of benefits that working age people can receive if they are not working.

The “cap” is:

  • £500 per week for couples (with or without children)
  • £500 for single parents whose children live with them
  • £350 a week for single adults who don’t have children, or whose children don’t live with them

Only some people will be affected. For more information, please see our dedicated benefit cap page.

When will my benefit start?

Benefit will usually start the Monday after we receive your application. If you think it should start earlier than this, you should either:

  • Complete the backdating section on the application, or
  • Contact us if you have already made your application and did not ask for your benefit to be backdated.

Please see our dedicated page for more information.

Does it matter whether me or my partner make the claim for housing benefit?

It can. In some circumstances will affect the amount you get; we will write to you if this is the case. Also, if any of the following apply to you and your partner, then the person specified should make the claim:

  • Your partner is a student, you are not – you should make the claim
  • Your partner comes from an EU state, you are a UK citizen – you should make the claim
  • Your partner does not have recourse to public funds – you should make the claim, but you should consult an immigration adviser before doing so, as this may affect your partner’s immigration status

What if I don’t agree with your decision - making an appeal

If you do not agree with our decision on how much housing benefit we will pay you, or you want to dispute any overpayments we made, you can

  • Ask us for a more detailed explanation
  • As us to look at our decision again
  • Appeal against our decision

If you’re not sure, please ask us to look at the decision again – you can still appeal at a later date if you still do not agree with us.

If you have appealed and we stand by our original decision, we will send your appeal to the Tribunal Service. The appeal will then be heard by an independent person who will consider our reasons and why you think they are wrong. You have the right to attend the hearing and take a representative with you if you want to – this could be someone from the CAB, and advice agency or a solicitor (remember, a solicitor may charge you depending on your financial circumstances).

attached document Housing Benefit Reconsideration/Appeal Form

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