Housing benefits

Housing Benefit is a means tested benefit for people on a low income to help them pay their rent (payments you make to live in your home).

Will I be able to get Housing Benefit?

Universal Credit (UC) has been introduced in Plymouth and has replaced Housing Benefit (HB) and a range of other welfare benefits for most working age people. Whether you apply for Housing Benefit or Universal Credit for help with your housing costs depends on your personal circumstances.

If you are working age and need to make a new claim for help towards your rent you need to apply for Universal Credit.

Check whether you should claim Universal Credit

If you:

  • live in supported accommodation or
  • have three or more children in your household and are not already claiming Universal Credit

you should apply for Housing Benefit

People of pension age are not affected and can still apply for Housing Benefit.

If you don't pay rent, but your name appears on the council tax bill you may be eligible for Council Tax Support.

Usually you won't get Housing Benefit if:

  • you rent your home from a close relative who lives in the same house
  • you own the property you're claiming benefit for (or have a mortgage on that property)
  • you and any partner have joint savings or investments of more than £16,000
  • you're a foreign national subject to immigration control
  • you're receiving or are able to claim Universal Credit (includes an amount for housing costs)

If you are on either Universal Credit or Housing Benefit and need help with your council tax, you can make a claim for Council Tax support from us.

Apply for Council Tax support

How much you can claim

Use our benefit calculator to find out how much you can claim.

Calculate your Housing Benefit

How to apply

Use our online form below to apply for Housing Benefit, you can apply whether you're unemployed or working. It helps pay for rent and some service charges. It doesn't help with water, care, heating, food or mortgage payments.

Apply for Housing Benefit

Before applying for Housing Benefit please read all of the information on this page, as dependant on your circumstances you may need to apply for Universal Credit instead.

How we make our decision

The amount of Housing Benefit you can get is based on:

  • your household income, including any benefits and pensions
  • savings and investments over £6,000 for those of working age and £10,000 for those of pension age (you can't get Housing Benefit if you've savings of £16,000 or more unless you're a pensioner and receive the guarantee credit part of Pension Credit)
  • your circumstances, for example the ages of people in your household and if someone has a disability
  • the amount of rent you pay
  • if you're a housing association tenant under pension age how much you get also depends on whether you've spare bedrooms
  • if you rent from a private landlord how much you get depends on the local housing allowance rate which may be lower than your actual rent

Please tell us if your circumstances change, in writing, within one month so we can look at our decision and see whether your payment needs to be changed.

How to appeal

If you disagree with a decision you need to write to us at Revenues and Benefits, Plymouth City Council, PO Box 293, Plymouth PL5 9BZ within one month of the date of the decision letter and ask either for a letter explaining our decision, us to look at our decision again or for an independent appeals tribunal to look at the decision.

View your Housing Benefit online

Use Self Service to view your Housing Benefit payments online. It's free and available 24 hours a day!

View your account on Self Service

Once you've registered you'll be able to view any payments made to you, see how your payment has been calculated and view documents we've sent to you. Please have your entitlement letter and national insurance number ready.

Problems with your account

Use our online form to report a problem with your Self Service account. This includes logging into your account or any security or technical issues you find.

Report a problem

Changes to your circumstances

See our changes to your circumstances affecting benefits page to report any changes. Please tell us as soon as possible, as the change may mean that you're eligible for more Housing Benefit.

Proof of rent

If you can't prove the rent you pay by supplying your tenancy agreement or rent card, your landlord will need to complete the landlords rent proof form.

Download Rent proof form [PDF, 140KB]

If you're employed but can't prove how much you are paid by supplying the required number of wage slips, your employer will need to complete the employer's certificate of gross earnings form.

Download Certificate of gross earnings form [PDF, 31KB]

Return completed forms to Revenues and Benefits, Plymouth City Council, PO Box 293, Plymouth, PL5 9BZ.


Useful external links