Universal Credit has replaced Housing Benefit and a range of other welfare benefits for most working age people. If you do not fall into any of the categories below and you need help to pay your rent you will need to claim Universal Credit. Before applying for Housing Benefit please read all of the information on this page.
You should only apply for Housing Benefit if:
- you live in specified accommodation; or
- you are homeless and the council has placed you in temporary accommodation; or
- you are entitled to a benefit with a severe disability premium, or have been in the last month and continue to be eligible; or
- you and any partner have reached state pension age. You can check whether this applies to you and your partner by clicking on the link to the state pension age calculator.
- you are part of a couple, one of you has reached state pension age and you were claiming Housing Benefit or state pension credit (as a couple) before 15 May 2019.
If you do not fall into any of the categories above and you need help to pay your rent you will need to claim Universal Credit.
If you need help to pay your council tax you will still need to claim Council Tax Support from the council.
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).
Find out if you should apply for Universal Credit instead. If.,after entering your postcode you are asked to sign in or register, this means you need to apply for Universal Credit.
How to apply
Use our online form 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. Any required evidence will be listed at the end of the form.
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
It takes on average 15 days to process a new Housing Benefit claim. Claims can be processed quicker if the required evidence is supplied as soon as possible.
Changes to your circumstances
Most changes in your circumstances will affect the amount of benefits that you can receive. If you are unsure of whether your award will be affected you can check on our changes to your circumstances affecting benefits page.
Please advise us of your change in circumstances. You will need to provide your claim reference number that is shown on your notification letter, along with your National Insurance Number to help confirm your identity.
Please tell us as soon as possible, as the change may mean that you're eligible for more Housing Benefit. If you do not let us know within one month, we may not be able to backdate the change.
If you are currently receiving Housing Benefit but you have received a letter advising that it has been suspended because of a change in your circumstances, you can use the link below to provide the supporting evidence that we have requested.
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.
- 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.
- Certificate of gross earnings form [PDF, 31KB]
The completed form(s) can be submitted electronically along with your claim or change notification.
If you are a landlord and need to contact us, then please complete the online contact form.
How to appeal
If you disagree with a decision, you need to submit a general enquiry or 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. You can ask for a letter explaining our decision, for 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!
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.