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  4. Apply for Housing Benefit

Apply for Housing Benefit

You may get housing benefit to help you pay your rent if you’re on a low income and meet one or more of the following:

  • are of State Pension Age
  • are getting, or recently stopped getting a benefit with a severe disability premium
  • are living in specified accommodation where care and support is being provided

Your eligibility to claim housing benefit will be affected by:

  • your income which includes your earnings, other benefits and tax credits
  • your savings, if they are less than £16,000 unless you receive Guaranteed Pension Credit
  • the income of anyone else who lives with you such as grown up children or parents

You can use a benefits calculator to see what you might be eligible for.

Universal Credit

If you are on a low income and do not meet the criteria to claim Housing Benefit you will need to claim Universal Credit for help with your housing costs.

Housing Benefit

How to apply

Apply for Housing benefit online

For help with council tax support or housing benefit applications, please make an appointment at our offices.

Deciding applications

We aim to decide complete applications within 14 days. If we need further information to support your claim we will write to you. We will notify you once your claim has been assessed. 

Backdating a claim

If you haven't been able to apply for benefits immediately we may be able to backdate your application.

Housing Benefit rates

Housing benefit is calculated under the Local Housing Allowance (LHA) scheme and is based on:

  • the area you live in which is known as the Broad Rental Market Area (BRMA)Find out which BRMA you are in
  • the number of bedrooms you require
  • the shared room rate applies to applicants aged under 35.

The rates assume one bedroom per single adult applicant and adult couple plus one additional bedroom for:

  • any other adult aged 16 or over
  • any two children under the age of 10
  • any two children of the same sex under the age of 16
  • any other child.

2020 to 2021 Broad Rental Market Area weekly rates

Number of bedrooms








1 bedroom




2 bedrooms




3 bedrooms




4 bedrooms




Benefits calculators

Use an independent benefits calculator from the website to find out:

  • what benefits you could get
  • how to claim
  • how your benefits will be affected if you start work

Managing on a limited budget 

To help you draw up a household budget plan visit the Money Advice Service website. Advice is also available from Oxfordshire Citizens Advice Bureau and A-Z of benefits - GOV.UK.

Payment of housing benefit

Paying housing benefit into a bank account

If you qualify for housing benefit we can pay the money directly into your bank account, complete and return the form.


Payment of Housing Benefit to landlords

In some circumstances we understand that the applicant may need payments to be made straight to their landlord. These circumstances could be that the applicant has:

  • learning difficulties
  • medical conditions
  • mental health problems
  • inability to open a bank account
  • debt problems
  • a history of rent or utility service arrears
  • undischarged bankruptcy
  • previous evictions

Landlords can be paid direct if they meet the safeguard criteria in the safeguard policy.

You can apply for Housing Benefit to be paid straight to the landlord:

Changes to housing benefits and payments to landlords

Applicants can offer landlords the option of receiving their housing benefit payments direct from the Council in return for reducing rent price to an agreed affordable level.

For more information, help with applying or negotiating with your landlord please