If you are on a low income, you may be able to get Housing Benefit to help towards paying your rent. You can claim Housing Benefit whether you are employed or unemployed.
If you provide false statements, information or documents at the time of, or in support of, your claim or you knowingly fail to inform the Council of a relevant change which occurs after you made your claim and continue to receive benefit you are not entitled to, you will be liable to criminal prosecution under the Theft Act 1968 or Social Security Administration Act 1992 (as amended).
Use our Housing Benefit and Council Tax Support form to check your entitlement and make a claim.
Once your claim has been approved, you can check your account online to see:
- How we have calculated your claim
- Details of payments you have received
- Details of payments due
- Copies of any letters we have sent you.
You need to register before using this service for the first time. To do this you will need your:
- Email address
- Council Tax Support reference number.
Make your claim as soon as you need help paying your rent. We normally date a claim from the Monday after your first contact with us.
Use our online Housing Benefit and Council Tax Support Calculator to check your entitlement. You can also use the Entitledto website to check if there are any other benefits and tax credits you may be entitled to.
In most cases, you won't be able to claim if you:
- Have savings over £16,000 - unless you get Pension Credit Guarantee Credit
- Live in the home of a close relative who is a Reading resident
- Are a full-time student - unless you are disabled or have children (note: if you are a couple and one of you is a student, the non-student is the one who applies)
- Live in accommodation provided by your employer as a condition of employment
- Are an asylum seeker or sponsored to be in the UK
- Are an owner-occupier and are not charged rent.
How much you receive will depend on:
- The amount of rent and whether you have to pay any service charges
- Your household income
- Any childcare costs
- Any savings you have
- The number of people in your household and their ages
- Whether anyone in your household is disabled or is a carer.
If you rent accommodation from a private landlord or agency, the amount we can allow is limited by:
- The Local Housing Allowance (LHA)
- The Bedroom Standard.
The Local Housing Allowance is a flat rate that is set by the Valuation Office Agency for properties in the Reading area. The rates last for 12 months and start from 1st April every year.
|Bedrooms||Per Week||Per Month|
|Shared accommodation/joint tenants||£75.75||£328.25|
The Local Housing Allowance does not apply to:
- Council and housing association tenants
- Tenants with tenancies starting before 1989
- Tenancies provided by charitable or voluntary organisations that also include care, support or supervision services
- Tenants living in caravans, mobile homes and house boats
- Tenants where the rent includes a substantial element of board.
The Bedroom Standard assesses how many bedrooms your household needs and helps decide which level of the Local Housing Allowance applies to you. You are allowed one bedroom for each of the following:
- Each adult couple (same or opposite sex)
- Any other adult aged 16 or over
- Any two children of the same sex under 16 years
- Any two children regardless of sex under 10 years
- Any other child.
You will have to pay the difference if you choose to live in accommodation:
- Which has more bedrooms than you are assessed as needing
- Where the rent charged is more than the Local Housing Allowance rate allowed for that size of property.
When we work out how much Housing benefit you are entitled to, the number of extra bedrooms can affect the amount we allow:
- For one extra bedroom, the rate allowed is reduced by 14%
- For two or more extra bedrooms, the rate allowed is reduced by 25%.
If you are single and under 35 years old, the maximum Housing Benefit you can receive is restricted to the Local Housing Allowance rate that applies to a room in a shared house, unless one of the following applies and you:
- Are under 22 and were formerly in Social Services care under a court order
- Are under 22 and were formerly provided with accommodation by Social Services
- Are entitled to a Severe Disability Premium
- Have one or more non-dependants (eg. an adult son, daughter, relative or friend - not a boarder, sub-tenant or joint tenant).
If you are a Council or Housing Association tenant and are of working age, your Housing Benefit will be reduced if you live in accommodation with more bedrooms than your household requires, according to the Bedroom Standard.
If you are a Housing Association tenant, your Housing Benefit may be restricted if your rent is too high compared to private rental rates.
Yes - please see our appeals page for more information. Details of how to appeal can also be found on the decision letter we send to you after you have submitted your application.
If you receive Housing Benefit or Council Tax Support you must tell us about any changes in your circumstances immediately. Phone us on 0118 937 3707 and complete a change of circumstances form. By law you must report any changes to us within one month. If you receive more help than you are entitled to, you will have to pay back some or all of the benefit received.
You must tell us if:
- You move home
- Your rent changes
- Your landlord changes
- Anyone moves in or out of your home (eg a child, partner or lodger)
- You get married or change your name
- Anyone in your household has a change in their income - this includes earnings and benefits
- Anyone in your household goes into hospital or prison
- Anyone in your household becomes a student, starts work or changes job
- Your savings change, you inherit money or win the lottery
- There is any other change that may affect your benefit.
We will update your claim as soon as we can, and write to you to confirm the outcome. If we don't have enough information, we may suspend your claim until we receive the necessary details.
Please see our page on reporting fraud to find out more about reporting anyone you suspect of committing fraud.