Housing Benefit

Housing Benefit is a means tested social security benefit in the UK that is intended to help meet housing costs for rented accommodation.

The primary legislation governing Housing Benefit is the Social Security Contributions and Benefits Act 1992. Operationally, the governing Regulations are statutory instruments arising from that Act. It is governed by one of two sets of regulations.

For working age claimants it is governed by the "Housing Benefit Regulations 2006", but for those who have reached the qualifying age for Pension Credit (regardless of whether it has been claimed) it is governed by the "Housing Benefit (Persons who have attained the qualifying age for state pension credit) Regulations 2006".

It is normally administered, along with council tax benefit, by the local authority in whose area the property being rented lies. In some circumstances, normally council tenants in "out of borough properties", some claimants may be required to obtain Housing Benefit from the borough that placed them and Council Tax Benefit from their local council. For those areas where there is two or more tier local government structure, Housing Benefit is administered by the district or borough council layer of local government. This is generally the council responsible for the billing of Council Tax.

Council tenants' housing benefit is awarded as a rebate; reducing the level of rent payable by the tenant. Private tenants' benefit is normally paid to the claimant, who has the right to decide to whom payments are made, and in some cases to the landlord. Local authorities reclaim the housing benefit that they have paid from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) by means of submitting heavily audited subsidy claims. Three subsidy claims must be completed each year, an initial estimate, a mid year estimate and a final claim. The final claim must be submitted to the DWP by 30 April. The final audited claim must be submitted by 30 November. The Department for Work and Pensions pays local councils an administration grant based on the numbers of new claims and overall case-load; as well as various other cost factor adjustments to take into account the relative staff and accommodation costs. The level of Administration Grant awarded is announced annually by the Department for Work and Pensions. Some elements of the subsidy claim are subject to penalty, to encourage local authorities to control that element of expenditure. This includes high rents for care and support homes and the raising of overpayments. Overpayments of benefit are not fully funded in order to ensure that the local authority takes recovery action where appropriate.

Regulation 9 of the Housing Benefit Regulations mean that Housing Benefit is normally only available to those who are liable to pay rent and have permanent right to reside in the UK. In some cases, a member of the household who is not the claimant or tenant may be treated as liable (such as where the person is unable to look after the own affairs). Some tenants who are liable may also be treated as not liable for the purposes of housing benefit (e.g. most full time Higher Education Students and those who live with a closely relative landlord). If a person who does not have permanent right submits a claim, the Home Office may be informed, which could result in deportation. Due to the operation of the Data Protection Act this would be unusual. Housing Benefit requires both the claimant and any partner to have a valid national insurance number.

New or re-entrants in to the country, claiming within two years of entry may also be excluded from Housing Benefit.

Since April 2008, new private sector benefit claimants receive housing benefit under revised rent restriction rules called Local Housing Allowance.

Read more about Housing Benefit:  History, Concepts and Terminology, Local Housing Allowance, Reference Rent Cases, Northern Ireland, Non-LHA Housing Benefit Claims, Housing Benefit Payments For Private Tenants, Rent Restrictions For Council and Housing Association Tenants, Housing Benefit Taper, Non-dependant Deductions, Pre-tenancy Determinations, Council Tax Benefit, Abolition of Council Tax Benefit, Changes in Circumstances, Treatment of Overpayments, Appeals, Discretionary Housing Payments, Changes To Housing Benefit in 2011

Other articles related to "housing benefit, benefit, housing":

Crisis (charity) - Campaigns - Housing Benefit Cuts
2010, the Government announced plans for a 10 per cent cut in housing benefit for anyone on Jobseekers' Allowance for more than a year ... Forced to make up the shortfall in Housing Benefit with a substantial proportion of their dole money, the amount left for food, clothing and energy would rapidly decrease ...
Changes To Housing Benefit in 2011
... In the spending review of 20 October 2010 George Osborne announced a series of changes to housing benefit ... These changes will mean significantly lower amounts of benefit will be paid, especially in Central London ... be reduced based on the anniversary date of when they first made their claim for benefit ...
Local Housing Allowance
... Local Housing Allowance (LHA) was introduced on 7 April 2008 to provide Housing Benefit entitlement for tenants renting private sector accommodation in England, Scotland and ... The LHA system introduced significant changes to the way Housing Benefit (HB) levels are restricted and how benefit is paid ... It does not replace Housing Benefit - it is just a different way of calculating entitlement under the existing Housing Benefit scheme ...
Local Housing Allowance - Criticisms
... Questions of fairness of the Local Housing Allowance system were raised when it was revealed in October 2008 that a family in the London borough of Ealing was receiving £150,000 a year in Local ... As the Brown government acknowledged in the 2009 Budget, families on benefit might be significantly better off than low income working families ... Furthermore, costs of Housing Benefit have been rising above inflation despite static caseloads." The transition from the old housing benefit system to Local Housing Allowance significantly increased ...
List Of Statutory Instruments Of The United Kingdom, 1997 - 1901-2000
1997/1901 Allocation of Housing (Reasonable and Additional Preference) Regulations 1997 S.I. 1997/1902 Housing (Prescribed Forms) (Amendment) (No. 1997/1972 Housing Benefit (General) Amendment (No ...

Famous quotes containing the words benefit and/or housing:

    But is an enemy so execrable that tho in captivity his wishes and comforts are to be disregarded and even crossed? I think not. It is for the benefit of mankind to mitigate the horrors of war as much as possible.
    Thomas Jefferson (1743–1826)

    We have been weakened in our resistance to the professional anti-Communists because we know in our hearts that our so-called democracy has excluded millions of citizens from a normal life and the normal American privileges of health, housing and education.
    Agnes E. Meyer (1887–1970)