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Housing Benifits

  • A Means tested benefit to assist those unable to afford all or part of their rent.
  • Many Letting bodies specialise in renting to this category, known as Social Housing:  Councils and Housing Association.
  • Others refuse to accept such tenants due to the high proportion of associated problems.
  • This subject is a self contained topic with ever changing rules.
  • Change in material circumstances must be reported to The Benefits Agency.
  • Couples separating when in receipt of HB must declare such material change in circumstances.
  • Death of a HB recipient spout likewise.
  • Prison
    • A tenant who is sentenced to a term of imprisoned for longer than 13 weeks is not entitled to HB during the sentence - i.e. he is unlikely to have a home to return to when released from prison often precipitating homelessness.
    • Even if it is merely likely the prison sentence will exceed 13 weeks (one quarter) no HB is payable.
    • However if the prisoner is on remand HB is payable for up to 52 weeks.
    • A family in receipt of HB whose spout or child is imprisoned can affect entitlement or amount of HB
    • Even if otherwise entitled to HB if you do not intend to return home upon release you will not be entitled.
    • If the landlord will rent to others during your sentence you will not be entitled to HB whilst you are in prison.
    • Ironically there are situations where dual payments are allowed: e.g. when moving home up to 4 weeks dual payment may be allowed to secure the new property whilst still obligated to pay current rent.  Alternatively a disabled tenant requiring adaptations may be allowed up to 4 weeks for this whilst remaining in previous home.
    • Battered or abused tenant spouses or anyone fearing violence from family or from say neighbours may, be allowed up to 52 weeks housing benefit on the main home - only if they intend to return to their old home similar to prisoners on remand, who leave their home for temporary accommodation.
    • Large families may be entitled to more than one home with dual benefits.
    • For specific relevant matters consult the Benefits Agency.
Published: 28 September 2015 Last Updated: 17 November 2021