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Housing benefit

Find out what help is available to pay your rent, how much you may be entitled to, how to make a new claim or tell us if your circumstances have changed.

Should I claim housing benefit or Universal Credit?

We know that benefits can sometimes be confusing. If you are not sure whether you should apply for Universal Credit or for housing benefit, simply answer these questions and we will guide you.


What is housing benefit?

If you are on a low income, housing benefit helps to pay for part or all of your rent.

Private tenants

If you rent your home from a private landlord your housing benefit will be calculated on the local housing allowance (LHA) rate appropriate to your household size and the area of the East Riding you live in.

The LHA rate will be the maximum amount of housing benefit you will be eligible to receive based on the number of bedrooms your household needs. This is not the amount of benefit you may receive.

The LHA is set annually each April by the Valuation Office Agency. 

Check your LHA rate on the GOV.UK website.

Local authority or housing association tenants

If you rent your home from the council or a housing association your housing benefit will be calculated on the rent for your property less any service charges which we cannot pay, such as water rates. 

Working-age customers

Your eligible rent figure may be restricted if you have a spare bedroom(s) based on the number of bedrooms required by your household. 

The following size criteria apply, a bedroom will be allocated to:

  • a single adult or couple
  • 2 children under the age of 10 of the same or opposite sex
  • 2 children under the age of 16 of the same sex
  • each person aged 16 or over
  • any other child
  • a bedroom for a non-resident carer where overnight care is needed.  

There are additional rules for:

  • disabled children
  • foster carers
  • non-dependents who are in the armed forces. 

What is the reduction?

  • A 14% reduction for those who are deemed to be under-occupying by one room
  • A 25% reduction for those who are deemed to be under-occupying by two or more rooms. 

How much will I get?

Use our online benefit calculator to get an estimate of the amount of benefit you may be entitled to.

To get an accurate estimate of your entitlement, you will need details of your earnings, income, capital and any benefits you currently receive.

Calculate your entitlement online

If I qualify, when and how will I receive my benefit?

Private tenants

Housing benefit is usually paid directly to the claimant 4 weekly in arrears by BACS. Housing association tenants can request that payments are made direct to their landlord.

Council tenants

Housing benefit will be credited to your rent account. 

Can I claim if I am a European Economic Area (EEA) national and working?

It depends on how long you have been working in the UK and how much money you have been earning.

Find out more about the minimum earnings thresholds for nationals of EEA countries on the GOV.UK website or email adjudication@eastriding.gov.uk for advice.

I have somebody living with me over the age of 18, who is not my partner, will this affect how much I will receive?

The amount of housing benefit you receive may be reduced if you have a non-dependant living with you.

Non-dependants are people who normally share your accommodation but are NOT dependant on your financial support. Non-dependants are people such as grown-up children and elderly relatives.

The following people are NOT classed as being non-dependants:

  • carers employed by a charity that charges for the service
  • joint tenants
  • sub-tenants
  • boarders
  • tenants of owner properties
  • landlords and their partners. 

What proof do you need to see to support my application?

You will need to provide the following documentation to support your application:

Identity for you and your partner

This could be:

  • birth certificate
  • marriage certificate
  • current passport
  • medical card
  • driving license in photo card format
  • UK residence permit
  • EEC identity card
  • letter from a government department. 

National Insurance number for you and your partner

This could be:

  • National Insurance number card
  • P60 or payslips
  • letter from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP). 

The benefits team will contact you if they need any further documentation.

Other evidence you may need to submit

  • capital, savings and investments for you and your partner. This also includes any accounts that are overdrawn.
  • earnings for you, your partner and any other non-dependants living with you
  • self-employed earnings for you and your partner
  • other income for you, your partner and other adults living with you
  • benefits, allowances or pensions for you, your partner and any other adults living with you
  • your tenancy agreement and proof of rent paid
  • childcare costs
  • any other eligible expenses. 

If you do not have any payslips, or if they are handwritten, you will need to ask your employer to complete the form below:

Certificate of earned income (pdf 72kb)

If you have childcare costs but do not have any receipts, please ask your childcare provider to complete the form below:

Childcare costs (pdf 44kb)

If you do not have a tenancy agreement or have no proof of your rent, please ask your landlord to complete the form below:

Landlord form (pdf 45kb)

How to prepare and supply proof documents

Proofs must be in GIF, JPG, JPEG, PDF or PNG format and be a maximum of 20mb in size.

You could:

  • take a steady, clear photograph of them with your smartphone or tablet 
  • scan them using your home printer if it has scanning capabilities
  • scan them at your local customer service centre.

 You can either upload your proof in the online application form or email your documents to us at benefit.assessments@eastriding.gov.uk.

Can my claim be backdated?

You can request that your claim is backdated, however, there is no automatic right to a backdate. Each request is considered on its own merits and you must show good cause throughout the period of your request.

I am self-employed, what information will you need from me?

If you are self-employed you will need to supply additional information within one calendar month of submitting your housing benefit application.

How do I apply for housing benefit?

The quickest way to apply for housing benefit is online.

Please note: if you pay council tax you do not need to make a separate claim for council tax support. When you apply for housing benefit we automatically check to see if you qualify for council tax support as well.

To avoid any delays, please have the following details ready:  

  • National Insurance number for you and your partner  
  • all income for you and your partner 
  • any state benefits (for example, Jobseeker's Allowance or Pension Credit) 
  • all bank accounts you and your partner have, even if they are overdrawn 
  • the rent you are charged  
  • all other household members' full names, dates of birth and any income they receive.


If you need any assistance, please call (01482) 393939.

How do I report changes?

Report a change in your circumstances on our existing claims page

Where can I find information about debt, budgeting or other financial help?

Our money advice page can help you with:

  • An online budgeting tool to help you create your own personal budget plan
  • Access to our welfare visiting team who can offer information and advice about debt and budgeting
  • Links to other organisations who can help with managing debt.

Visit the money advice page

Free impartial debt advice

There are also a number of independent organisations who can provide useful advice and information for people who are experiencing financial problems.

Take a look at organisations that can offer financial and debt advice.

I am having financial difficulties, can you help me in any other way?

Check if you can receive a reduction If you are struggling financially, you may make an application for one of our discretionary schemes to reduce your rent or council tax.

Anyone who needs further help with housing costs, and is currently claiming housing benefit or the housing element of Universal Credit can claim a discretionary housing payment.

Anyone who needs further help with Council Tax can claim a  discretionary discount as there are no set conditions for awarding this reduction and we will individually consider any applications.

To apply for a discretionary scheme, we will need a range of information from you to make a decision including the following:

  • Why you are unable to pay your rent or council tax
  • Household income and expenditure
  • Savings and investments
  • If you have received debt or benefits advice. 

Can I request a hold on recovery action and additional fees?

Read about the new, statutory scheme called ‘Breathing Space’ which is designed to provide people with debt problems the right to legal protection from creditors for a limited period of time.

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