Housing Benefit is an allowance to help people with their housing costs. It is not a payment of rent, and will not necessarily cover the full amount of the rent. It is worked out on the personal circumstances of a tenant and therefore may vary with each tenant.
It is legally due to the person who claims it, though it can be paid to someone else at their request. It will normally be paid to a landlord if:
- The tenant requests it,
- The tenant has left the property owing rent arrears (this is limited to the amount of any arrears),
- The tenant has arrears the equivalent of 8 weeks rent,
- An amount of Income Support or Jobseeker's Allowance is being paid direct to a landlord to meet arrears of rent, and
- The council believes it is in the best interest of the tenant.
The Housing Benefit application form includes a question asking the tenant to whom they want payment made. Payment is normally paid on a Monday, four-weekly in arrears. If paid to a tenant it is paid fortnightly in arrears.
Payments are made either by crossed cheque or by automatic credits (BACS) to a bank, building society or post office account. BACS is the council's preferred method of payment. The biggest benefit from this method of payment is that money is available to withdraw on the day received unlike a cheque where there is clearance waiting.
If you currently receive benefit payments by cheque and want to be paid direct to your account please download our form below.