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Claiming Housing Benefit

Universal Credit

If you are of working age, you will need to claim Universal Credit for your housing costs. We are unable to accept a new claim for Housing Benefit, unless you fall into one of the exceptions below. However, if you are responsible for Council Tax and you would like to claim Council Tax Reduction, you need to do this through Ashford Borough Council – claim Council Tax Reduction.

You can still claim Housing Benefit for Specified (Supported and Exempt) Accommodation and Temporary Accommodation or you are pensionable age. 

Housing Benefit is means-tested and you can make a claim if you meet any of the following criteria:

  • You pay rent to Ashford Borough Council;
  • You pay rent to a private landlord;
  • You pay rent to a housing association;
  • You are a boarder whose rent includes meals;
  • You live in a hostel;
  • You live in a mobile home or houseboat;
  • You pay a mortgage and rent for your home under a shared ownership arrangement. Please note, housing benefit can only be calculated in respect of the rent you pay;
  • If you are a joint tenant with one or more others we can help pay your share of the rent.

How do I claim housing benefit?

You can apply for housing benefit by submitting an online claim form. You can also estimate your entitlement to housing benefit using our online calculator.

When will I not be entitled to claim housing benefit?

You will not be entitled to any housing benefit if you meet any of the following criteria:

  • You are not responsible for paying the rent. However, in certain specific circumstances, you can be treated as the person who is responsible for paying the rent, even if your name is not on the tenancy agreement;
  • Either you, or your partner, or both of you together, have more than £16,000 in savings (unless you get pension credit guarantee credit);
  • You pay rent to a close relative, who lives in the same property as you;
  • You live in a care home, such as a nursing home;
  • You rent from your ex-partner and you both used to live there;
  • You are the parent or guardian of your landlord's child;
  • You live in the home as part of your job;
  • You are an asylum seeker, unless you've been given refugee status or indefinite or exceptional leave (also called discretionary or humanitarian leave) to remain in the United Kingdom;
  • You have been admitted to the United Kingdom on the condition that you have no recourse to public funds. Housing benefit is a public fund, so you may not claim it if this condition was applied to you;
  • You are a sponsored immigrant and have lived here for less than five years;
  • You are in the United Kingdom illegally or your permission to stay has run out. Find out if this applies to you;
  • You are an EEA national who has not been resident since 31 December 2020;
    • If you have been resident since then, you will need to be registered on the EUSS to qualify for Housing Benefit;
  • You are in receipt of Universal Credit. In certain circumstances, where housing costs are not included in Universal Credit, you may still be entitled to housing benefit.

Are there any other circumstances that might affect my eligibility to housing benefit?

You may not get housing benefit if you fall into any of the following criteria:

  • You used to live with your landlord as a family member, relative or friend, and now pay that person rent;
  • You live in a property run by a religious order and you are a member of that religious order;
  • You rent from a trust and you are also a trustee or beneficiary;
  • You rent the property from a company and you are a director or employee of the company;
  • You used to own the property which you now rent;
  • You are a student (most full-time students don't qualify, but some do);
  • You are temporarily living away from your usual home.