How much housing benefit will I get?

The way we work out your housing benefit is different depending on whether you rent from a private landlord or from the council or housing association.

You can use the benefits calculator (Kent County Council website) to get an idea of how much housing benefit you may get.

If you rent from a private landlord

New claims and change of address

If you rent from a private landlord and are putting in a new claim or are moving home, the maximum amount of housing benefit you can get depends on the Local Housing Allowance rate relevant to you. This is based on where you live and the number of bedrooms you need.

The Local Housing Allowance rate is the maximum amount of housing benefit you can get. The amount of housing benefit you actually get may be less than this depending on your income and savings, your personal circumstances and if you have other adults living in your home.

Your housing benefit may also be reduced if the amount of benefit you get is over the benefit cap.

Claims made before 7 April 2008

If you rent from a private landlord, claimed before 7 April 2008 and haven’t moved home since, the Valuation Office Agency decides your maximum housing benefit. This means that a Rent Officer will look at all the details of your home including the number of rooms, the size, rent charged and the general levels of rents in the area to decide your maximum housing benefit.

The amount set by the Rent Officer is the maximum amount of housing benefit you can get. The amount of housing benefit you actually get may be less than this depending on your income and savings, your personal circumstances and if you have other adults living in your home.

Your housing benefit may also be reduced if the amount of benefit you get is over the benefit cap.

If you rent from the council or a housing association

If you are of pension age

If you are of pension age and rent your home from the council or a housing association, your maximum housing benefit will usually be the same as the rent you are charged. The amount of housing benefit you actually get may be less than this depending on your income and savings, your personal circumstances and if you have other adults living in your home.

You may also get less if you have any services included in your rent for which we are not allowed to pay housing benefit, such as heating and hot water.

Find out if you are of pension age using the pension age calculator (GOV.UK website).

If you are of working age

If you are of working age and rent your home from the council or a housing association, your maximum housing benefit will be the same as your rent, unless you have more bedrooms than the government says you need for the size of your household.

The amount of housing benefit you actually get may be less than this depending on your income and savings, your personal circumstances and if you have other adults living in your home.

You may also get less if you have any services included in your rent for which we are not allowed to pay housing benefit, such as heating and hot water, or if the amount of benefit you get is over the benefit cap.

The benefit rules allow one bedroom for:

  • a couple
  • a person over 16
  • two children of the same sex aged under 16
  • two children of any sex who are younger than 10
  • any other single child under 16.

You may also be allowed an extra bedroom if:

  • you or your partner need overnight care from someone who doesn't normally live with you
  • you are an approved foster carer and either have a foster child or children living with you or you are waiting for a child/children to be placed with you
  • your children are unable to share a bedroom because of severe disabilities – we will look at your individual circumstances if this applies to you.

If you have an adult child or children who are away from home serving as a member of the armed forces, a bedroom will continue to be allowed for them as long as they intend to return to your home.

If you have more bedrooms than the government says you need, your housing benefit will be reduced by:

  • 14% if you have one extra bedroom, or
  • 25% if you have two or more extra bedrooms

More information is available on the changes to benefits pages.

How your income, savings and your personal circumstances affects the amount of housing benefit you get

Your income and personal circumstances

We use amounts set each year by the government called personal allowances and premiums to work out how much you need to live on. Personal allowances and premiums depend on your age, the people in your household including their ages and whether they have a disability, how many dependent children you have and whether anyone needs a carer.

We add up the personal allowance and premiums relevant to you and this is called your applicable amount. If your income is greater than your applicable amount, the difference between these two amounts is called 'excess income'. The housing benefit rules say that you must pay 65 percent of this 'excess income' towards your rent.

Other adults living in your home may also affect the amount of housing benefit you get.

Your savings

We will look at any savings you (and your partner if you have one) may have. If you have £6,000 or less we will ignore them.

If you have more than £6,000 but not more than £16,000 we will take into account £1 per week for every £250 over £6,000.

If you have reached the qualifying age for Pension Credit, we will ignore the first £10,000 and take into account £1 per week for every £500 over £10,000.

If you have savings of more than £16,000, you won’t normally be able to get any housing benefit (unless you receive the guarantee credit element of Pension Credit).

Use the benefits calculator (KCC website) to get an idea of how much housing benefit you may get.

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