Who can claim housing benefit

If you’re on a low income and pay rent for the property you live in, you may be able to get Housing Benefit to help with your rent. You can claim Housing Benefit if you are:

  • pension age and a single person 
  • pension age and have a partner who is also of pension age
  • working age and live in Specified Accommodation or
  • working age and live in Temporary Accommodation

"Specified Accommodation" includes:

  • Accommodation -

         (a) which is provided by a housing association, a registered charity or a voluntary organization; and

         (b) into which you have been admitted to meet a need for care, support or supervision; and

         (c) where you receive care, support or supervision.

  • Domestic violence refuges and
  • Local authority hostels.

"Temporary Accommodation" includes accommodation provided by a local authority, or another provider of social housing in arrangements made with a local authority, in order to prevent a person being or becoming homeless.

If nothing in the above list applies to you, please apply for Universal Credit instead.

If something in the list does apply, please continue to the next section where you can claim Housing Benefit.

The information on this page is a brief and general guide to complex legislation. It should not be relied upon as a definitive guide to entitlement in a particular case.  The legislation governing entitlement to Housing Benefit is made by the Department for Work and Pensions.

Further information about the meaning in law of "Specified Accommodation" is available in Regulation 75H of the Housing Benefit Regulations 2006.

Further information about the meaning in law of "Temporary Accommodation" is available in Schedule 1 of the Universal Credit Regulations 2013.

Apply for housing benefit and how you're paid

In addition to completing the online claim form, you must provide evidence to support your claim.

Providing photographs or scans of documents when you complete your application will speed up the process. Information that cannot be clearly read will cause delays. If you do not provide all evidence within one month, we may decide that you are not entitled to benefit or a reduction.

You must complete one or more of these forms if you or your partner:

Start an application

Whilst completing your application, you can save the form and continue it later, using the reference number and password displayed when you click save. If you have provided an email address, these details will also be emailed to you.

For information about how data provided on claims is used, please see  Benefits Privacy Notice

Any entitlement to benefit will usually start from the first Monday after you submit your form. If any of the details you give us change, tell us immediately.
You can view and manage your benefits on your Camden Account

How you're paid

Council tenants

We will pay your housing benefit into your rent account (you will not receive the money).

Private tenants

We will usually pay your housing benefit into your bank or building society account. In some cases we may make payments direct to your landlord.

Send us your documents

If you do not have all your supporting documents right now, you can send them within 1 month of submitting the form.

Please provide at least two documents from the list below:

  • Passport (current and valid)    
  • EU identity card    
  • Recent bank or building society statement
  • Cheque book
  • Building society passbook
  • Council rent book
  • Council tax bill
  • Full driving licence (not provisional)    
  • Birth certificate    
  • Adoption certificate    
  • Prison discharge notification    
  • Home Office letter
  • UK Residence Permit    
  • Marriage certificate    
  • Divorce/annulment papers    
  • Paid gas, electricity, telephone bill for last quarter
  • Store charge card, credit card
  • Trade Union membership card
  • Medical card    
  • Life assurance or insurance policy document
  • Letter from your doctor, solicitor, social worker, probation officer, hostel manager, Certificate of employment in HM forces/Merchant Navy
  • Letters from DWP, HM Revenue and Customs.

Proof of who is living at the address

You will need to provide documentary evidence confirming residency for all the people you have declared living with you on this form. Valid evidence includes:

  • for you this could be a letter from your landlord confirming the date you moved in
  • for you, your partner or other adults who live with you, it could be a letter or bill from a bank, utility company or similar confirming the name and address of the person concerned
  • a letter from the Department for Work and Pensions or from HM Revenue and Customs
  • for dependent children it could be Child Benefit, a letter from a school or nursery or a medical card

Proof of private rent and tenancy

This may include your tenancy agreement, rent book or rent receipts. If you do not have any of these you will need to provide a letter from your landlord.

Paying benefit into your bank account

If you want your benefit paid into your bank account, please provide an original statement for this account, showing your name as the account holder, current address, sort code and account number.
If you have an internet bank account and want housing benefit to be paid into this account, please print a statement yourself for this account.
Please also provide two forms of proof that you are living at your address such as recently paid utility bills, council tax bill, medical card or letters from the Department for Work and Pensions or HM Revenue and Customs.

Proof of income

Earnings: this means your last five payslips if you are paid every week, your last three payslips if you are paid every two weeks, or your last two payslips if you are paid monthly and includes cash payments received in the form of tips. If you or your partner are self-employed you will need to complete a separate self-employed form. We will send this to you.
Other unearned income: such as pension advice slips from a former employer, a maintenance order or income received from an annuity. We will also need to see proof of any money you receive from boarders, lodgers or sub tenants.
Benefits, allowances, tax credits or pensions: such as a current award notice or letter from the Department for Work and Pensions or HM Revenue and Customs confirming how much you get.
Proof of money paid out: such as a student loan or grant assessment, or payments to a registered childminder.

Proof of savings, capital and investments

We need to see evidence for all savings, capital and investments that you or your partner have:

  • your latest full bank statement
  • building society or post office books
  • National Savings Certificates, ISAs, stocks, shares and unit trusts
  • if you have an online bank account, a printed statement will be acceptable

The evidence that you send must show details for at least the last two months. Although we need to know the value of any Premium Bonds, cash or capital bonds that you may have you do not need to send proof of these.

Email your documents:
You can email your documents to benefits@camden.gov.uk
Please put your claim reference number at the start of the subject heading in your email. 

Post your documents:

Benefits Service, 
Camden Council,

PO Box 784
RH1 9JA. 

Private tenants

If you rent privately, your housing benefit will be based on the number of bedrooms your household needs. This is called local housing allowance.

How much you get is based on:


If you’ve been receiving housing benefit since before 7 April 2008, the local housing allowance bedroom limit will only apply if you:

  • change address or 
  • have a break in your claim for Housing Benefit

Overnight care

If you, your partner or one of your children require an overnight carer, your local housing allowance will include an additional bedroom for that carer.

Contact us to tell us if you, your partner or a child has an overnight carer.

If you’re away from home temporarily

If you’re  going to be away from your home for more than 4 weeks, you should contact us before you go. You must intend to return to the property and you must not charge somebody else rent for living in your accommodation whilst you are away.

If you leave Great Britain for more than 4 weeks you will not be entitled to housing benefit while you are absent, there are some exceptions where the four-week period can be extended. If you plan on going abroad please contact us.  

If you remain within Great Britain you may still be entitled to housing benefit for up to 13 weeks.

There are some exceptions:

If you go into hospital in Great Britain we can pay your benefit for up to 52 weeks if you’re expected to return home within that time. If you are in hospital outside of Great Britain housing benefit can be paid for up to 26 weeks if you’re expected to return home within that time. 

If you’re in prison on remand you can still receive benefit for up to 52 weeks. If you are sentenced and committed to prison during this time, your housing benefit will stop unless your sentence is for 13 weeks or less.

Fleeing domestic violence
It is possible for housing benefit to be paid for up to 52 weeks if you have had to leave your home because of domestic violence. If you are in a refuge you can ask one of the workers to contact us, even if the refuge is not in Camden. We will not tell your refuge address to anyone.