State pension claimants can claim housing benefit – eligibility explained

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Housing benefit claims can be put through by people who have reached state pension age. Single people will be able to put through a new claim for housing benefit with few restrictions.

If a person is over the state pension age and is living with a partner, they’ll also be able to make a new claim for housing benefit if any of the following apply:

  • They and their partner have both reached State Pension age
  • one of them has reached State Pension age and started claiming Pension Credit (for themselves as a couple) before May 15 2019
  • one of them is getting the severe disability premium, or is entitled to it
  • one of them got or was entitled to the severe disability premium within the last month and is still eligible for it
  • they’re in supported, sheltered or temporary housing

If a person if over the state pension age and already has an existing claim for housing benefit, it will not be affected so long as they were receiving it and had reached state pension age before May 15 2019.

Having a partner under state pension age will also not matter under these circumstances.

If circumstances do change and the housing benefit payments are stopped, state pensioners will not be able to start getting it again unless they and their partner become eligible for new claims.

State pensioners will usually not be able to get housing benefit if they have savings over £16,000 (unless they’re on pension credit) or have a live-in partner that has not reached state pension age themselves (unless they claimed as a couple before May 15 2019).

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So long as a claimant is eligible, they may get help from the government for all of their rental costs.

There is no set limit on housing benefit and what a claimant gets will depend on whether they rent privately or from a council.

How much a person receives will depend on their “eligible” rent, if they have a spare room, the household’s income and personal circumstances.

Eligible rent is the amount used to calculate the payment and it is the claimants actual rent plus service charges such as lift maintenance or communal laundry.

If a person rents privately, the eligible rent amount is either the claimants local housing allowance rate or their actual rent, whichever is lower.

Local housing allowance rates are based on where the claimant lives and the household size.

This amount can vary for people who live in settings such as a houseboat or caravan sight and people in this circumstances will need to contact their local council.

Different types of tenancies will also affect how housing benefit is paid.

If a claimant is a council tenant, it will be paid into a designated rent account and the person involved will not receive the money directly.

Private or housing association tenants will have the money paid directly into a bank or building society account.

Single state pension claimants will not be affected by the benefit cap but couples where one of them is below state pension age may be.

If a claimant is unhappy with a housing benefit decision, they will be able to appeal to their local council.

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