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Housing Benefit

Housing Benefit helps pay all or part of your rent if you are on a low income.

Universal Credit

Instead of claiming Income Support, Income related Jobseekers Allowance, Income related Employment and Support Allowance, Housing Benefit, Working Tax Credit, or Child Tax Credit you may need to claim Universal Credit if you are of working age. From 15 May 2019, if you are part of a mixed age couple (where one member is working age and one is of pension age) and want help towards your housing costs, you will need to claim Universal Credit. For more information on mixed age couples please see our guidance for mixed age couples (opens new window).

Help with your housing costs will be included with your Universal Credit payment, so you do not need to apply for Housing Benefit from us.

You can only apply for Housing Benefit, however, if you:

  • move into exempt supported accommodation, where you are receiving more than minimal care, support or supervision provided by or on behalf of your landlord and your landlord is one of the following:
    - a housing association
    - a charity 
    - a non-profit making voluntary organisation
    - a council which doesn't administer housing benefit
  • are living in a refuge
  • are living in a hostel provided by the council
  • are placed in temporary accommodation by the council because you have become homeless

If you are already claiming Housing Benefit within the Gateshead borough, a new claim is not required if you have changed address.  You can continue to receive your housing costs via Housing Benefit by Reporting a change in circumstance

Work out how much Housing Benefit and/or Council Tax Support you could get, and apply.

You can apply for Housing Benefit if you are 16 or over and pay rent, whether you are working, self-employed, unemployed or retired, as long as you are not claiming, or eligible to claim, help towards your housing costs through Universal Credit.

You can help us to process your application more quickly by providing all proof and information required. It takes around 27 days to process a new Housing Benefit claim.

Apply for Housing Benefit and / or Council Tax Support

How to get help with your Council Tax

Universal Credit does not replace Council Tax Support. You would still need to apply to us for help towards Council Tax. Visit Council Tax Support for more information.

Housing Benefit

There's no set amount of Housing Benefit. How much you get depends on:

  • how much rent you pay 
  • your household income and circumstances (including your partner's and any other adults living with you)
  • your savings and investments (if you have savings over £16,000 you will not normally get benefit, unless you have Guarantee Pension Credit)
  • if someone does not live with you but stays overnight to care for you, you may get more benefit

You will be automatically entitled if you are claiming income support, income based jobseekers allowance, Income related employment and support allowance or Guarantee Pension Credit. 

Local Housing Allowance rates

If you rent privately, how much you get is based on the Local Housing Allowance rules. The amount you get is based on the number of bedrooms the government says your household requires. One bedroom is allowed for:

  • An adult couple
  • Any other adult (aged 16 and over)
  • Any two children of the same sex up to 15 years
  • Any two children aged under 10, regardless of what sex they are
  • Any other child

Any single claimant under 35 is only entitled to the shared accommodation rate.

One or more additional bedrooms can be allowed for a foster parent, overnight carer, and/or a disabled person who can't share a bedroom.

This does not apply if you are a tenant of Gateshead Council or a housing association.

Local housing allowance rates
Shared accommodation rate£70.19 per week
One bedroom rate£97.81 per week
Two bedroom rate£109.32 per week
Three bedroom rate£126.58 per week
Four bedroom rate£182.96 per week

If you are of working age and you live in council accommodation or other social housing and are assessed as having at least 1 extra bedroom in your house, your Housing Benefit could be reduced by:

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

Additionally, if you are of working age and receive money from benefits above a certain level, your housing benefit may be reduced so you do not receive benefit above a maximum cap.

If you live with other people including grown-up children, friends and relatives, your benefit may be reduced. These reductions are increasing, so anyone already getting help with their rent and Council Tax could receive less each year.

How benefit can be reduced

How benefit is paid

Housing Benefit is normally paid from the Monday after your claim. Benefit can be backdated to an earlier date but only if you can show continuous good cause for not applying sooner.

Request for backdating benefit (PDF) [82KB] (opens new window)  

If you are a council tenant, we pay Housing Benefit straight into your rent account. If you're not a council tenant, your Housing Benefit will be paid to you by cheque or by Direct Payment into your bank or building society account.

Change of circumstance

You must tell us about any changes at all that could affect your benefit, for example changes to your income, household or savings.

What you need to tell us if things change 

Changes affecting couples where only one member of a couple is pension age

Once you or your partner reach State Pension age you are no longer able to claim Housing Benefit unless certain exceptions apply (please see below). You will continue to receive Local Council Tax Support and need to tell the council about any changes in your income. 

You will also not be able to claim Pension Credit until both of you reach pension age. Check your state pension age (opens new window)

You would need to claim Universal Credit if you think that you will still need help with your housing costs once you or your partner start to receive any state or other pension you are entitled to. See Claiming Universal Credit for more information. 

It is possible you will receive less under Universal Credit than you thought you would get if you were able to claim Pension Credit and Housing Benefit.

If you are single and below pension age and you move in with a person of pension age, their pension age benefits will stop and you both may need to claim Universal Credit. 

If a pension age person moves in with you, your Housing Benefit may stop and you may need to claim help towards your housing costs through Universal Credit. This does not apply if you are receiving one of the benefits in the paragraph below.  

If the younger member of the couple is receiving Income Support, Jobseekers Allowance (Income based) or Employment and Support Allowance (Income related), you will continue to claim these benefits and Housing Benefit until the younger member of the couple reaches state pension age or has a change of circumstance so these benefits end. 

If you live in supported accommodation or temporary accommodation this also does not apply to you, although you would need to apply for Universal Credit if you move out of this type of accommodation. 

If you need advice about how these changes might affect your income, are unsure what you can claim, are concerned about debt, or need guidance on other benefits, please see our section on support and advice


If we have overpaid benefit to you, we will send you a letter telling you how much and what you can do if you disagree.

Make a payment now

Contact us

Benefit Enquiries
Civic Centre
Regent Street

0191 433 4646