This information is about Housing Benefit (HB) and Council Tax Support (CTS).

Benefits calculator

Use the Benefits calculator (GOV.UK) to check whether you are entitled to benefits and how much you might get.

Who can claim?

To claim CTS you must be:

  • normally resident in the accommodation for which you are making a claim and
  • liable for council tax.

To claim HB you must be:

  • normally resident in the accommodation for which you are making a claim and
  • liable for rent or council tax or both.
  • not eligible for Universal Credit housing cost element. Please read the information below for information about this.

Universal Credit

Working age people making a new claim for help to pay their rent, must claim Universal Credit (UC).

UC exempt residents

The following people are not eligible to claim Universal Credit housing cost element to help them pay their rent and therefore, can claim HB.

  • Pension age
  • Living in specified exempt accommodation (including temporary accommodation provided by London Borough of Merton). If you are not sure if you live in specified exempt accommodation, please ask your landlord to confirm.
  • Living in Supported Accommodation.

If you fall into one of these categories, you should continue to the sections below.

Restrictions on who can get HB or CTS

There are some circumstances where a person will automatically not be able to get HB or CTS because of their circumstances. If any of the following apply you will not get HB or CTS:

Savings over £16,000

If you have more than £16,000 you will not get HB or CTS. See Savings and capital for more details. If you are claiming as a couple we will add both your savings and capital and your partner's.

Living with a close relative

If you live with a close relative that you pay rent to, you will not be able to get HB. By close relative we mean:

  • a parent; step parent or parent in law;or
  • brother or sister (but not step brothers or sisters) or
  • son, son-in-law, daughter, daughter-in-law, step-son, step-daughter or
  • the partner of any of the above people.

Relationship to a landlord

If a person is responsible for the child of their landlord they cannot get HB.

There are other circumstances where a person may not get HB. For further information about who can get HB please contact us

How much Housing Benefit can I get?

If you are eligible to claim HB, you can get up to 100% of your rent and council tax paid, however the actual amount depends on the amount of rent or council tax you are charged, your income and savings and the other people who live with you.

Benefits adviser (GOV.UK website): find out whether you are entitled to benefits and how much you might get.

The amount of rent we use to calculate entitlement is not necessarily the amount of rent you are charged. The Rent Service set the rates we use. See our Local Housing Allowance (LHA) page for more information. There may also be deductions for non-dependent adults who live with you.

If bills are included in your rent these will be deducted from the calculation as HB does not cover these costs, unless they are for communal or shared areas. 

Claiming and working

You and your partner, if you have one, can claim and still work, both full and part time. 

Extra help when you start work

If you have been unemployed long term and are starting work, you can get an extended payment of four weeks Housing Benefit and Council Tax Support. We will work out if you are entitled to this extended HB payment if your claim for HB ends.

Claiming other welfare benefits or tax credits

If you are claiming income support , income based Jobseekers Allowance or Guarantee Pension Credit, you can get maximum housing and council tax benefit.

Certain benefits for disabled people are fully disregarded. These include:

  • attendance allowance
  • disability living allowance care and mobility components and

Other benefits, allowances and tax credits are taken into account in full.

Paying for childcare

If you are claiming as a couple or lone parent and paying for childcare you may be able to get a child care earned income disregard. We will ask you about this if you are eligible to claim HB.

Contact us

Contact us about benefits