Housing Benefit

From Simple English Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Housing Benefit is a means tested social security benefit in the United Kingdom that is intended to help with the costs of rent.

Rent rebates, as they were called, started in the 1930s when council houses were built to clear slums. The rents were often to high for the poor people who had lived in the slums. Local councils made their own arrangements. The first national system started in 1972. It covered rates as well as rent. For people in private housing it was called rent allowance. People who got Supplementary Benefit had all their rent paid. People who had more money than that still got some help. By 1983 about 30% of the population were getting Housing Benefit. After 1986 it was lined up with the rules for Income Support. [1]

The cost of housing for low-income households has risen a lot. The cost of Housing Benefit rose from 0.2% of GDP in 1980-81 to 1.0% in 2012-13. [2] In 2015 £9.3 billion was paid to private landlords.[3]

From 2019 housing benefit was moved into Universal Credit except for people above State Pension age and people living in supported, sheltered or temporary housing.[4]

in 2022 2 million private renting households, 38% of the total, were getting help with rent from either Universal Credit or Housing Benefit.[5]

Local Housing Allowance[change | change source]

Private tenants can only claim for a rent up the level of the Local Housing Allowance where they live. This is based on private market rents being paid by tenants in a Broad Rental Market Area. Local Housing Allowance started in 2008.[6] There are rules about number of bedrooms a household can claim for. They do not apply to pensioners. [7]

From April 2011 claimants could only claim a rent based on the 30th percentile of rent in their area. Single people under 35 could only claim for the cost of a shared room. care leavers aged under 22, some people who have a disability and over 25s who have spent at least three months living in hostel accommodation, can sometimes claim for a self-contained one bedroom flat . The maximum payable under LHA was also set to £400 per week, or £20,800 per annum.[8] The Local Housing Allowance was fixed in April 2020 but not changed since then as rents increased. In February 2023 in Wales out of 2,638 private properties advertised for rent only 32 had rent under the allowance. [9]

In 2023 the Chancellor announced that the Local Housing Allowance would be re-pegged to the 30th percentile of local rents in April 2024, but it would then be frozen again.[10]

Housing benefit is also limited by the benefit cap, which has not been increased..

References[change | change source]

  1. Ogus, A; Barendt, E M (1988). The Law of Social Security (3 ed.). London: Butterworths. p. 3. ISBN 0406063370.
  2. "Social Insecurity". The Inquiry. Retrieved 2023-03-10.
  3. "Private landlords double housing benefit haul to £9.3bn". BBC News. 2016-08-19. Retrieved 2023-12-12.
  4. "Housing Benefit". GOV.UK. Retrieved 2023-02-03.
  5. "Freezes in housing support widen geographic disparities for low-income renters". Institute for Fiscal Studies. Retrieved 2023-02-03.
  6. "Understanding Local Housing Allowances rates and broad rental market areas". GOV.UK. 2023-11-13. Retrieved 2023-12-12.
  7. "How to deal with the bedroom tax". Shelter England. Retrieved 2023-12-12.
  8. Helm, Toby (2017-03-05). "Benefit freeze leaves families facing steep rent rise or eviction, Shelter warns". The Observer. ISSN 0029-7712. Retrieved 2023-12-12.
  9. "Housing: Benefits not keeping up with rent rises - charity". BBC News. 2023-06-19. Retrieved 2023-12-12.
  10. "A temporary thaw • Resolution Foundation". 2023-12-09. Retrieved 2023-12-12.