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Helping paying your rent or Council Tax

If you are on a low income and you need help paying your rent, Housing Benefit or Universal Credit could help.

  • If you are of pension age you need to claim Housing Benefit
  • If you are of working age most people will need to claim Universal Credit – please visit the GOV.UK to check

Universal Credit is administered by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP). You need to claim Universal Credit online through GOV.UK.

If you are of pension age you need to claim Housing Benefit from us.

Claiming Housing Benefit

To work out if you are of pensionable age, please use the GOV.UK calculator.

If you or your partner have savings of over £16,000 you can’t normally claim Housing Benefit, unless you also receive Guaranteed Pension Credit. If you are renting from a private landlord your Housing Benefit will normally be worked out using the Local Housing Allowance appropriate to the size of your household. This might mean the amount of help you receive won’t cover your rent in full. To find out if you can get help towards your rent and other living costs, please use our Benefit Calculator.

If you need help with your Council Tax, you will need to claim Council Tax Support from us.

When to make a claim Toggle accordion

Housing Benefit normally only starts from the Monday following the date we receive your claim. This means you should make a claim as soon as your circumstances change and you face financial difficulty.

Don’t delay! If you cannot make a claim for any reason, please contact the Council. 

How to make a claim Toggle accordion

What happens next? Toggle accordion

We will write to you and let you know the outcome of your claim. We call this a decision notice. Please read your letter carefully to check everything is correct. If you don’t understand anything, the link below may help.

If you do not agree with the decision on your claim, you can ask us to explain, to look at it again or you can appeal against a benefits decision.

Already claiming Housing Benefit? It is important that you tell us about changes in your circumstances straight away as this may affect how much you can claim.

Independent help and advice

Citizens Advice St Albans can assist with general benefit enquiries. They can also advise you if you are not satisfied with the result of your claim, information can be found at or by phone on 03444 111 444.

Further information and advice can be found at GOV.UK

If you would like independent advice and help with managing debt, you can contact The Money Advice Unit. The Money Advice Unit is part of Hertfordshire County Council’s Health and Community Services.