help with housing benefit

Depending on your circumstances, you may have access to a number of forms of welfare support, including Durham Council housing benefit and universal credit.

We offer free and impartial help with housing benefits for anyone who may need it during their tenancy with us.

Our Money Matters Team are here to see how you can maximise your income through benefit applications and help you appeal any benefit decisions.

available housing benefits

There’s a limit on the total amount of benefit that most people aged 16 to 64 can get. This is called the benefit cap.

Read more about the benefit cap, and check your status with the DWP’s online calculator.

Council Tax Support (sometimes referred to Council Tax Reduction) is available to help people on a low income and/or certain welfare benefits.

It is the claimant’s local council that will decide whether someone is eligible or not to receive a reduction in their Council Tax.

Each council sets its own rules, and has the power to change these rules from each April.

Some English councils made changes to their Council Tax Support rules from April 2016 due to budget cuts.

Council Tax Discount Schemes are also available to people living in properties that have been adapted for the disablement needs of someone in the household, or if there is only one adult (18 or over) in the property (or the other adult is ‘severely mentally impaired’, a student, or a youth trainee or apprentice).

For further information contact Durham County Council.

Durham County Council has what is known as a ‘Discretionary Housing Payment’ (DHP) scheme, which offers help to tenants who need a little extra financial support.

The payments are solely to help with housing costs and not a form of benefit, and the council will decide if you qualify.

DHPs are only ever meant to be a short-term solution and are administered by the council, with funds granted from the DWP.

To qualify, you must already be in receipt of Housing Benefit or the housing element of Universal Credit.

Find out more information and how to apply.

Non-dependants are normally classed as anyone living with you aged 18 or over (21 if you are on Universal Credit). However, this does not include children, for whom you still receive Child Benefit.

The government makes the assumption that these adults will contribute towards your household costs, including rent and Council Tax.

A sum of money may therefore be deducted from your Housing Benefit or Universal Credit, and any Council Tax Support awards.

To check your status, contact Durham County Council.

A State Pension can be claimed when you reach a certain age, and you can check when you will qualify here.

Pension Credit is an income-related benefit made up of two parts – Guarantee Credit and Savings Credit.

Guarantee Credit is a benefit that people of Pension Credit Age can claim. It tops up your income to a minimum level and is more generous than working-age, means-tested benefits. Even if you are only entitled to a small amount, the good news is that you automatically qualify for maximum help with your rent too.

Savings Credit is for people aged 65 and over and provides extra money to those who have made some additional provision for their retirement (for example a private or works pension).

Changes from April 2016 mean that if you reach State Pension age on or after 6 April 2016 you will not be able to make a new claim for Savings Pension Credit.

You can find out more about Pension Credits and how to apply here.

Personal Independence Payment (PIP) is a benefit paid to help people with some of the extra costs caused by long-term ill-health or a disability.

Most people who are currently receiving Disability Living Allowance (except the under 16s and those who were aged 65 on 8th April 2013) are gradually being reassessed for PIPs instead.

To check your status and learn how to apply, visit

If you are currently in employment, you may be entitled to Working Tax Credits.

To see if you qualify for Working Tax Credits, visit

Sometimes referred to as the ‘bedroom tax’, under-occupation limits the amount of Housing Benefit or Universal Credit you can receive if the government deem you to have more bedrooms than they think you need.

Your housing benefit, or the help included in your Universal Credit, will be reduced by an amount equal to 14% of your rent if you are regarded as having one ‘extra’ bedroom; or by 25% of your rent if you have two or more ‘extra’ bedrooms.

But this does not affect everybody. You won’t need to pay any more rent for having ‘too many’ bedrooms if:

  • You (or you and your husband, wife or partner) are Pension Credit age or over and receive Housing Benefit.
  • You live in a ‘shared ownership’ property.
  • You are living in a certain type of ‘temporary accommodation’.
  • You live in a particular type of supported housing called ‘exempt accommodation’.
  • Your housing benefit has already been reduced due to a referral.

The rules allow one bedroom for:

  • Each adult or couple
  • Any single person aged 16 or over
  • Any two children under 10 regardless of sex
  • Any two children under 16 of the same sex.

Foster children and children who stay only part of the time are not taken into account; however this will depend on individual circumstances.

For more information and to confirm your status, contact Durham County Council.

If you have a query about under-occupation, feel free to contact our Money Matters Team by emailing or call 0300 1311 999. Or get in touch via our customer app or portal.

Universal credit is available to people who are:

  • In full-time or part-time work
  • Unemployed or sick
  • Disabled
  • Carers
  • Single
  • Part of a couple
  • Lone parents.

The minimum age of entitlement is usually 18, with 16 to 17 year olds only being able to claim in limited circumstances, such as being disabled, a carer, or being without parental support.

In order to qualify you will have to be present and habitually resident in Great Britain, and possess less than £16,000 in capital.

Run by Durham County Council, the Discretionary Housing Payment (DHP) scheme offers help to tenants who need a little extra financial support. These payments are solely for help with housing costs and are not a form of benefit. Durham County Council will decide if you qualify for DHP and the payments are designed to be a short-term solution.

You must already be receiving Housing Benefits or the housing element of Universal Credit to apply. Find out more information and how to apply here.


Speak to our Money Matters team today

If you’re looking for help with your housing benefits: please email or call 0300 1311 999, or self-refer for support through our customer app and portal.