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Housing Benefit Changes

Two child limit

If you already had a Housing Benefit claim before 6 April 2017 and you have another child on or after 6 April 2017, and that child is not currently being included in your Child Tax Credit assessment, then your Housing Benefit claim will not include an allowance for that child.

If you make a new Housing Benefit claim on or after  April 2017 and have more than two children, your Housing Benefit claim will only include an allowance for the additional children if HM Revenue and Customers (HMRC) are already including them on the child tax credit award.

For all cases where you have more than two children and you believe that we should be including them as part of your allowance, we will need to see your tax credit award letter.

Please note that even if we are not including a child as part of the allowance, we will still include them as part of your household when working out how many bedrooms you will require for housing benefit purposes.

This change doesn't affect you if you receive Income Support, Jobseekers Allowance or Employment and Support Allowance, in which case you automatically receive the maximum Housing Benefit allowable based on your eligible rent.

Housing Benefit Backdating

Housing Benefit backdating means that you may be able to get benefit for a period before you put in your claim, this is called backdating.

The rules on backdating changed in April 2016.  Previously, a claim could be backdated for up to six months.  Housing Benefit can now be backdated for:

- one month if you are of working age and

- three months if you are of pension age

For pensioners Housing Benefit should be backdated automatically.  If you are of working age then you need to ask for the claim to be backdated and you need to specify why the claim is being backdated.

When you apply for Housing Benefit you can request that your application in backdated.

Removal of Family Premium

From 1 May 2016, the Family Premium was abolished for new Housing Benefit claims.  For existing claims, where the Family Premium was already in payment, it will continue to be paid at a rate of £17.45 a week.  The Family Premium forms part of the applicable amount.  The applicable amount is a standard national figure which the Government believes reflects the basic living needs of an applicant and their family. 

The removal of the Family Premium does not impact those on passported benefits such as Jobseekers Allowance (income based), Income Support or Employment and Support Allowance (income based).