Housing Benefit

Full digital roll-out of Universal Credit in Tower Hamlets

Full Universal Credit is currently being rolled out in the E1, E3 and E14 postcodes. It replaces a number of welfare benefits and tax credits including:

  • Housing Benefit
  • ESA
  • JSA
  • Income support
  • Working Tax Credit
  • Child Tax Credit.

These are known as legacy benefits and residents in the postcodes above who need to make a new claim for any of the legacy benefits including Housing Benefit will need to claim Universal Credit instead.

This being the case if you live in the postcodes listed above and need to make a new claim Housing Benefit it is likely that you will need to claim Universal Credit instead. 

We therefore advise you to contact either DWP on 0345 600 4272 or the council’s Benefit Service on 020 7364 5001 for advice on which benefit you should claim. 

Housing Benefit

Housing benefit is a social security benefit that can help people on low incomes with their rent. The amount of housing benefit awarded varies according to the income, savings, rent and personal circumstances of the claimant and anyone else living in his/her household.

Although the scheme is administered by local councils, the rules used to work out entitlement are decided by central government. Tower Hamlets benefits service has no discretion to make changes to those rules.

Absence from home

You may still be entitled to Housing Benefit if you are away from home for a temporary period. However, if you are going abroad, Housing Benefit can only normally be awarded for absences not exceeding four weeks. If you have any queries please contact us.

Useful Housing Benefit information

  • Find out more about changes to housing benefit from April 2013
  • Find out more on the changes to benefits for claimants living with other adults and renting privately (Local Housing Allowance).
  • For more information read the changes to Housing Benefit from April 2012
  • For more information read the changes to Working Tax Credit from April 2012 
  • You can read more on the changes to housing benefit for 25 to 34 year olds living alone in private accommodation. 

How to claim

To make a new claim for housing benefit you need to complete a Tower Hamlets full claim form. The claim form must include full details of the claimant’s family, household composition, income and savings. You need to supply original evidence to support this.

After a claim has been made and an award started it is not normally necessary to complete another full form unless there is a break in your entitlement.  

Apply online

The quickest way to make a claim is to use our online form. You only need to answer questions relevant to your circumstances.

To request a paper form

Call 020 7364 5001 or email the Benefits Service. If the claim form is completed and returned within one calendar month of the date it was requested then the date it was requested will be treated as the claim date.

Alternatively visit one of the council's One Stop Shops. If the form is completed and returned within one calendar month of being handed out then the date it was requested will be treated as the date of claim.

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Claiming through the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP)

If you make a claim for one of the following benefits you can claim housing benefit at the same time through the Department for Work and Pensions:

  • Income Support
  • Employment and Support Allowance
  • Jobseeker's Allowance
  • Pension Credit

By claiming at the same time you may not have to provide the same information to different offices and can avoid completing a Tower Hamlets claim form.

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Who can claim?

Generally only people who are liable to pay rent or their partner can claim housing benefit. They must be occupying the property at which they are claiming as their home.

Where someone is unable to act for themselves and has an appointee the appointee can make the claim instead.

Some examples of people who can claim housing benefit are:

  • council tenants and tenants of Poplar HARCA, Tower Hamlets Community Housing and East End Homes
  • housing association tenants (also called registered social landlord tenants)
  • people living in hostels and other types of supported accommodation (but not where the cost of the accommodation is covered by Tower Hamlets Social Services or the Department for Work and Pensions)
  • tenants living in privately-rent accommodation (for example, accommodation let through an estate agent)

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The benefit rules exclude some people from entitlement to housing benefit, even when they have a low income and are liable for rent. If you are excluded we will write to you and tell you why.

Information and evidence needed

Because housing benefit is a means tested benefit, Tower Hamlets Benefits Service needs to know about all your income and savings, the income and savings of your partner and in some cases the income and savings of other people who live in your household. Examples of the information and evidence needed are provided on the claim form.

We can get evidence of some benefits directly from the Department for Work and Pensions - and you will not have to provide this yourself unless there is a problem.  In addition, anyone already getting Income Support, Employment and Support Allowance, Jobseeker's Allowance or Pension Guarantee Credit will not have to provide evidence of any other income and savings they have.

We need evidence of your income, savings and rent in order to deal with your claim correctly and promptly. You should aim to provide the evidence within a few days of making your claim whenever possible. 

The easiest way to provide the evidence is to take your original documents to your nearest One Stop Shop where they can be photocopied and verified by council officers. We cannot accept photocopies of original documents taken by claimants or anyone who is not authorised to do so.

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Further information

For more information visit the Department for work and pensions website.

How to contact us

Tower Hamlets operates a centralised benefit claims processing service and a dedicated benefits call centre both based at the Town Hall where all postal, email and telephone enquiries should be directed. Home visits can be arranged if you are housebound and do not have anyone who can help you.


Benefits Service
London Borough of Tower Hamlets
Mulberry Place
5 Clove Crescent
London E14 2BG

Telephone: 020 7364 5001   
Fax: 020 7364 7048

Email: benefits@towerhamlets.gov.uk

Personal callers should visit their nearest One Stop Shop to hand in claim forms, obtain receipts and have original evidence photocopied.

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