A Means tested benefit to assist those unable to afford all or part of their rent.
Many Letting bodies specialise in renting to this category, known as Social Housing: Councils and Housing Association.
Others refuse to accept such tenants due to the high proportion of associated problems.
This subject is a self contained topic with ever changing rules.
Change in material circumstances must be reported to The Benefits Agency.
Couples separating when in receipt of HB must declare such material change in circumstances.
Death of a HB recipient spout likewise.
A tenant who is sentenced to a term of imprisoned for longer than 13 weeks is not entitled to HB during the sentence – i.e. he is unlikely to have a home to return to when released from prison often precipitating homelessness.
Even if it is merely likely the prison sentence will exceed 13 weeks (one quarter) no HB is payable.
However if the prisoner is on remand HB is payable for up to 52 weeks.
A family in receipt of HB whose spout or child is imprisoned can affect entitlement or amount of HB
Even if otherwise entitled to HB if you do not intend to return home upon release you will not be entitled.
If the landlord will rent to others during your sentence you will not be entitled to HB whilst you are in prison.
Ironically there are situations where dual payments are allowed: e.g. when moving home up to 4 weeks dual payment may be allowed to secure the new property whilst still obligated to pay current rent. Alternatively a disabled tenant requiring adaptations may be allowed up to 4 weeks for this whilst remaining in previous home.
Battered or abused tenant spouses or anyone fearing violence from family or from say neighbours may, be allowed up to 52 weeks housing benefit on the main home – only if they intend to return to their old home similar to prisoners on remand, who leave their home for temporary accommodation.
Large families may be entitled to more than one home with dual benefits.
For specific relevant matters consult the Benefits Agency.