Orkney Islands Council
Working together for a better Orkney

Housing Benefit

If you’re on a low income, you may be entitled to a reduction in the amount that you pay in rent. This is called Housing Benefit, and you can apply if you rent property from the Council, Orkney Housing Association or a private landlord.

How Much Benefit Can I Receive?

The amount of any benefit you receive will depend on factors such as your income and savings, your age, the size of your household, whether any household members are disabled and the amount of rent that you pay.

If you receive Income Support, Income Based Jobseekers Allowance, or the guarantee element of Pension Credit, you may be eligible for the maximum amount of housing benefit.  If you don’t receive any of these benefits, but have low earnings, you might still qualify for some housing benefit. But usually, your savings must be less than £16,000.

If you are married, or live together as husband and wife, you will be assessed on your joint income.

You can get an estimate of the benefits, tax credits or pension that may be available by visiting the government's GOV.UK website from Related Sites on the left of this page.

Welfare Reforms under-occupancy

From April 2013 there are reductions in the amount of Housing Benefit that can be paid for working age people, renting from the Council or Orkney Housing Association Limited, who are assessed as having more bedrooms than necessary for their household.  They will be considered as under-occupying the property and the amount of Housing Benefit may be reduced by:

  • 14% for under-occupying by one bedroom.
  •  25% for under-occupying by 2 bedrooms or more.

You can access more information from Related Links on the left of this web page.

Welfare Reforms - Benefit Cap

From July 2013 there is a limit on the total amount of benefit that working age people can receive.  It will apply to the combined income from the main out-of-work benefits, plus Housing Benefit, Child Benefit and Child Tax Credit.  The amount of the Benefit Cap will be £500 per week for couples (with or without children) and lone parents; and £350 per week for single adults with no children. 

You can access more information from Related Links on the left of this web page.

Welfare Reforms - what to do if your benefits are reduced

If you find that you experience a reduction in Housing Benefit you may consider: taking up employment; increasing your hours; renting out a room to help you make up some of the shortfall between your rent and Housing Benefit; or if you require further financial assistance applying for a Discretionary Housing Payment.  If you do not make up the shortfall you may fall into rent arrears which could result in the risk of eviction. 

Welfare reforms - additional information

You can access more information from Related Links and Related Downloads on the left of this web page.

Customer Service Feedback

During 2011/2012 and 2013/2014 the Council undertook customer surveys to help provide feedback on the benefits service that was being provided. More information on the outcomes of these surveys can be accessed from the 'Related Downloads' section of this web page.

Related Links

Related Sites