My Advice Gateway

My Advice Gateway is a free resource to help you quickly find the information you need to claim benefits, access help and support or look for a job or training opportunities. Other services include sections on banking, insurance and how to manage debt.

There is so much information available on the internet that it can often be a tedious and time consuming activity to search through the mass of advice that is available in order to find the information you need. Even government websites that have been set up to provide help can be difficult to find your way around.

My Advice Gateway has been built to help you find the information you need quickly and effectively. Links will take you to authoritative advice or the precise application form you need.

We hope you will find My Advice Gateway useful. If you do, why not tell your friends. . .


LHS provides a complete range of web-based housing option services to more than 60 local authorities and hundreds of housing associations across the UK.


My Advice Gateway constantly checks its links to other information sources to ensure they work properly.

However, if you do find a link that does not connect, please let us know so that we can fix it quickly.

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In order to be eligible for Housing Benefit, you must live in the UK, be on a low income and pay rent. You cannot receive the benefit if you have a mortgage or a home loan.

The benefit can be paid if the landlord is the council, a housing association or a private landlord. You can share a house or a flat and claim as a joint tenant or as a sub-tenant. You can also claim if you rent a room in a hostel or are a boarder.

If you are renting from a private landlord, your Housing Benefit is not worked out from the amount of rent you pay. Instead, a formula is used to work out the average rental rates in your area for different types of property. You will then be paid the Local Housing Allowance (LHA) Rate that applies to you.

LHA rates will be up-rated annually, using whichever is lower of the CPI inflation rate or the actual increase in rents used to up-rate LHA in the Private Rented Sector.  This replaced the previous method of monthly up-rating based on local rents.

Find out details of what you can claim, eligibility and how to claim at this link.

However, Housing Benefit is paid by your local authority – and most councils have their own specific form that you must fill in. To get the appropriate form in the relevant council to you, put your address or post code into the box you will find at this link.

You can check your LHA rates on your local council's website or by visiting the Local Housing Allowance Direct website.

An overview of the broad criteria for eligibility for Housing Benefit is available from citizensadvice.

Your Housing Benefit may be cut if your home is considered too large for you.

This is also known as the 'bedroom tax', the ‘under-occupancy charge’, the ‘social sector size criteria’ and the ‘removal of the spare room subsidy’.

if you live in social housing and you have one or more spare bedrooms the rent used to work out your Housing Benefit (including any eligible service charges) will be cut by:

  • 14% if you have one spare bedroom
  • 25% if you have two or more spare bedrooms.

This means your Housing Benefit will be reduced. Some people may lose all of their Housing Benefit, particularly if they were only getting a small amount to start with.

Special rules may apply if you are a foster carer, have an adult child in the Armed Forces living at home or have a disabled child unable to share a room with another child.

Full details of the Housing Benefit restrictions for Social Housing Tenants is available from citizensadvice.

To find out how many bedrooms you are entitled to under LHA and to find out what your LHA rate is follow this link.

For an up to date Fact Sheet on Bedroom Tax legislation follow this link.

Discretionary Housing Payment (DHP)

A claim for a Discretionary Housing Payment is different to a claim for Housing Benefit.

If you are already receiving Housing Benefit you may be able to get additional help from the council if you are struggling to pay your rent.

Full details of DHP, eligibility and how to claim are available at MAG - Discretionary Housing Payment.

Benefit Cap

Housing Benefit counts towards the Benefit Cap. If you’re affected, your Housing Benefit will go down to make sure that the total amount of benefit you get isn’t more than the cap level.

For details on the Benefits Cap follow this link.

Universal Credit

From April 2013 a new benefit, Universal Credit (UC), has started to replace many existing benefits and tax credits.

Universal Credit is currently being rolled out to certain areas across the UK.

If you’re claiming Universal Credit, you can get help paying for housing with your Universal Credit payment INSTEAD of getting Housing Benefit.

You’ll have to pay rent to your landlord directly if you get Universal Credit.

From 1 April 2017, single, unemployed 18-21 year olds making new Universal Credit claims will not be entitled to help with housing costs unless they fall into one of the exempt groups. These include:

  • those with dependent children
  • care leavers
  • those in temporary accommodation
  • people unable to live with their parents
  • young people who have been working for the previous 6 months.

For a full explanation of Universal Credit follow this link.

At some date in the future, housing benefit will be rolled into pension credit for people reaching state pension age, this is currently due to start in 2017. Full details will be updated as and when they are available.