Housing Benefit Payments

Most people of working age have to apply for Universal Credit housing costs if they need help with their rent. See our Universal Credit page for more information.

If you qualify for Housing Benefit

Housing Benefit payments are made either to the claimant or to the landlord.

  • Payments to council tenant rent accounts follow a weekly cycle
  • Payments to claimants who are private tenants follow a two-weekly cycle
  • Payments to landlords follow a four-weekly cycle

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Payment Status / Delays

There are currently no delays to payments.

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Payment direct to your bank (BACS)

Payments to your bank account are processed every Monday and Thursday. The BACS system takes 3 working days so:

  • payments processed on Monday show in your account on Wednesday
  • payments processed on Thursday show in your account on Monday (or Tuesday when Monday is a public holiday)

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Post Office card accounts

We cannot issue payments of Housing Benefit to a Post Office card account.

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Setting up payments to your bank account

If you want Housing Benefit paid to your bank account or have changed the bank account we are making payments to please complete our Payment Enquiry eform.

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Setting up a bank account

You can get information and advice on setting up a basic bank account from:

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Payment by cheque

We no longer issue payments of Housing Benefit by cheque.

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What to do if you are overdrawn

Banks and Building Societies are not allowed to use Housing Benefit or any other benefit paid by the Department for Work and Pensions to repay an overdraft.

You can protect your Housing Benefit payments by telling your bank they should only be used to pay your rent. This protection is called a 'first right of appropriation of funds order'.

You can use the first right of appropriation on benefit payments into your account to tell your bank how to use these payments. For example, you may want to make sure your Jobseeker's Allowance is used to pay your electricity bill and water rates.

How do I request a first right of appropriation of funds order?

You need to write to your bank or building society at least seven days before your benefit payment is due to be paid into your account, making it clear that any regular payments or future deposits from Haringey Council or the Department for Work and Pensions are to pay for your rent or living expenses.

Example of instruction to your bank or building society

On or around August 20, and every two weeks after, my Housing Benefit will be paid into my current account, number 0000000000.

I am exercising my first right of appropriation over these funds and wish you to pay the following items from it: £75 standing order payable to my landlord, Mr Landlord, on the 25th of the month.

Keep a copy of the letters you send in case of any later dispute. You may want to ask your bank or building society for written confirmation of your instructions.

If there are any items you no longer want to pay from your account, or which you cannot afford, you should give your bank separate cancellation instructions. This is because the first right of appropriation does not stop the bank or building society paying items as well as those you have listed. If you do not cancel these items your bank or building society may return the item as unpaid, which they may charge you for. Payments from your account to repay a loan with the same bank or building society cannot be cancelled.

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Page last updated:

9 November 2020