Who Can Get Housing Benefit?

You are eligible for Housing Benefit if:

You Pay Rent for Your Home

Housing Benefit is only available to people who rent their homes - this could be social housing or a room in a hostel. If you privately rent you will be awarded payments for your rent under the Local Housing Allowance rules

You can claim if you share a home with others under a joint tenancy. If you are a couple living together, only one of you can claim Housing Benefit. You must live in the home you are claiming Housing Benefit for. You are not able to claim Housing Benefit if you live with a close relative and are paying rent to them.

If you own your home and need help with your mortgage, see our Advice on Money Management page.

You Have the Right to Live in the UK

You are only able to claim Housing Benefit if you are a UK or Irish Republic national.

Since April 2014 if you are a European Economic Area (EEA) national, you can only claim Housing Benefit if:   

  • you are employed
  • you are self employed
  • you have 'retained worker status' (for example if you are an EEA national who has lost their job involuntarily through redundancy)

You Are on a Low Income

You can usually only claim Housing Benefit if you are on a low income. If you are not on other benefits then the amount of Housing Benefit you can get will depend on other factors such as, how much Council Tax you pay or how many people live with you.

You Are on Benefits

If you are on any of the benefits listed below you will be entitled to the maximum amount of Housing Benefit:

  • Income Based Jobseeker's Allowance  
  • Income Support  
  • Income Related Employment and Support Allowance
  • the Guarantee part of Pension Credit

You Are a Part Time Student

You may be able to get Housing Benefit if you are a part time student and renting privately.

Who Is Not Eligible for Housing Benefit?

You are not eligible for Housing Benefit if:

You Have Savings of £16,000 or More

If you have savings or capital of more than £16,000 you will not be eligible for Housing Benefit, unless you get the Guarantee Credit of Pension Credit.

You Are a Crown Tenant

If you rent your home from the Crown or a government department, you are not eligible for Housing Benefit unless your home is managed by the Crown Estates Commissioners. You may be eligible for other benefits, you can find out more at Citizens Advice, What Benefits Can I Get?

You Are 16 or 17and Have Been in Care

If you are 16 or 17 and you have been in care, then your local council has a duty to provide accommodation for you. Under 18s don't usually qualify for benefits (unless you are a single parent or are unable to work because of a disability).

If you are under 18, contact Citizens Advice to find out what help is available to you.

You Pay Rent to a Close Relative

You are not eligible for Housing Benefit if you pay rent to a close relative that you live with.

If You Are a Full Time Student

Full time students don't usually qualify for Housing Benefit – unless any of the following applies to you, in which case you may be able to claim Housing Benefit: 

  • If you are under 21 and are not in higher education
  • If you receive Income Support, Income Related Employment and Support Allowance or Income Based Jobseeker's Allowance
  • If you are a single parent
  • If you are disabled
  • You and your partner are full time students and you have dependent children
  • If you are a full time student but your partner is not, they may be able to claim Housing Benefit instead of you.

More information about financial help available to students can be found at:

You Are from the European Economic Area (EEA) and Claiming Jobseeker's Allowance

From 1st April 2014 new rules were introduced for EEA nationals wishing to claim Housing Benefit in the United Kingdom. Please contact us to find out if you are eligible to claim.

If Your Immigration Status Forbids It

You won't be eligible for Housing Benefit if you are an asylum seeker or if you have been sponsored to be in the UK – for example on a work programme.