Can students claim benefits to help with rent?

Whether you can get universal credit housing costs or housing benefit as a student mainly depends on if you study full time or part time.

Who can claim?

You can usually only claim universal credit or housing benefit if you’re a part-time student or you’re over pension age. There are exceptions and some full-time students can claim.

International students studying in the UK can’t claim.

Find out how to apply for:

In a couple

If your partner lives with you and isn’t a student, you can claim universal credit or housing benefit as a couple.

Looking for work

If you’ll have to claim universal credit as a part-time student, you can only apply if your studies don’t interfere with your work-related requirement.

For example, you might still need to spend a certain number of hours each week looking for work while study.

You can discuss this with your work coach after you’ve applied.

When you can claim as a full-time student

There are some circumstances when you can claim universal credit or housing benefit as a full-time student.

If you’re under 21

You’ll be able to claim housing benefit if you’re under 21 and not in advanced education.

You can also apply for universal credit if this applies to you and your parents don’t support you. For example, because they've said you can’t live with them or you’d be at risk of harm if you did.

Find out what counts as advanced education on Turn2Us

If you’re responsible for a child

You can claim universal credit or housing benefit if you’re a parent or foster parent with a dependent child under 16.

You could also apply if you’re responsible for a 16 to 19-year-old who’s in full-time, non-advanced education or has just left.

If you share responsibility for a child, you can only claim if they normally live with you.

If you have a disability

You can get help with your rent from housing benefit if you have a disability and get certain other benefits, including PIP or DLA.

To be eligible for universal credit, you’ll also need to show that you can’t look for work because of your disability.

Supported accommodation or other benefits

You’ll qualify for housing benefit as a student if you’re:

  • getting income support, income-based jobseeker's allowance, or income-related employment and support allowance
  • in supported accommodation and claim universal credit

How your benefit is calculated

If you receive a loan to help you pay tuition fees, this won’t be counted.

But other income such as grants and maintenance loans is taken into account when calculating how much benefit you get.

Last updated 10 Dec 2018 | © Shelter

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