Housing benefit: How to claim

Who can claim housing benefit

Housing benefit can help with rent if you're on a low income. 

You can only make a new claim for housing benefit if one of the following applies:

  • you - and your partner if you live with them - are pension age
  • you get other benefits which include a severe disability premium
  • you're staying in a refuge, hostel or some types of supported or temporary housing

In all other cases, you must claim universal credit instead.

Mixed age couples

You're a mixed age couple if one of you is pension age and the other is working age.

From 15 May 2019, most mixed age couples must claim universal credit instead of housing benefit and pension credit.

If one of you reached pension age before this date, you can still make a backdated claim for housing benefit. You must apply by 13 August 2019. 

In most cases, you won't get as much money on universal credit so it's important to claim housing benefit and pension credit now if you can.

If you already get housing benefit, you can continue to do so unless a change in your situation means you have to claim universal credit instead.   

Use the AgeUK benefits calculator to check your entitlement now

Who can’t claim

You can’t usually claim housing benefit if you:

  • are a full time student but there are exceptions
  • don’t meet immigration and residence conditions
  • live with a close family member who you pay rent to
  • are supported by social services as a care leaver while you're under 18 
  • have savings above £16,000 - unless you get pension credit guarantee

Last updated 15 May 2019 | © Shelter

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