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're eligible for 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 you were already a mixed age couple before that date and get housing benefit, you can continue to do so unless a change in your situation means both your housing benefit and pension credit stop. You would then need 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 guarantee pension credit

Last updated 13 August 2019 | © Shelter

If you need to talk to someone, we’ll do our best to help

Get help

Get the government to build more social housing

You have the power to make sure they provide affordable housing for all those who need it

Sign the petition Sign the petition

Email a link to this article

Thank you - your message has been sent.

Sorry! - your message has not been sent this time.

Was this advice helpful?

Thank you - your feedback has been submitted to the team.

Sorry! - your message has not been sent this time.