People who are excluded from claiming housing benefit

People who are excluded from claiming housing benefit, such as mortgage holders, mobile homeowner, and persons from abroad.

This content applies to England

Full-time students

Most full-time students are not eligible for housing benefit.[1]

Exceptions

A full-time student is eligible for housing benefit if they:[2]

  • receive income support, income-based jobseeker's allowance, income-related employment support allowance or universal credit (where that payment does not include an amount for housing costs)

  • are on a part-time course

  • are aged under 20 on approved training, and were enrolled before they reached 19

  • are aged under 21 and in non-advanced education, or aged over 21 and continuing such a course

  • are a lone parent responsible for a dependent child or qualifying young person

  • and their partner are full-time students, and either or both are responsible for a dependent child or qualifying young person

  • are a lone foster parent

  • (in certain circumstances) are a disabled person

  • qualifies for a disabled student's allowance because they are deaf

  • or their partner have reached state pension credit age

  • have returned from a temporary break from a course taken because they were sick or caring for someone, and are now not entitled to a grant or student loan

Additionally, in the case of a couple where only one of them is a full-time student, the non-student is eligible to claim housing benefit on behalf of both.[3]

Care leavers

Care leavers who are relevant children under the age of 18 cannot get housing benefit because the social services department are responsible for their financial support.[4]

Residents of care homes

People who live in care homes are normally excluded from housing benefit.[5] There are separate provisions for income support for people in these circumstances. If someone moves into a residential care home on a trial basis, for example to see if it is suitable for their needs, with the intention on the day of entry to return to their home if the trial proves unsuccessful, they can receive housing benefit on their old home for up to 13 weeks.[6] This entitlement is not affected if during that time they decide to stay in residential accommodation permanently.[7]

Where a person enters residential care on a temporary basis, for example while their carer is temporarily unavailable, with the intention to return to their original home, they are entitled to housing benefit to pay for the original home for up to 52 weeks.

The provision of a full-time live-in carer, or any other element of health care, does not have the effect of converting a private home into a care home.[8]

Staying in a nightshelter

A person is not classed as occupying a dwelling as their home and is not entitled to housing benefit for any overnight charges if they:[9]

  • stay in a first-come first-served nightshelter

  • cannot remain or leave their belongings in the shelter during the day

  • sleep in a dormitory and has no security of tenure

Mortgage holders and long leaseholders

Housing benefit is not payable for these costs.[10]

Assistance with mortgage debt may be available through Support for mortgage interest.

Occupiers in co-ownership schemes

Payments under a housing association co-ownership scheme are not eligible for housing benefit.[11] This is not the same as a shared ownership scheme where housing benefit can be claimed on the rent element of the housing costs.

Mobile home owners

Housing benefit is not payable toward costs of purchasing a mobile home under a hire purchase, credit sale or conditional sale agreement.[12]

Long tenancies

Payments under a long tenancy (ie a tenancy granted for a term of more than 21 years) are not eligible for housing benefit.[13] However, housing benefit is payable on a tenancy purporting to be a long tenancy but not created under seal.[14]

Crown tenants

Crown tenants (ie tenants where the interest in the land is owned by the Crown or a government department) are excluded from claiming housing benefit,[15] but may be entitled to income support or income-based jobseeker's allowance to help with their housing costs. In addition, many Crown landlords have voluntarily established separate schemes for tenants on low incomes. The local authority sometimes administers these.

Tenants or licencees of the Crown Estate Commissioners, or of the Duchies of Lancaster or Cornwall, do not fall within the definition of Crown tenants, and are entitled to housing benefit.[16]

Members of a religious order

Housing benefit is not payable where an occupier is fully maintained by a religious order, for example monks and nuns in enclosed orders.[17]

Members of religious communities may be eligible for housing benefit if they are obliged to contribute towards their own board and lodging.

Persons from abroad

A person classified as a person from abroad is not eligible for housing benefit because they are treated as not liable for rent.[18]

A person may be a person from abroad if they do not meet the:

  • immigration control test

  • right to reside test

  • habitual residence test

The test(s) that applies mainly depends on a person's nationality.

A British citizen returning to the UK from abroad or coming to the UK for the first time is a person from abroad and is only eligible for housing benefit if they pass the habitual residence test.

The regulations list categories of persons who are treated as not being a person from abroad. Persons in those categories are eligible to claim housing benefit.[19]

The categories of those eligible for housing benefit are similar to those eligible for universal credit.

For housing benefit only a person is not treated as a person from abroad if they are in receipt of:[20]

  • income support:

  • income based employment and support allowance

  • jobseekers allowance but only if they have a right to reside other than as a jobseeker

Late applications to the EU Settlement Scheme and entitlement to housing benefit

EEA nationals and their family members who wish to continue living in the UK after Brexit have been required to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme. The DWP housing benefit Circular A10/2021 confirms that housing benefit claimants who apply to the Scheme after the 30 June 2021 deadline and receive a certificate of their application from the Home Office can claim benefits until the outcome of their application or appeal.

Last updated: 13 October 2021

Footnotes

  • [1]

    reg 56(1) Housing Benefit Regulations 2006 SI 2006/213.

  • [2]

    reg 56(2A) Housing Benefit Regulations 2006 SI 2006/213, as amended.

  • [3]

    reg 8(1)(e) Housing Benefit Regulations 2006 SI 2006/213.

  • [4]

    s.23B(8) Children Act 1989.

  • [5]

    reg 9(1)(k) Housing Benefit Regulations 2006 SI 2006/213; reg 9(1)(k) Housing Benefit (Persons who have attained the qualifying age for pension credit) Regulations 2006 SI 2006/214.

  • [6]

    reg 7(11) Housing Benefit Regulations 2006 SI 2006/213.

  • [7]

    Secretary of State for Work and Pensions v Selby DC [2006] EWCA Civ 271.

  • [8]

    R (on the application of Whapples) v Birmingham Crosscity Clinical Commissioning Group [2015] EWCA Civ 435.

  • [9]

    OR v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions and Isle of Anglesey CC [2013] UKUT 065 (AAC).

  • [10]

    reg 12(2)(a) and (c) Housing Benefit Regulations 2006 SI 2006/213; reg 12(2)(a) and (c) Housing Benefit (Persons who have attained the qualifying age for pension credit) Regulations 2006 SI 2006/214.

  • [11]

    reg 12(2)(b) Housing Benefit Regulations 2006 SI 2006/213; reg 12(2)(b) Housing Benefit (Persons who have attained the qualifying age for pension credit) Regulations 2006 SI 2006/214.

  • [12]

    reg 12(2)(d) Housing Benefit Regulations 2006 SI 2006/213; reg 12(2)(d) Housing Benefit (Persons who have attained the qualifying age for pension credit) Regulations 2006 SI 2006/214.

  • [13]

    reg 12(2)(a) Housing Benefit Regulations 2006 SI 2006/213; reg 12(2)(a) Housing Benefit (Persons who have attained the qualifying age for pension credit) Regulations 2006 SI 2006/214.

  • [14]

    Social Security Commissioner decision CH/883/2006; DB v Bromley LBC (HB) [2013] UKUT 373 (AAC).

  • [15]

    reg 12(2)(e) Housing Benefit Regulations 2006 SI 2006/213; reg 12(2)(e) Housing Benefit (Persons who have attained the qualifying age for pension credit) Regulations 2006 SI 2006/214.

  • [16]

    paras 3.210 to 3.218 of section A3, HB/CTB Guidance Manual July 2009.

  • [17]

    reg 9(1)(j) Housing Benefit Regulations 2006 SI 2006/213; reg 9(1)(j) Housing Benefit (Persons who have attained the qualifying age for pension credit) Regulations 2006 SI 2006/214.

  • [18]

    reg 10 Housing Benefit Regulations 2006 SI 2006/213; reg 10 Housing Benefit (Persons who have attained the qualifying age for pension credit) Regulations 2006 SI 2006/214.

  • [19]

    reg 10(3B) Housing Benefit Regulations 2006 SI 2006/213; reg 10(4A) Housing Benefit (Persons who have attained the qualifying age for pension credit) Regulations 2006 SI 2006/214 each as amended by Social Security (Habitual Residence) (Amendment) Regulations 2014 SI 2014/902.

  • [20]

    reg 10(3B)(k) and (l) Housing Benefit Regulations 2006 SI 2006/213.