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Housing Benefit Eligibility Criteria

This section explains the qualification process to get Housing Benefit in the United Kingdom. But, some claimants may need to apply for Universal Credit instead.

Are You Eligible to Claim Housing Benefit?

As a rule, you will meet the eligibility criteria for financial help if:

  • You are paying rent (to the council, social housing, or to a private landlord).
  • You are either claiming benefits or you get a low income.
  • Your savings are below the upper limit (£16,000 in most cases).

You do not need to be out of work to qualify for Housing Benefit. You can still apply even if you have a job. Even so, only one of you can get Housing Benefit if you live with a partner.

You can only receive Housing Benefit for bed-sit accommodation, or a single room in shared accommodation, if you are single and under 35 years old.

Note: A benefits calculator can help determine whether you have Housing Benefit eligibility. In some cases, you might need to claim Universal Credit instead.

Not Eligible for Housing Benefit

As a rule, you will be unlikely to make a successful claim for Housing Benefit if:

  • Your savings amount to more than £16,000 (unless you get the Guarantee credit of Pension Credit).
  • You are living in the home of a close relative.
  • You are a full-time student (unless you are a disabled person or you have children).
  • You are residing in the United Kingdom as a European Economic Area jobseeker.
  • You are an asylum seeker or you have been sponsored to be in the United Kingdom.
  • You are subject to immigration control and your granted leave states that you cannot claim public funds.

As a rule, you cannot receive Housing Benefit and Universal Credit at the same time. Some exceptions apply for people who are in certain kinds of supported housing.

Owning Your Own Home

You lose eligibility for Housing Benefit if you are the owner of your own home. But, in some cases you may qualify for Support for Mortgage Interest (SMI).

Circumstantial Changes

Note: You must inform your local council if your circumstances change. It can affect how much benefit you get. The benefit cap puts a limit on the total amount of benefit that most people aged 16 to 64 can get.

Note: Some local councils started to get affected by the introduction of the benefit cap from April 2013.

Housing Benefit Eligibility Criteria in the United Kingdom