Guidance

Housing costs for 18 to 21 year olds

This guidance explains the rules for housing costs for 18 to 21 year olds getting Universal Credit from 1 April 2017.

Overview

From 1 April 2017, some 18 to 21 year olds claiming Universal Credit will not be entitled to help with housing costs.

The change will only apply in Universal Credit full service areas.

The following 18 to 21 year olds claiming Universal Credit will still be able to get help with their housing costs (not an exhaustive list):

  • people receiving Universal Credit housing costs prior to 1 April 2017 until they move off Universal Credit or cease to claim those housing costs
  • certain vulnerable people
  • people unable to live with their parents
  • those claiming as a couple
  • people who are not subject to all work-related requirements for receiving Universal Credit
  • people who are in work, subject to minimum earnings
  • people who have recently left work, subject to minimum earnings (In this case the help is available for a limited period)

People on Housing Benefit are not affected unless they stop claiming Housing Benefit, then at a later date make a claim for housing support through Universal Credit.

Help with managing money is available for those who need it.

Universal Credit housing costs

Universal Credit is paid monthly and may include money towards housing costs. For example, your rent payment to a landlord or local authority.

From 1 April 2017 if you are 18 to 21 years old, you won’t usually be able to get help towards housing costs if you:

  • make a new claim for Universal Credit and live in a Universal Credit full service area and
  • you are not working, or you are working but your earnings are below the minimum in-work threshold (for 18 to 20 year olds who are not apprentices this is equivalent to £94.40 a week)

Some Universal Credit claimants aged 18 to 21 can still get help with housing costs.

18 to 21 year olds who can get help with housing costs

18 to 21 year olds who can get help with housing costs How long you can get help for
You are claiming Universal Credit in a live service area While this is the case
You are responsible for a child or a qualifying young person While this is the case
You get the care component of Disability Living Allowance at the middle or highest rate While you get that component
You get the daily living component of Personal Independence Payment While you get that component
You get Armed Forces Independence Payment While this is the case
You have a physical or mental impairment and are not expected to work more than 35 hours a week While this is the case
You are a relevant carer and are not expected to work more than 35 hours a week While this is the case
You were a care leaver before the age of 18 Permanent
You are a victim of domestic violence Permanent
You live in temporary accommodation While this is the case
You have no parent Permanent
You cannot live with your parents because they do not have a home in Great Britain While this is the case
You cannot live with your parents because of a serious risk to your physical or mental health or significant risk of harm, or because it is inappropriate for you to live with them for another reason While this is the case
You earn the monthly equivalent of 16x National Minimum Wage for 18 to 20 year olds in your Universal Credit assessment period Month by month
You have a contract as an apprentice on the last day of your Universal Credit assessment period. Continuing entitlement is dependent on you earning the monthly equivalent of 16x National Minimum Wage for apprentices during each assessment period Month by month
You have made a new claim to Universal Credit and earned the monthly equivalent of 16x National Minimum Wage for 18 to 20 year olds each month for the 6 calendar months before the month in which you made your claim to Universal Credit (see National Minimum Wage and the in-work threshold calculation below) 6 months
You have made a new claim for Universal Credit and you have been contracted as an apprentice for the 6 months before the month in which you claim Universal Credit and you were earning the monthly equivalent of 16X National Minimum Wage for apprentices throughout that period 6 months
You are an existing Universal Credit claimant and:
a) earned the monthly equivalent of 16x National Minimum Wage for 18 to 20 year olds in each of the 6 previous assessment periods, or
b) have received Universal Credit for less than 6 months and have earned the monthly equivalent of 16x National Minimum Wage for 18 to 20 year olds in each of the previous assessment periods and in any additional calendar months within the last 6 months but before the month in which you claimed.
6 months
You are an existing Universal Credit claimant contracted as an apprentice and:
a) earned the monthly equivalent of 16x National Minimum Wage for apprentices in each of the 6 previous assessment periods, or
b) have received Universal Credit for less than 6 months and have earned the monthly equivalent of 16x National Minimum Wage for apprentices in each previous assessment period and in any additional calendar months within the last 6 months but before the month in which you claimed.
6 months
You are a member of a couple who claim Universal Credit as a couple While you are a member of a couple
You are covered by multi-agency public protection arrangements (MAPPA) - for example: registered sex offenders, violent and other types of sexual offenders, offenders who pose a serious risk of harm to the public, certain claimants in Scotland who may cause serious harm to the public While managed under Level 2 or Level 3 MAPPA
You are a prisoner in custody or on remand Whilst a prisoner
You are attending a court or tribunal as a party to any proceedings or as a witness While this is the case
You are under protection arrangements because you are involved in criminal investigations or proceedings Up to 3 months
You are getting treatment for alcohol or drug dependency Up to 6 months
You are abroad for no more than 6 months to get treatment for an illness or physical or mental impairment or for medically approved convalescence or care, or are accompanying a partner, child or qualifying young person for whom you are responsible and they are receiving such treatment, convalescence or care Up to 6 months
Your partner or child has died in the last 6 months 6 months from the date of bereavement
You are taking part in activity that is in the nature of a public duty, for example jury service While this is the case
You are expecting a baby within 11 weeks For 11 weeks
You miscarry or your baby is stillborn after the 24th week of pregnancy For 15 weeks after the miscarriage, or your baby is stillborn
You are unfit to work for up to 14 days While this is the case (this exemption cannot be relied upon more than twice in a 12 month period)
You are not subject to ‘all work-related requirements’ conditionality as part of your Universal Credit claim While this is the case
You are a Housing Benefit claimant who moves into a Universal Credit full service area or are transferred into Universal Credit full service by DWP and are entitled to Housing Benefit at the point that you move or are moved As long as there is no break in your Universal Credit award or the Housing Costs element of it
You moved into a Universal Credit full service area or are transferred from Universal Credit live service to Universal Credit full service after 31 March 2017 and were receiving the Housing Costs element when you moved or were transferred As long as there is no break in your Universal Credit award or the Housing Costs element of it
You have been claiming in Universal Credit full service since before 1 April 2017 and your claim includes the Housing Costs element As long as there is no break in your Universal Credit award or the Housing Costs element of it

National Minimum Wage and the in-work threshold calculation

Minimum rates of pay - from April 2018

Age National Minimum Wage in-work threshold (16x NMW)
18 to 20 £5.90 an hour £94.40
Apprentice £3.70 an hour £59.20

Apprentices are entitled to the apprentice rate if they’re either:

  • aged under 19
  • aged 19 or over and in the first year of their apprenticeship

Help with managing your money

You will need to manage your money carefully so that you can pay your housing costs on time. You should speak to your landlord to agree the best way to pay them. For example you can set up direct debits or standing orders to pay your rent and other bills like gas and electricity.

Support through DWP

If you think you may need help with managing your money you can speak to your work coach. They can tell you about the most appropriate support available.

DWP is working with local councils and organisations, like the Money Advice Service and Citizens Advice, to make sure you have access to the help that’s right for you.

Support for 18 to 21 year olds claiming Universal Credit

DWP provides a programme of support for all 18 to 21 year olds making a new claim to Universal Credit. This is being rolled-out in line with the roll-out schedule for Universal Credit.

They will receive intensive work-focused support from day one of their claim. If they are still unemployed and claiming Universal Credit after 6 months, they will be referred to work-related training or guaranteed work experience.

This will give them the skills and experience they need to gain an apprenticeship place or other job and progress their future career.

Support through other organisations

There’s plenty of advice available from other organisations too with access to budgeting support, debt advice and other tools and information that can help you take control of your money:

Definition of a Qualifying Young Person

A Qualifying Young Person is someone aged 16 to 19 who is in education or training.

In more detail

Aged over 16 in any of the following situations:

  • from their 16th birthday until 31 August following that birthday, whether or not they are in full time education

  • up to 31 August following their 19th birthday if they are enrolled in, or accepted for approved training or a course of education

The approved training or course of education should be either:

  • non advanced education, which is provided at a school or college or provided elsewhere but approved by the DWP; and where the average time spent during term-time in tuition, practical work, supervised study or taking exams (minus meal breaks or unsupervised study) exceeds 12 hours a week

  • approved training and, where the qualifying young person is aged 19, the education or training must have begun before they reached 19, or they must have been enrolled to undertake that education or training before reaching that age

Published 1 April 2017
Last updated 3 April 2018 + show all updates
  1. Added people who get the Armed Forces Independence Payment to the list of 18 to 21 year olds who can get help with housing costs.
  2. Amended hourly rate and in work threshold amounts in line with the new National Minimum Wage.
  3. Added information about the Youth Obligation.
  4. First published.