3. Eligibility

Use a benefits calculator to check if you can get Housing Benefit before you apply. You may need to claim Universal Credit instead.

You may get Housing Benefit if:

  • you pay rent
  • you’re on a low income or claiming benefits
  • your savings are below a certain level - usually £16,000

You can apply if you’re employed or unemployed, but if you live with a partner, only one of you can get Housing Benefit.

If you’re single and under 35, you can only get Housing Benefit for bed-sit accommodation or a single room in shared accommodation.

Who isn’t eligible

Usually you won’t get Housing Benefit if:

  • your savings are over £16,000 - unless you get Guarantee credit of Pension Credit
  • you live in the home of a close relative
  • you’re a full-time student - unless you’re disabled or have children
  • you’re residing in the UK as an European Economic Area jobseeker
  • you’re an asylum seeker or sponsored to be in the UK
  • you’re subject to immigration control and your granted leave states that you can’t claim public funds

You usually can’t get Housing Benefit and Universal Credit at the same time (unless you’re in certain kinds of supported housing).

If you own your home

You can’t get Housing Benefit, but you may be able to get Support for Mortgage Interest (SMI).

If your circumstances change

Tell your council if your circumstances change as this can affect how much you get.

For example, a child leaves school, your rent changes, you go away for more than 1 month.

The benefit cap puts a limit on the total amount of benefit that most people aged 16 to 64 can get. The benefit cap started to affect some local councils from 15 April 2013.