Eligibility

Housing Benefit can help you pay your rent if you’re unemployed, on a low income or claiming benefits. It’s being replaced by Universal Credit.

You can only make a new claim for Housing Benefit if one of the following is true:

  • you’re getting the severe disability premium, or are entitled to it
  • you got or were entitled to the severe disability premium within the last month and are still eligible for it
  • you have reached State Pension age
  • you live in temporary accommodation
  • you live in sheltered or supported housing with special facilities such as alarms or wardens

If not, you’ll need to claim Universal Credit instead.

Use a benefits calculator to check if you can get Housing Benefit before you apply.

Usually you will not get Housing Benefit if:

  • your savings are over £16,000 - unless you get Guarantee Credit of Pension Credit
  • you’re paying a mortgage on your own home - you may be able to get Support for Mortgage Interest (SMI)
  • you live in the home of a close relative
  • you’re already claiming Universal Credit (unless you’re in temporary or supported housing)
  • your partner is already claiming Housing Benefit
  • you’re a full-time student - unless you’re disabled
  • you’re residing in the UK as a 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 cannot claim public funds
  • you’re a Crown Tenant

You may be able to get other help with housing costs.

Changes to Housing Benefit eligibility from 15 May 2019

From 15 May 2019, if you’re in a couple you’ll only be eligible to start getting Housing Benefit if either:

  • you and your partner have both reached State Pension age
  • one of you has reached State Pension age and started claiming Housing Benefit or Pension Credit (for you as a couple) before 15 May 2019

If you’re not already getting Housing Benefit on 14 May 2019, you can backdate your claim. You could still be eligible to get Housing Benefit.

You can ask for your claim to be backdated to 12 May or before. You’ll need to apply by 13 August 2019 to do this.

You can apply for Universal Credit instead if you’re still not eligible.

If you already get Housing Benefit and you’re in a couple

You’ll continue to get Housing Benefit after 15 May 2019. If your entitlement stops for any reason, for example your circumstances change, you cannot start getting it again until you (or your partner) are eligible under the new rules.

If you already get Housing Benefit and you’re single

From 15 May 2019, you’ll stop getting Housing Benefit if you start living with a partner who is under State Pension age. You can start getting it again when your partner reaches State Pension age.

  1. Step 1 Check when you can retire

  2. and Check how much pension you could get

  3. Step 2 Increase your pension

    You might be able to increase the amount you get if you delay your pension.

    1. Find out about delaying your pension

    For advice about increasing your workplace or private pension, speak to a financial adviser.

    1. Find a financial adviser through Unbiased
  4. Step 3 Check what other financial support you could get

  5. Step 4 Decide when to retire