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Who can claim?

Who can claim?

People who are eligible for Universal Credit cannot usually claim Housing Benefit. Please refer to our Universal Credit page to see if this applies to you.

Anyone else who has to pay rent for their home can claim Housing Benefit.

This includes you if you are:

  • a council tenant
  • a private tenant
  • a housing association tenant
  • a lodger or boarder
  • living in a hostel, hotel or bed and breakfast
  • living in a mobile home, caravan or houseboat
  • renting under a shared ownership scheme

If you are having problems paying your rent you should apply for benefit straight away.

If you (or you and your partner together) have more than £16,000 in savings you will not be entitled to Housing Benefit unless you also receive Pension Credit (Guarantee Credit).

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Can I claim?

If you are eligible for Universal Credit you cannot usually claim Housing Benefit. Please refer to our Universal Credit page to see if this applies to you.

If you are not eligible for Universal Credit and are in doubt about whether you can get help with your rent you should apply anyway. We will tell you as soon as we can if you qualify.

If you receive:

  • Income Support
  • Employment and Support Allowance (income related)
  • Jobseeker's Allowance (income based) or
  • Pension Credit (Guarantee Credit)

you can normally receive 'maximum' Housing Benefit. This means your Housing Benefit will be your eligible rent minus any non dependant deductions.

For everyone else

If you do not receive any of the benefits listed above you can still claim Housing Benefit.

We will calculate your entitlement by comparing the income and savings of you and your family against the minimum levels that the government expects you to live on.

We allow extra amounts for children, couples, lone parents, pensioners, carers and disabled people.

When we have done this we will have two figures:

  • an 'applicable amount' - this is the minimum weekly amount the government says you and your family need to live on
  • your income - the actual income of you and your family worked out to a weekly figure (less any amounts we do not count, for example, Disability Living Allowance)

We then look at these two figures:

  • if your income is below your applicable amount you will receive maximum Housing Benefit (i.e. your eligible rent minus any non-dependant deductions)
  • if your income is above your applicable amount we call this 'excess income' and your Housing Benefit is your eligible rent minus 65% of your excess income and minus any non dependant deductions

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Single people under 35 years old

If you are under 35 years old, live alone and rent from a private landlord the amount of Housing Benefit we can pay is restricted to a shared rate unless you qualify for an exemption.

For more information about this restriction and the exemptions see our page for people under 35 years old who live alone.

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Non-dependants

A non-dependant is a person who lives in your home on a non-commercial basis. Non-dependants are normally adult children or relatives but they can also be friends or anyone else who lives with you.

A person under the age of 20 is not treated as a non-dependant if you receive Child Benefit for them. Further information about eligibility to Child Benefit is available on the GOV.UK (external link) website.

You must tell us about changes in the circumstances of your non-dependants.

Non-dependant deductions

We normally reduce your Housing Benefit for every non-dependant in your home. We call this a ‘non-dependant deduction’.

A deduction is made for each non-dependant. The amount of deduction depends on their income and circumstances. The amounts are shown on our Non-Dependant Deductions page.

We will not make a deduction if you or your partner:

  • are registered blind, or
  • get Attendance allowance, Disability Living Allowance (care component) or Personal Independence Payment (Daily Living component)

We will not make a deduction if the non-dependant:

  • is under 18 years old
  • gets a Youth Training Allowance
  • has been in an NHS hospital for more than 52 weeks
  • is in prison
  • normally lives elsewhere
  • is a full-time student
  • gets Pension Credit
  • is aged under 25 and gets Income Support or Jobseeker's Allowance (income based)
  • is aged under 25 and gets Assessment Phase Employment and Support Allowance (income related)
  • is aged under 25 and gets Universal Credit and is not working

Non-dependant deductions if you are aged 65 or over

If you or your partner are aged 65 or over, non-dependant deductions can be delayed for 26 weeks if:

  • a non-dependant moves in with you, or
  • a non-dependant who lives with you has a change in circumstances which leads to an increase in the amount of deduction

However, the 26 week delay does not apply if:

  • a dependant who lives with you becomes a non-dependant, or
  • a non-dependant ceases to be a student

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Page last updated:

15 May 2020

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