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Housing Benefit (England, Scotland and Wales) - Can I get Housing Benefit?

Housing Benefit is money to help you with your housing costs if you are on a low income. It can help with rent and some service charges. Housing Benefit is being replaced by Universal Credit.

Can I get Housing Benefit?

Housing Benefit and Universal Credit

Housing Benefit is being replaced by Universal Credit.  You will only be able to make a new claim for Housing Benefit in the situations listed below.  Otherwise you would have to claim Universal Credit instead.  

If you or your partner are receiving a 'legacy benefit' such as Child Tax Credit or Housing Benefit, you will lose these if you make a claim for Universal Credit. 

You can find out whether you can make a claim for Housing Benefit  by using our Benefits Calculator or by seeking advice.  You can find an advice agency in your area by using our Find-an-adviser tool.   Read more about Universal Credit on our website.

If you are on Housing Benefit and your situation stays the same, you won’t have to claim Universal Credit, at present.  The government won’t start transferring people over to Universal Credit until July 2019, and aim to complete this process by December 2023.

Can I get Housing Benefit?

You can still get Housing Benefit in one of the following situations:

  • You are on Housing Benefit at present (unless you try to claim another legacy benefit or Universal Credit) or
  • You (or your partner) have reached the qualifying age for Pension Credit; or
  • You were homeless and  have been placed in temporary accommodation by the council.

In addition:

  • You are responsible for paying the rent on the home where you normally live, and
  • Your income is low enough, and
  • Your capital and savings are under £16000 (unless you get Guarantee Pension Credit, in which case there is no capital limit).

It does not matter if your landlord is a private landlord or a social landlord e.g. a council or housing association. If you live with a partner, only one of you can claim Housing Benefit for you both.  If you qualify, Housing Benefit can be paid whether or not you are working.

Housing Benefit does not help with a mortgage. See our Support for Mortgage Interest guide if you are a homeowner.

If you live with a partner, only one of you can claim Housing Benefit for you both.

You do not qualify for Housing Benefit if you:

  • live in the home of a close relative

  • are a full-time student (unless you have a disability or have children)

What happens to my Housing Benefit if I change my address?

If you are on Housing Benefit and change address, you can re-claim Housing Benefit if you stay within the same local authority area, if this is your only change of circumstance.  If you move to an area, which has a different council you won't be able to claim Housing Benefit and would have to claim Universal Credit instead.


Updated: February 2019

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