Housing Benefit (Northern Ireland) - 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, some service charges and also with rates. Housing Benefit is being replaced by Universal Credit.

Last reviewed 27 March 2024

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 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.

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 claim Universal Credit; or
  • You are single and have reached the age of 66;
  • You are in a couple and both you and your partner have reached 66
  • Couples where one partner is over 66 and the other is younger, can only claim Housing Benefit in a few special cases (use the Benefits Calculator to check what you can get)
  • You were homeless and placed in temporary accommodation by the Housing Executive or you are in supported accommodation.

In addition:

  • You are responsible for paying the rent or rates on the home where you normally live; and
  • Your income is low enough; and
  • Your capital and savings are under £16,000 (unless you are getting Guarantee Pension Credit in which case there is no capital or savings limit).

It does not matter if your landlord is a private landlord or if you have a social landlord. 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 cover a mortgage. See our Support for Mortgage Interest guide if you are a homeowner.

In Northern Ireland, if you own your own home, and qualify for Housing Benefit, you can claim Housing Benefit to help with the rates. Housing Benefit for rates is sometimes called 'rate relief'.

If you claim Universal Credit or you need to make a new claim for help with your rates and are under 66, there is a rate rebate scheme.

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).

Reviewed: February 2023


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