Prisoners serving a sentence - Help with housing costs - Serving a sentence
Check how to manage your benefits if you're a prisoner serving a sentence
Help with housing costs - Serving a sentence
Most benefits stop while you are serving a prison sentence. However, you may still be entitled to help with housing costs for a limited amount of time.
You may receive the housing costs element of Universal Credit for up to 6 months when you are in prison. You will only be paid after you have been sentenced if the total amount of time spent in prison (including time on remand) will not be more than 6 months.
You may be entitled to the following benefits for up to 13 weeks if you're not likely to be away from your home for longer than 13 weeks and you plan to return home after your sentence:
- Help with housing costs for home owners
- Housing Benefit: England, Scotland, Wales) (Housing Benefit: Northern Ireland)
- Council Tax Support - though if your home is empty while you are in prison you should be able to get a full exemption from council tax instead.
In Scotland, you will need to tell the local council directly about your change of circumstances.
In Northern Ireland, tell your local Housing Executive.
Support for Mortgage Interest
If you were getting Support for Mortgage Interest and Universal Credit before going to prison, you can carry on getting Support for Mortgage Interest for up to six months, as long as you aren't expected to be away from your home for more than six months.
If you were getting Support for Mortgage Interest and a benefit other than Universal Credit before going to prison, you can carry on getting Support for Mortgage for up to 52 weeks as long as you aren't expected to be away from home for more than 52 weeks, and you intend to return home, and you do not sublet your home while you are away.
Reviewed: April 2022