Should I apply for housing benefit or universal credit?
Housing benefit is a benefit to help people who are on a low income to pay their rent.
Universal Credit is a benefit for people of working age on a low income, which is administered by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP). It's a single monthly payment which will eventually replace Income Support, Income Related Job Seekers Allowance, Income Related Employment Support Allowance, Housing Benefit and Working Tax Credit / Child Tax Credit
When to apply for housing benefit
You should apply for housing benefit if you fall into any of the categories below:
- you are a pensioner - you have reached the qualifying age for State Pension Credit
- you will be receiving the Severe Disability Premium until you are moved onto UC by the department for work and pensions in future
- you reside in specified accommodation (this is where care is provided by or on behalf of the social sector landlord, a hostel, domestic violence refuge)
- you reside in temporary accommodation (this is housing arranged by a council because they have decided that you are homeless)
In all of the above situations the accommodation must be allocated by the council or by a social housing provider through arrangements made with the council.
Who isn't eligible for housing benefit?
You won't be eligible for housing benefit if:
- you are eligible for Universal Credit, instead you need to apply for Universal Credit
- you have a capital amount over £16,000 (savings and investments), unless you are receiving Pension Credit Guaranteed Credit (PCGC)
- you own and occupy your own home, instead you can apply for Support for Mortgage Interest via Department for Work and Pensions (DWP)
Housing benefit entitlement calculator
To find out if you qualify for housing benefit please use the housing benefits calculator
There are special rules for:
- people in boarding / lodgings / hostels
- those who live in private residential care
- nursing homes
- people who have two homes
- people who are temporarily away from home
- people who live in someone else’s home
For more information please complete the housing benefits calculator.