Whilst most students are not entitled to Housing Benefit the following groups are eligible to claim when studying full-time.
For full information, read the Housing Benefits Leaflet
If you are a lone parent or lone foster parent of a child under 16, or a child under 20 if s/he is still in full-time non-advanced education, you will be eligible for Housing Benefit. Lone parents can only get Income Support until their youngest child’s 5th birthday but can continue to get help from Housing Benefit after this. If Income Support stops when your child is 5 or when you become a student (because your income is too high) you must make a separate claim for Housing Benefit to the Local Authority to continue to get Housing Benefit. You can continue to get Housing Benefit until your youngest child finishes school or college or until their 20th birthday, whichever is the earlier. This is usually for the period that you can claim child benefit. (Your claim will end at this time even if you are part-way through your course).
If you or your partner are in receipt of Income Support or Job Seekers Allowance (although you are not usually entitled to JSA as a full time student) you will receive full Housing Benefit up to the level of the Local Reference Rent/ Local Housing Allowance. You can find out what these levels are by visiting your Local Authority website and typing in Local Housing Allowances rates. The rates fluctuate monthly and your rate will be determined by what type of accommodation is required by you and your family.
If you, or your partner if you have one, are aged 60 or over, you will be eligible for Housing Benefit for the duration of your course.
If you qualify for a disability premium or severe disability premium with your Housing Benefit (e.g. if you get disability living allowance or employment and support allowance, long term incapacity benefit, severe disablement allowance, incapacity benefit or employment and support allowance in youth or are registered blind, or are deaf and receive a disabled student allowance for deafness), you will be eligible for Housing Benefit.
NB. From April 2012 disabled Housing Benefit claimants with a non-resident carer who receive the higher rate care component of DLA or who can demonstrate that they have a regular need for overnight care will be entitled to funding for an extra bedroom for a carer as long as they have another bedroom that they can use in their self-contained unit of accommodation (NB. halls of residence don’t normally qualify).
If you have been incapable of work for the last 28 weeks, you will be eligible for Housing Benefit. for the duration of your incapacity after this point.
You will need to claim Employment and Support allowance first to establish eligibility.
If you get a disabled student allowance because of deafness you will be eligible for Housing Benefit. You are eligible for Housing Benefit from the date you apply for the allowance. However if you are still waiting to receive confirmation about the allowance, the local authority may put off making a decision about your Housing Benefit. claim but should then fully backdate your benefit.
If you are a member of a couple and your partner is also a full-time student and you have a dependant child you will be eligible for Housing Benefit. Unlike Job Seekers Allowance where you can only claim in the summer vacation if you cannot find work, you can claim Housing Benefit throughout the year. If you are also claiming Job Seekers Allowance, remember that when these benefits stop at the end of the summer vacation, you need to inform the Local Authority of your change in circumstances and submit your new student finance income details to have your claim continued. You will receive a new assessment based on your student finance income.
If you are part of a couple and your partner is not a student, s/he is entitled to make a claim for both of you or the family unit.
If you are registered as a part-time student you can claim Housing Benefit throughout your studies as long as you satisfy all of the other conditions of entitlement. Housing Benefit is a means-tested benefit and it depends how much money you have coming in, what savings you have and the size and needs of your family as to whether you receive any payment.
If you are claiming Income Support or Job-Seekers Allowance you can claim both Housing and Council Tax Benefit as part of this process. However, if you do not know whether you are entitled to it, it is better to claim Housing Benefit direct from the Local Authority. You can obtain a claim form from any one stop shop/local offices of the council and if you submit your claim with all the evidence required you usually receive a promise that your claim will be dealt with more quickly, usually within 14 days. Most full-time students are only entitled to Income Support or Job-Seekers Allowance during the summer vacation when the student income is not taken into account but a lot more students are entitled to Housing Benefit throughout the year and generally receive at least 70% of their rent payment up to the level of the local housing allowance or local reference rent if they only receive student finance income and child benefit/child tax credit.
Claimants need to check that the authorities are taking the appropriate student support income into account and applying the correct disregards. The only student income counted for benefit purposes is the Maintenance Loan, Maintenance Grant and the Adult Dependants Grant. The Maintenance Loan has disregarded elements for books, travel etc as well as a weekly £10 disregard. The Higher Education Grant, Special Support Grant, Childcare Grant and Parental Learning Allowance are all completely disregarded as income. Some University Bursaries are also disregarded.
The National Local Housing Allowance Scheme has standardised what rents can be charged for the private rented sector in certain areas of cities. Figures are published monthly and are available on the Local Authority’s website. For Liverpool claimants this information can be viewed at the Liverpool Council website. Claimants will be given allowances on what size property they are eligible for according to their needs and unless you have rent budgeting problems or are unable to manage your affairs the Housing Benefit will always be paid to you the tenant. From April 2012 a shared accommodation rent will apply to claimants under 35.