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Housing Benefit advice for students

Updated: 22 Nov 2014
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Some students are eligible for Housing Benefit
Student reading in a park
There are specific Housing Benefit rules that apply if you are a student. This is an overview of those rules - if you require more detailed information about your own circumstances please call us on 03448 920 902.

Can students receive Housing Benefit?

The law states that, with a few exceptions, most full time students cannot receive Housing Benefit. This applies from the date a student commences his/her course of study until the date the course ends or the date that the student abandons or is dismissed from the course. A person continues to be classed as a student during holidays.

What are the exceptions?

The following students can receive Housing Benefit subject to the terms and conditions of the Housing Benefit Scheme being met:
  • Part time students
  • Lone parents
  • Those solely responsible for a child (including foster children)
  • Students receiving Income Support; Income Based Job Seekers Allowance; ESA (Income Related); ESA (Contributions Based); ESA (Credits Only)
  • Students with a disability, (including registered blind or receiving an allowance for deafness)
  • Students with dependent children whose partner is also a full time student
  • Students who are not in Higher Education up to a maximum age of 21 years, including 21 year olds who attained that age during the course (change in law from April 2012)
  • Students under 20 years for whom Child Benefit is still in payment
  • Students who have attained the age for Pension Credit (or whose partner has attained the age for Pension Credit)
  • Absent from course due to caring responsibilities or illness with the prior approval of the college attended (but only for the period from after the illness/responsibility ends up to the date they are allowed to return to their course)

I live in the Halls of Residence but qualify as one of the exceptions - am I eligible?

Yes, those eligible students living in accommodation owned by the educational establishment can apply.

Will Housing Benefit cover all of my rent?

This depends on the amount of your income, any capital or savings you have and your family circumstances. As well as this, all the normal rules which may result in a rent restriction apply to students.

Will I get a disability premium because I get a disabled students allowance?

Not necessarily, to qualify for a disability premium you must have received, or be in receipt of, a range of specified benefits. A disabled student’s allowance does not, by itself, allow the Housing Executive to award a disability premium.

What income will you use to calculate my Housing Benefit?

We must include your income from loans and grants (although certain grants are fully/partially disregarded) as well as any other income you might have such as earnings, child benefit and other state benefits. If you have a partner their income will also be taken into account in assessing housing benefit.

I have lots of expenses will you allow for these?

We can only allow items specified in the Housing Benefit regulations, these include fixed amounts for books and travel and, if you are a lone parent, certain childcare costs if these are paid to a registered childminder or day nursery. We will also disregard £10 of any student loan income per week you have, or could have, obtained.

I am not receiving my parents assessed contribution will you allow for this?

No, the law requires the Housing Executive to take into account any assessed contribution to a grant or loan whether or not it is paid. This applies to the student’s personal contribution (if any) as well as to contributions from parents or a spouse.

I have decided not to take out a student loan will you allow for this?

No, the law requires the Housing Executive to take into account the maximum amount of any loan available to the student. This applies even if no loan is taken up or a lesser amount borrowed.