About Housing Benefit

What is Housing Benefit?

Housing Benefit helps people on a low income who have to pay housing costs for the property they live in.

Housing Benefit is a means tested benefit and the amount you will get will depend on your household’s income and circumstances. 

You may be able to get Housing Benefit even if you are working.

What are housing costs?

If you live in the rented sector, housing costs for a rented property include rent, rates and service charges. 

If you own the property you live in you can apply for Housing Benefit for help towards your rates only. Housing Benefit cannot be used towards mortgage repayments. 

Who can claim Housing Benefit?

You a claim Housing Benefit and Rate Relief if you live in the rented sector or if you own and occupy your own home.
You can only make a new claim for Housing Benefit if:

  • You live in Northern Ireland;

  • You are State Pension Credit Age or older  (if you have a partner you both need to be of  pensionable age to apply for Housing Benefit); or

  • You live in temporary accommodation that the Housing Executive has placed you in; or 

  • You live in supported accommodation (including sheltered housing for older people)

You can read more on gov.uk about:

Universal Credit

If you are between 18 years of age and State Pension Credit Age, you may have to apply for Universal Credit if you need help with your housing costs.

In some circumstances you can claim Universal Credit if you are 16 or 17 years of age. 

You can read more from NI Direct about:

Rate Rebate

Universal Credit does not provide help towards your rates. Instead, you will need to make a claim for Rate Rebate. You can apply by visiting NI Direct at:

Owner occupiers

If you own the property you live in and need help paying your rates bill, you can apply to Land & Property Services for help. You can read more from NI Direct at

Private Landlords

Find out more about renting your property to someone who receives Housing Benefit in our:

The information in this section is for general advice only. 

Contact your local Housing Benefit office if you have any queries..

Find your nearest:


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Housing Benefit entitlement