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When everyone has a home

Housing advice for Northern Ireland

Housing benefit for younger people

The government restricts the amount of benefits it will give to private renters who are under 35. Your housing benefits will only cover the cost of renting a room in a shared property, unless

  • you have a partner living with you, or
  • your household includes children or other people (e.g a parent or sibling)
  • you meet one of the exceptions to this rule.  

The shared accommodation rate for young people

This is the lowest rate of housing benefits. It is based on the cost of renting a room in a shared property. It is a lot less than the one-bedroom rate of Local Housing Allowance (LHA).

You will get the shared accommodation rate towards your rent costs if

  • you are single and have no dependents, and
  • you are under 35, and
  • you rent your home from a private landlord or through an agency, and
  • you do not meet any of the exceptions.

If you are over 35 and live in shared housing, you will still only get the shared rate on housing benefit. If you're on Universal Credit, you'll only get the shared rate if you are under 35.

Exceptions to the shared rate

You can claim a higher rate if you are under 35 and 

  • you are a member of a couple
  • your are the main carer for children
  • your get a severe disability premium
  • you get Universal Credit and the daily living allowance of PIP
  • you are under 25 and have been in care
  • you have spent at least 3 months living in a homeless hostel
  • you need an extra bedroom for a carer, who stays overnight

You may also get a higher rate of benefit if you've been in prison and your release is covered by certain security arrangements called PPANI.

Get advice if you are getting the shared rate of housing benefits, and you think this is incorrect. 

Amount of rent covered by benefits

Many private landlords charge rents that are not fully covered by benefits. 

Get a benefits check before you move into a new home. This will help you understand if you can afford the rent on the property. 

You may be able to get extra help to pay your rent. You can apply for