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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.  

What is the Shared Accommodation Rate?

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 of housing benefit 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 ovr 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

Under 35s can claim a different rate if

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

Former prisoners may also be exempt from the shared rate if they pose a risk of serious harm to others. 

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

Will benefits cover your full rent?

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