When everyone has a home

Housing advice for Northern Ireland

Housing benefit for students

You can make a new claim for housing benefit if you are a student and you have reached pension age. Younger students will only be able to claim housing benefit if

  • they are living in temporary or supported housing, and
  • they meet certain requirements. 

Some younger students may be able to claim Universal Credit, but this is not always possible. 

Students who are pension age

You can claim housing benefit to help with rent and rates if

  • you are of pension age, or
  • you are a member of a couple, and you are both of pension age.

Apply online or download a form from the Housing Executive's website. 

Younger students and housing benefit

If you are younger than pension age, you will only be able to make a new claim for housing benefit, if

  • you live in supported or temporary housing and
  • you are a part-time student, or
  • you are a full-time student but meet an exception.

Other students may be able to apply for Universal Credit. 

What are the exceptions?

You can apply for housing benefit if you are a full-time student who lives in supported or temporary housing and

  • you are under 19 and on a further education course (such as A levels or NVQ, but not higher education courses), or
  • someone is getting child benefit for you, or
  • you are solely responsible for a child, or
  • you get Income Support or Jobseeker's Allowance, or
  • you have a disability, or
  • you have been incapable of work for 28 weeks, or
  • you and your partner are both students and have a dependent child, or
  • your college has allowed you to take time away from your studies due to illness or caring responsibilities.

Students and Universal Credit

Most full-time students can’t get Universal Credit.

You can apply for Universal Credit if you’re a full-time student, and

  • You’re 21 or under, without any parental support and you’re studying a non-advance course full-time
  • You’re responsible for a child
  • You live with a partner who is eligible for Universal Credit
  • You are of Pension Credit age and live with a partner who is under that age
  • You receive certain disability benefits

Part-time students can apply for Universal Credit. Universal Credit is a work-focused benefit. It can include conditions that you look for work or attend interviews and training. You can lose your Universal Credit if you do not meet these conditions. 

Your student income may reduce the amount of help you get.

Couples where one person is a student

Your partner may be able to apply for housing benefit or Universal Credit to help pay your rent. 

Any grants or loans that you receive can reduce the amount of help that your partner will get. 

Get advice if you are a student who needs help to pay rent.