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When everyone has a home

Housing advice for Northern Ireland

Who can claim housing benefit

You can only make a new claim for Housing Benefit if 

  • you are of pension age or
  • you live in certain types of housing, such as supported housing or temporary housing.

Most people who need to make a new claim for help to pay rent will have to claim Universal Credit. 

Housing benefit cannot cover mortgage payments. You may be able to get a loan to help with your mortgage interest costs from Support for Mortgage Interest

Can you claim housing benefit?

You can only make a new claim for Housing Benefit if

  • you are of pension age, or
  • you are a couple, and both of you have reached pension age, or
  • you are living in supported or temporary housing.

Other people can get help to pay rent from Universal Credit. 

Already claiming housing benefit and need to move?

You can transfer your current Housing Benefit claim to your new address. You do not have to claim Universal Credit if the only change in your circumstances is that you are moving to a new home. 

How to apply for Housing Benefit

You can only apply for Housing Benefit 

  • if you are of pension age or
  • you live in supported or temporary housing.

If none of these apply, you should apply for Universal Credit. Get advice if you are not sure which benefit to apply for. 

Apply for Housing Benefit online, or download a form from the Housing Executive's website.  Post your completed form to the Housing Executive. 

You will only receive Housing Benefit if

  • you have to pay rent and rates, and
  • you are not restricted from claiming because of your immigration status and
  • you have a low income, and
  • your assets or savings are below £16,000. 

Get advice from Housing Rights if your housing benefit claim is refused.

How is your claim affected by your savings and assets?

Your capital can reduce the amount of housing benefit you will get. Capital means savings and assets, like property. 

Your housing benefit will stop if 

  • you have savings or assets worth £16,000 or more and
  • you do not get the guarantee element of pension credit.

Your housing benefit will be reduced if you 

  • are over pension age and
  • do not get the guarantee element of pension credit. and
  • have savings or assets worth £10,000 or more

Your housing benefit will be reduced if you

  • are under pension age and
  • have savings or assets worth £6,000 or more

The Housing Executive can ignore or disregard some capital. 

What capital can be ignored or disregarded?

The following capital can be ignored or disregarded:

  • the value of the home you live in
  • the value of your personal possessions; car, jewellery et
  • business assets if you are working as a self-employed person
  • business assets if you are self-employed but cannot work due to illness. (In this case, assets will only be disregarded for 26 weeks)

The value of a property that you own, but do not live in can be ignored

  • forever if a family member who is of pension age or incapacitated lives there
  • forever if your former partner still lives there and is a lone parent
  • for 26 weeks if you cannot live there because of a relationship breakdown
  • for 26 weeks from the date you took steps to sell the property

Other types of savings and assets can also be ignored. 

Get advice if you cannot get housing benefit, because you have too much capital. 

Students and housing benefit

You may be able to get housing benefit as a student if

  • you are over pension age, or
  • you live in supported or temporary housing and meet certain conditions.

Get advice from Housing Rights if you are a student who needs to apply for housing benefit.