When everyone has a home

Housing advice for Northern Ireland

Who can claim Universal Credit?

You can claim universal credit if

  • You live in an area where this benefit is offered and
  • You are over 18 and under pension age
  • You are over pension age but your partner is under pension age

You can’t claim universal credit if

  • You are a student, although there are some exceptions
  • You are a foreign national who does not have a right to reside in the UK or is not habitually resident
  • You are under 18
  • You have more than 2 children, (although this will change from 1 February 2019).

Residence and nationality requirements

In order to claim Universal Credit, you must be habitually resident in Northern Ireland.

If you are not from the United Kingdom or Ireland, it’s not enough to physically be in Northern Ireland. You must also show that you have a right to reside here.

  • If you are a refugee, you have a right to reside.
  • If you are an EEA national, you should be able to claim Universal Credit if you, or a family member is working or if you are temporarily unable to work due to illness. EEA nationals can also claim in certain other circumstances. However, this is a complicated area of law, so please speak to an adviser if you’re need help.

People who have arrived in Northern Ireland from outside the EEA and who don’t have refugee status will only be able to claim if they are allowed to access public funds. Talk to an immigration adviser if you aren’t sure about your status.


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 are disabled with limited capability for work and receive PIP, DLA, Attendance Allowance or an Armed Forces Independence Payment

Part-time students can apply for Universal Credit, but will have to show that they can meet the conditions set out in their claimant commitment, such as being available for work.

If you are a student and you are assessed for Universal Credit, your student income may reduce the amount of help you get.

Large families

You can’t currently claim Universal Credit if you have more than 2 children. Instead, you can claim other benefits such as Housing Benefit, Income Support, Jobseeker’s Allowance or Employment and Support Allowance.

From 1 February 2019 larger families will be able to claim Universal Credit