Housing Benefit for students

Most full-time students are not entitled to Housing Benefit, however there are some exceptions.

Part-time students can usually claim.

The rules regarding students and benefits are complicated, so if you are unsure whether you’re entitled to help with your rent it’s always best to seek advice. Advisers at your university or college welfare service will have specialist knowledge about claiming benefits as a student. You may be able to get less specialised advice from Shelter Cymru or a Citizens Advice Bureau.

See advice near you section for a local Shelter Cymru advice surgery.

Am I a full time student?

You are a full time student if:

  • you are under 19 and on a course that is more advanced than A levels, NVQ level 3 or BTEC diploma, and
  • are between 19 and retirement age and on a course of more than 16 hours per week (this is not just lecture or tutorial time but includes study time too).

If you are unsure about whether you’re a full-time student, speak to someone at your college or university.

Can I claim Housing Benefit?

You may be able to claim Housing Benefit if:

  • you are on a part-time course
  • you are disabled
  • you are responsible for children
  • you are a lone foster carer
  • you are under 21 and not in higher education (for example, studying A-levels at college)
  • you are under 20 and someone is getting Child Benefit for you
  • you are getting Income Support, income-related Employment & Support Allowance or income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • you are receiving a state pension
  • you leave your course temporarily because of illness or caring responsibilities
  • you live in supported accommodation and receive Universal Credit

If you think you may be eligible for Housing Benefit speak to an adviser. Don’t stop paying your rent until you have received confirmation that you will be entitled to benefit, and how much you will get. It can take a long time for a claim to be processed. If you stop paying your rent and later find out that you are not entitled to benefit, or you are entitled to less than you thought, you could end up with serious rent arrears.

If you are a full-time student and do not fall into the categories above, you will probably not be entitled to Housing Benefit.

Can my partner claim Housing Benefit?

If you live with a partner who is not a student, they may able to claim Housing Benefit. However, your income, for example your student grant or loan, will be taken into account, and may reduce the amount of benefit that your partner is entitled to.

What if it’s not me who has to pay the rent?

If you live in a house where someone else, who is not your partner, is liable for the rent, your student income will not be taken into account during term-time if they claim Housing Benefit.

If you work full-time (over 16 hours per week) during the summer holidays, your income will be taken into account and their Housing Benefit will be reduced as if you were contributing to their rent. This is a called a non-dependant deduction.

Phone an adviser

If you have a housing problem, call our expert housing advice helpline
0345 075 5005

Email an adviser

If you have a non-urgent problem and would like to speak to an advisor
email us

We are sorry that we cannot provide this information in Welsh, however if you would like to speak to an adviser in Welsh please contact 0345 075 5005.

This page was last updated on: June 3, 2017

Shelter Cymru acknowledges the support of Shelter in allowing us to adapt their content. The information contained on this site is updated and maintained by Shelter Cymru and only gives general guidance on the law in Wales. It should not be regarded or relied upon as a complete or authoritative statement of the law.