Housing benefit for students - Frequently asked questionsLast updated: 29 April 2013 12:22 UK
The questions below are those most frequently asked by students about housing benefit. If they don't answer your question, contact us by following the link and scrolling to 'housing benefit'.
Here are some other sites for more help managing your finances:
- Student finance centre on the Portsmouth University website
- Advice Portsmouth funded by Portsmouth City Council provides both general and specialist advice on debt, housing, welfare and employment
- Citizens Advice Bureau has a debt advice centre near Portsmouth & Southsea railway station and a Cosham office.
What is the definition of a 'student' for housing benefit purposes?
A student is a person attending a course of study at an educational establishment.
Which students can claim housing benefit?
Most full-time students cannot claim housing benefit because they are expected to use other money to pay their rent, such as a grant, student loan or access funding. Some students may be able to claim, if they:
- are studying part-time
- are responsible for a child or young person (as part of a couple or on your own)
- are a single foster parent
- are 60 or over, or their partner is
- are under 19 and not in higher education
- get income support or income-based jobseeker's allowance
- meet the conditions for a disability premium (these are allowances we use to work out benefit for people who meet certain conditions)
- qualify for a disabled student's allowance because of deafness
- have not been able to work for 28 weeks (Jobcentre Plus decides who is 'incapable of work')
- have a partner who is not a student (they need to claim, not you)
- have to interrupt a course (for maximum one year), with the approval of the college or university, due to illness or caring responsibilities
Can student nurses claim housing benefit?
Students funded by the National Health Service can claim housing benefit under the same rules that apply to other students.
Can students from abroad claim housing benefit?
The council needs to see information on immigration status from all students from abroad before we can deal with their housing benefit claims.
Students from outside Europe will probably not be able to claim housing benefit, even if they are in one of the groups of students listed above as being able to claim housing benefit. Some individual students may be eligible for housing benefit depending on the conditions under which came into this country.
Students from Europe can only claim housing benefit if they fall into one of the categories listed under 'Which students can claim housing benefit?'
I have to maintain two homes, can I claim housing benefit?
You may be able to claim housing benefit but it depends on your circumstances.
If I can claim, how much will I get?Working out housing benefit for students is complicated and depends on your income. We work out your income as if you get the full amount of student loan available to you, even if you don't actually receive it all. We ignore the first £10 a week, but we don't count loan income for students who cannot get student loans, such as those with bursaries for nursing or midwifery diploma courses. For non-diploma nursing students we count any grant and the full amount of loan income in the same way that we do for students in general.
Is there a complaints procedure if I think the decision about my housing benefit is wrong?
You can always ask the council to let you know how they reached their housing benefit decision. You can sometimes do this over the phone, or you can ask the council to provide a written 'statement of reasons'. If these reasons don't satisfy you, there is a three stage complaints procedure:
- Asking the council to review its decision
- Appealing to an independent Tribunal
- Seeking leave to appeal to the Upper Tribunal
Follow the link for more details on each stage of the housing benefits complaints procedure.