Coronavirus: council service information and advice

Information about changes to council services as a result of coronavirus

The questions below are those most frequently asked by students about housing benefit. If they don't answer your question, find us on the contact us page under housing benefit.

Here are some other sites for more help managing your finances:

  • the Portsmouth University website's student section, MyPort, and click on 'Money'
  • Advice Portsmouth , part of the You Trust, provides both general and specialist advice on debt, housing, welfare and employment from their office in Kingston Crescent
  • Citizens Advice Bureau has a debt advice centre near Portsmouth & Southsea railway station and an office in Cosham . 

A student is a person attending a course of study at an educational establishment. 

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

Students funded by the National Health Service can claim housing benefit under the same rules that apply to other students.

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?'

You may be able to claim housing benefit but it depends on your circumstances.

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.

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:

  1. Asking the council to review its decision
  2. Appealing to an independent Tribunal
  3. Seeking leave to appeal to the Upper Tribunal

Follow the link for more details on each stage of the housing benefits complaints procedure