Can students claim Housing Benefit and Council Tax Support?

Most full-time students cannot claim Housing Benefit because the Government expects them to use other money like their grant, student loan or access funds to pay their rent. The Housing Benefit Regulations tell us that a student is a person who is attending a course of study at an educational establishment.

Most people if they need help with their rent costs will claim Universal Credit. More information and if you can claim as a student.

Only certain groups of people can claim Housing Benefit:

  • people with 3 or more dependent children
  • people living in accommodating where care , support and supervision is provided by their landlord
  • people placed in temporary accommodation by the local authority
  • people of pensionable age

Which students can claim Housing Benefit?

You may be able to claim if you are in one of the categories listed below:

  • disabled students (entitled to the severe disability premium)
  • students with a partner who is also a full-time student, and is in one of the groups mentioned above
  • pensioners - if you have reached pensionable age

Can students from abroad claim Housing Benefit?

If you are a student from Europe, you may be able to claim Housing Benefit if you fall into one of the categories of students listed earlier. See section 2.

If you come from outside Europe you will probably not be able to claim any Housing Benefit, even if you are in one of the groups of students who can. It depends on the conditions under which you came into this country.

For any student from abroad we will need information about your immigration status before we can deal with your claim.

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, and is in one of the groups mentioned above.

I have to maintain two homes - one at college and one at home. Can I claim Housing Benefit?

You may be able to claim Housing Benefit but it depends on your circumstances. If your property at home is left unoccupied whilst you are at college you can apply for an exemption from the Council Tax, provided that when it was last occupied it was your sole or main residence and that no one else, other than students lived there.

If I am a student who can claim Housing Benefit, how much will I get?

How much you will get varies, depending on your income. The only student income counted for benefit purposes is the student loan, the Adult Dependants Grant and certain bursaries. We will 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 of this money. Students who still get a bursary for nursing or midwifery diploma courses usually cannot get a student loan, so if this applies we don’t have to count any loan income.

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.

How do I claim benefit?

You can make a claim online.

What proof do I need to give you?

As well as your completed claim form, we may ask you for the following things to assess your claim:

  • your student support assessment showing the full breakdown
  • proof of all other income and savings
  • full details of your course, including term dates and which year of study you are in
  • proof of your rent
  • proof of your identity and National Insurance number
  • your last two original monthly bank statements.

The claim form tells you what we need, but if we need more information we’ll write to you and ask you for it.

What can I do if I don’t agree with your decision?

If you don’t agree with our decision, you can ask us to look at it again. Our letters tell you what your rights are.

Part B - Council Tax

Can students claim Council Tax Support?

You won’t normally have to pay Council Tax if you are a full time student and the only person in the property. If you are in a property that only students live in, you can claim an exemption from Council Tax. To do this, everyone in the property must provide their student certificates and a copy of the tenancy agreement to us. If we do not receive certificates for everyone in the property, we will issue a Council Tax bill.

For the purposes of Council Tax exemptions a student is someone who is:

  • undertaking a full time course of education where the course lasts at least one academic or calendar year. The student is required to study for at least 21 hours per week for 24 weeks at a prescribed educational establishment, for example: a university or college of further or higher education
  • under the age of 20 years and remains in further education. The course must last for at least 3 months during which the student is required to study for more than 12 hours per week
  • a practising foreign language assistant who is registered with the Central Bureau for Educational Visits and Exchange
  • a student nurse in full time education
  • school or college leavers who leave after the 30th April of an academic year qualify as students until 1st November in the same year

I live in a hall of residence. Will I have to pay Council Tax?

No, you won’t normally have to pay Council Tax if you are a student living in a hall of residence provided by your university or college.

I share my accommodation with other people who are not all students. Will I have to pay Council Tax?

No, you cannot be classed as jointly liable. The non-students will be jointly and severally liable for the Council Tax. The non-students in the household can claim benefits based on their income. If there is one or more student(s) and one non-student living in a property the non-student can claim a 25% discount from the Council Tax. A student discount form would need to be completed. You can do this online.

I’m a student from abroad and my partner is living with me. Do we have to pay Council Tax?

You may or may not have to pay Council Tax. You may be able to claim a full exemption from Council Tax. To qualify for this exemption your partner must be prevented from working or claiming benefits in this country. We will want to see your student certificate, visa and both passports.

What happens when students live in a property which is classed as a House in Multiple Occupation?

If a property is occupied by more than one family unit, where the residents pay rent separately for different parts of the property and perhaps share cooking or bathing facilities, the property may be classed as a house in multiple occupation.

The owner of the property is the liable person for Council Tax where the property is classed as a house in multiple occupation. The owner could apply for a property exemption, if the property is occupied wholly by students. Proof of student status would be required in the form of student certificates from all occupants and a copy of the tenancy agreements.

What happens if one of the students moves out of the property?

You will need to let us know of any changes in the occupants of the property. If a new occupant moves in and they are a student, proof of their ‘student status’ must be provided.

We will need to see their student certificate and the new tenancy agreement.

What if students leave a property empty during holidays?

If the property is used as term time accommodation, it will be regarded as being exempt during holiday periods if the students own or rent the property and have previously used or intend to use the property as term time accommodation.

What if I am unhappy with the decision?

If your application is refused you can ask us to review our decision. You can do this online. You must give the reasons for your dispute and provide any supporting evidence.

We will look at our decision again and let you know if we are going to review our decision. If we decide not to allow your review, you have the right to appeal.