While part-time students can receive housing benefit, most students on a full-time course are not entitled to this help. The Housing Executive will use the college or university's description of the course, rather than the number of hours you spend studying, to decide if a course is part-time or full-time.
Part time students and housing benefit
Part time students can receive housing benefit. When you apply, the Housing Executive will look at your income, your capital and your savings before deciding how much, if any benefit you will be entitled to. Your claim will be treated the same as any other claim for housing benefit.
Full time students and housing benefit
Full time students are not normally entitled to any housing benefit. However, there are exceptions and you may be able to claim housing benefit if:
- you are under 19 and on a further education course (such as A levels or NVQ, but not higher education courses)
- you are under 20 and child benefit is payable in your name
- you are a lone parent
- you are solely responsible for a child
- you are receiving Income Support or Jobseeker's Allowance
- you are disabled, including students with deafness
- you have been incapable of work for 28 weeks
- you are a parent of a dependent child whose partner is also a full time student
- you are over 60
- you are absent from your studies due to caring responsibilities or illness with the prior approval of the college you are attending.
If you meet any of these exceptions you might be entitled to some housing benefit. The rules for working out how much housing benefit you'll get are different for people who rent their home from a private landlord or agent and for people who rent from the Housing Executive or a housing association.
Partners of students
If you're a student, but live with a partner who is not a student, your partner can apply for housing benefit. Your partner will be assessed in the same way that any other applicant for housing benefit will be. The Housing Executive will add any student loan or grant you receive into the household's income when working out how much, if any, housing benefit your partner is entitled to. Working out your benefits can be really confusing, but there are lots of great advice agencies throughout Northern Ireland who can help with any problems. Use our Advice Services Directory to find an adviser near you.