Housing benefit for under 35s
If you're single, under 35, with no dependents and you rent from a private landlord and claim housing benefit, you'll receive housing benefit at the same rate as for a single room in a shared house. This is called the 'shared accommodation rate'.
The shared accommodation rate
The shared accommodation rate is the amount of housing allowance in your area paid to you if you are:
- under 35
- have no dependants and
- rent from a private landlord.
This means that you will only be entitled to enough local housing allowance to cover the average cost of a single room in a shared house in your area. You'll receive local housing allowance at this rate even if you rent by yourself.
Check how much is the shared accommodation rate in your area by using the local housing allowance calculator.
Exceptions to the shared accommodation rate
If you rent in the private sector the shared accommodation rate may not apply if you:
- are a single parent
- are living with a husband, wife, civil partner or partner (including a same sex partner)
- are under 22 and have spent time in care since the age of 16
- are severely disabled
- live with a non-dependant (someone over the age of 18 who is not your husband, wife, civil partner or partner)
- receive employment and support allowance credits only (instead of contribution-based or income-based employment and support allowance)
- are aged between 25 to 34 and have been living in a homeless hotel or hostels for three months and have been offered support to help you become resettled into the community
- are aged between 25 to 34 and are an ex-offender who is still considered a risk to the public.
If you fall into one of these categories you should receive local housing allowance for the whole of your flat or house.
If you were able to pay your own rent when you moved into your home, and you have not claimed local housing allowance in the past year, the shared accommodation rate won't be applied to you for the first 13 weeks of your claim, if you claim local housing allowance now.
There are no deductions made from the shared accommodation rate for charges that would not be paid by housing benefit if you were 35 or over, such as charges for heating, hot water, lighting or cooking.
If you rent from the council or a housing association the shared accommodation rate won't apply to you. You'll get housing benefit instead. See the page on how housing benefit is calculated to find out how much benefit you could receive. You might find the benefits for young people page useful, as it talks about income support and tax credits, plus loans or grants as ways to boost your income.