When you’re homeless, you are entitled to certain benefits, such as Universal Credit. There are lots of different benefits and it can feel daunting to apply for them, but it’s worth it and you can get support to fill in the forms.
On this page, you can find out more about information about how to claim benefits. Even if you are homeless and have no fixed address or bank account, you can receive benefits.
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Can I claim benefits if I don’t have a fixed address?
Can I claim benefits if I don’t have a bank account?
What benefits can I get if I’m homeless?
How can I get Personal Independence Payments (PIP)?
How can I get an emergency loan or grant?
Yes. If you are sleeping rough or have no permanent address, you are still entitled to benefits. You can use the address of a friend or family member, a hostel or day centre, or even the local Job Centre on the application form.
Yes. If you don’t have a bank account, you can still get benefits. You can arrange to have them paid into the account of someone you trust.
Find out how you can set up a bank account with no fixed address.
You can use a benefits calculator to see what you might be able to claim. Here are two:
Here are some of the benefits you might be eligible for.
One of the main benefits you could be eligible for is Universal Credit. This is usually paid monthly and is available if you’re out of work or on a low income and aged 18 or over.
You may be entitled to additional Universal Credit payments if you:
- are homeless and have a child
- have housing costs
- have a health condition or disability.
Universal Credit is a single payment that replaced a variety of 'older style' benefits, including Housing Benefit. So, your Universal Credit payment can include additional payments for housing. The amount you receive will depend on which area you live in. If you are sleeping rough, your payment amounts may be lower.
You can apply for Universal Credit online. You will need to provide information such as your address (this could be the address of a day centre if you don’t have a fixed address), your email address, phone number, bank account and identification (ID) such as a passport or a driving licence.
You can get help with setting up an email address at the Job Centre or Citizens Advice. And if you don’t have any ID, you can contact the Universal Credit helpline and they’ll help you make your claim.
Contact Citizens Advice to get help making your claim. Their Help to Claim advisors can talk you through the process.
Housing Benefit is only paid if you are in emergency or temporary accommodation or supported accommodation.
Most young people are eligible for the shared accommodation rate. It is based on Local Housing Allowance (LHA), which means it will be different depending on where you live.
You can apply for Housing Benefit through your local council.
If you receive Universal Credit, you can get additional payments for housing.
These are regular payments to help with the cost of raising children under the age of 16 (or up to 20 if they are still in education).
Personal Independence Payment (PIP) replaced Disability Living Allowance (DLA) in 2013. PIP can pay for extra living costs if you have both:
- a long-term physical or mental health condition or disability
- difficulty doing everyday tasks or getting around because of your condition.
You can get PIP even if you’re working, have savings or are getting other benefits.
It can take a long time to claim PIP. You’ll need to give lots of detailed information, as well as complete an assessment.
Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
This benefit gives you financial support if you have a disability or health condition that affects how much you can work. You can claim it alongside Universal Credit.
If you’re struggling with money, you may be eligible for emergency loans and grants to help with essential costs of food, energy and housing.
Universal Credit advance payments
It can take up to five weeks to get your first Universal Credit payment. While you wait for the payment to be processed you can apply for a Universal Credit advance.
This is an interest free loan which is paid back from your Universal Credit payments each month. That means that while you’re paying it off, your Universal Credit payments will be lower.
You cannot claim a larger advance payment than your first monthly Universal Credit Payment.
You can apply for it by:
- asking your work coach at the Job Centre
- applying online through your Universal Credit account
- calling the Universal Credit helpline on 0800 328 5644.
Discretionary Housing Payment
If you can’t pay your full rent with Universal Credit or Housing Benefit, you can apply for a Discretionary Housing Payment (DHP).
This can also help to cover the cost of:
- a rent deposit
- rent in advance if you need to move home.
Contact your local authority to apply. It can be a complicated process, so it’s worth getting support to complete the application. Ask your support worker if you have one, or contact Citizens Advice.
Read more about Discretionary Housing Payments.
Apply for a grant
A grant is a fixed sum of money that you don’t have to pay back. It’s usually given for a specific item or service.
Use the Turn2us Grants Search to find out which grants you could be eligible for.
Budgeting Advances and Loans
If you have been receiving a low-income benefit for at least six months, you can apply for a Budgeting Advance. This is a sum of money for emergency or essential items (including food and clothes). You will have to pay this back.
- If you get Universal Credit, you can apply for a Budgeting Advance. To apply, ask your work coach at the Job Centre.
- If you get certain other low-income benefits you can apply for a Budgeting Loan. You can apply for a Budgeting Loan online.
When you receive benefits, you commit to certain conditions, such as attending meetings at the Job Centre or spending a certain amount of time looking for work. If you don’t do the things you agreed to with the Job Centre (these will be included in your claimant commitment), your benefits can be reduced or stopped for a period of time. This is called a benefit sanction.
If this happens, a Hardship Payment can help cover essential costs. It’s a loan, so you’ll have to pay it back. You can apply by:
- updating your Universal Credit account online
- talking to your Job Centre
- calling the Universal Credit helpline on 0800 328 5644.
Citizens Advice has lots of helpful information about Hardship Payments.
Learning how to budget can help you to feel more in control of your finances.
Our programme, Moneywise, will teach you how to make good financial choices.
You’ll learn how to:
- manage your money
- create a budget
- understand priority and non-priority bills
- save money.
Read more about Moneywise or contact our jobs and training team at JETreferral@centrepoint.org to find out more.
It’s important to know that when you earn over a certain amount of money, your benefits could be reduced. If you’re working part-time and are thinking of increasing your hours, speak to Citizens Advice or the Centrepoint Helpline to see how changing your working hours could have an impact on your benefits.