Reduction to Housing Benefit or 'Bedroom Tax'
What are the changes?
The government has decided that from April 2013 current and future working age tenants renting from a housing association or other registered social landlord may have their Housing Benefit reduced if they have one or more spare bedrooms.
Note: These changes do not affect pension age customers. Pension age is currently 62+ years old.
How many bedrooms is my household allowed?
The government has provided a set calculation for working out the number of bedrooms a household needs. Based on this calculation you need to count one bedroom for the following people:
- A single claimant or adult couple.
- Any other single adult aged 16 or over.
- Two children under age 10 regardless of gender.
- Two children of the same gender aged up to 15.
- Any other child.
- A carer (who does not normally live with you) if you or your partner need overnight care.
- Foster carers will be allowed one additional room, so long as they have fostered a child or become an approved foster carer within the last 52 weeks.
- Parents with adult children in the armed forces (or reservists) who normally live with them will be able to retain the bedroom for that adult child when they are deployed on operations.
An extra room can be allowed where the Benefits Service is satisfied that a child is unable to share a bedroom because of a disability or medical condition.
Extra bedrooms are not allowed for children who visit the household at weekends.
This means that those tenants whose accommodation is larger than they need may lose part of their Housing Benefit.
Use the government's Benefits calculators to find out how many bedrooms your household is allowed.
How much benefit will I lose?
- Those with one spare bedroom will lose 14 per cent of their Housing Benefit.
- Those with two or more spare bedrooms will lose 25 per cent.
Example 1: A couple live in a 3 bedroom house and have one child age 3. Based on the new rules the household would only be entitled to 2 bedrooms so their Housing Benefit would be reduced by £11 per week (£572 per year).
Example 2: A couple live in a 3 bedroom house with their son aged 14 and daughter aged 17. Based on the new rules their Housing Benefit will not be affected as they are entitled to have 3 bedrooms.
Example 3: A single parent lives in a three bedroom house with her sons aged 6 and 8. Based on the new rules the household would only be entitled to 2 bedrooms so their Housing Benefit will be reduced by £11 per week (£572 per year).
Example 4: A couple live in a 4 bedroom house with their daughter aged 5 and son aged 7. The husband's son aged 16 comes to stay at weekends. Based on the new rules they will only be entitled to 2 bedrooms. Their daughter and youngest son would be expected to share a room and the eldest son would not be counted as he only stays at the weekend. The couple would have their benefit reduced by£20 per week (£1,040 per year).
Where can I go for advice and support?
Contact your landlord and they will provide advice and support to help you plan for these changes.