The Government has introduced a size criteria for working-age Housing Benefit claimants living in the social rented sector.
If you live in a property with more bedrooms than you require you will see the eligible rent used to calculate your Housing Benefit reduced by:
- 14% if you have one spare bedroom
- 25% if you have two or more bedrooms
How is the number of bedrooms I need worked out?
Housing Benefit allow a bedroom for each of the following people in your household:
- Each adult couple
- Any other person aged 16 or over
- Children who can't share because of a disability or medical condition
- Two children of the same sex under the age of 16
- Two children under the age of 10 regardless of their sex
- Any other child
- A carer (who does not normally live with you) if you or your partner need overnight care.
- An approved foster carer who is between placements, but only for up to 52 weeks from the end of the last placement, or a newly approved foster carer for up to 52 weeks from the date of approval if no child is placed with them during that time.
- Adult children who are a student or serving in the Armed Forces (even when deployed on operations) as long as they intend to return home will be treated as occupying a bedroom.
- Households with disabled children who receive Disability Living Allowance (middle or high rate care component) and cannot share a bedroom because of their disability.
Situations when you won't be allowed a bedroom.
If you have a child that stays at your property on an occasional basis, such as at weekends. For example, if a child spends most of the week with their mother, who also claims the child benefit, the father will not be allowed an extra bedroom as part of his bedroom calculation.
If you and your partner need to sleep in separate bedrooms because of a medical condition, you won't be allowed a bedroom.
Are there any exemptions for disabled people?
There is no general exemption for disabled people, as the Government has said that there is already sufficient allowance for disabled people through allowing an extra room for tenant's with an overnight carer. The only exception at the moment is people living in supported accommodation, however St Leger Homes does not offer this type of accommodation.
I am going to struggle to pay the shortfall in my Housing Benefit. What are my options?
Click here to find out ways to manage with the under occupancy deduction.