The amount of Housing Benefit that can be paid depends on the amount of rent you're charged, less any deduction for spare rooms.
If you're a working age, Housing Benefit claimant, living in accommodation provided by a registered social landlord or a housing association, who has more bedrooms than your household needs, your eligible rent will be reduced.
You're entitled to one bedroom for:
- an adult couple
- 2 children under 16 of the same sex
- 2 children under 10 (regardless of sex)
- a single adult (16 or over)
- a child that would normally share but shared bedrooms are already taken, for example you have three children and two already share a room
- children who can't share because of a disability or medical condition
- a non-resident overnight carer for you or your partner (but only if they must stay overnight)
Foster children living in the property are not included as members of the household.
Rooms used by students and members of the armed or reserve forces will not be counted as 'spare' if they’re away and intend to return home.
You can find out the total number of bedrooms that your household is entitled to using the online bedroom entitlement calculator and compare this to the actual number of bedrooms in the property to work out whether you will be under-occupying the property.
If you're under-occupying the property by one bedroom a 14% reduction will be applied to your eligible rent, and for two or more bedrooms a 25% reduction will applied.
This means that if your rent is £80 a week and your household has one spare bedroom, your Housing Benefit will be reduced by £11.20 per week (14% of £80). You'll have to pay the £11.20 a week yourself to make up the shortfall. Two spare bedrooms would mean a £20 per week shortfall to pay.
If you can't pay and go into rent arrears, you should contact your Housing Officer immediately for help and advice.
The Valuation Office sets the rates of Housing Benefit for the period 1 April to 31 March of each financial year. This is determined by the area you live in.
The maximum Housing Benefit rate payable to a tenant is based on the number of bedrooms they are allowed. The number of living rooms, kitchens and bathrooms in the property is ignored (unless the tenant lives in shared accommodation).
One bedroom is allowed for each of the following:
- A single person aged 35 or over, or a couple
- Two children of the same sex under the age of 16
- Two children of the opposite sex under the age of 10
- Any other child
- Any other adult aged 16 years or over who is living with you
- A non-resident carer
You can use the bedroom entitlement calculator to find out how many bedrooms your household needs.
You won't always receive the full Housing Benefit rate because other factors affect the level of your entitlement, including:
- Who lives with you
- How much rent you're actually liable to pay
- How much money you have coming in
- What savings you have
- Whether you're under 35 years old
|Number of bedrooms||Rate per week|
Housing Benefit is paid directly to the tenant to encourage you to be responsible for your own money. However it is recognised that some tenants may struggle with the responsibility of paying the rent themselves.
If a tenant is in arrears of 8 weeks or more with their rent to the Landlord, payment of Housing Benefit will be made to the Landlord. The Landlord must provide a rent statement as proof of arrears, and the details of any payments that have been made.
If a tenant or their representative thinks they are likely to have difficulty managing their money, they can request Housing Benefit is paid to the Landlord, with reasons as to why they cannot manage their money. Please note you may be asked to provide evidence to support your application.
To request payments direct to a landlord, please complete the online form.
Single people aged under 35
Housing Benefit entitlement is restricted to the shared accommodation rate of Housing Benefit.
However there are exemptions to the shared accommodation rate for single claimants under the age of 35
You may not be restricted to the shared accommodation rate if you:
- Have a non-dependant living in the household
- Receive the middle or higher rate of Disability Living Allowance and qualify for a severe disability premium
- Have an additional bedroom and there is an established need for a non-resident overnight carer
- Are blind
- Are aged under 22 and were formerly in the care of social services
In addition to the above, there are further exemptions to the shared accommodation rate for those who are aged between 25 to 34 and:
- have spent three months or more in a homeless hostel which assists in rehabilitation and resettlement
- are at risk of sleeping rough
- are ex-offenders placed with a multi agency under the Criminal Justice Act 2003
If you think one of the exemptions may apply to you, you can print the under 35 exemption claim form and send it to us using the evidence upload form. Please note you may be asked to provide evidence to support your application.
Additional room for a non-resident carer
An additional room is allowed for a non-resident carer where:
- There is an established need for overnight care and that care is provided by someone who isn't part of the household
- The property has an actual additional bedroom which is used for the non-resident carer to sleep in
If you think you meet the above criteria, please complete the non-resident overnight carer form. You may be asked to provide further information, e.g. from a GP, to confirm the details.
When an adult, other than your partner, lives with you, they are called a non-dependant. If you have a non-dependant living in your home, your Housing Benefit may be reduced by a certain amount each week depending on their circumstances.
These are listed below:
|Non-dependant status||Housing Benefit deduction||Council Tax Reduction deduction|
|Under 18 / on a youth- or work-based training allowance / a full time student / a prisoner||Nil||Nil|
|In receipt of Pension Credits||Nil||Nil|
|Hospital in-patient for 52 weeks or more, or someone whose normal home is elsewhere||Nil||Nil|
|Under 25, and on Income Support or Jobseeker's Allowance (income based), Employment Support Allowance (income related, assessment phase), or Universal Credit||Nil||Nil|
|Under 25, and in receipt of Employment Support Allowance (income related, main phase)||£14.65||Nil|
|Aged 25 or over, and on Income Support, Jobseeker's Allowance (income based), or Employment Support Allowance (income related assessment phase or main phase)||£14.65||Nil|
|On Jobseekers Allowance (contribution based), or Employment Support Allowance (contribution based, assessment phase or main phase)||£14.65||£3.77|
|Working less than 16 hours||£14.65||£3.77|
|On maternity, paternity, adoption or sick leave||£14.65||£3.77|
Working 16 hours or more (i.e. in paid work) and gross income is:
- less than £133.00
The appropriate deduction will be taken off the eligible rent before your Housing Benefit is assessed. It's your responsibility to make up this shortfall.
If you or your partner is registered blind or in receipt of Disability Living Allowance (Care), Attendance Allowance, or the Daily Living Component of Personal Independent Payment, there will be no non-dependant deductions made from your Housing Benefit and Council Tax Reduction.