Who Can Claim?
Housing benefit is paid to help you pay towards your rent. The amount of housing benefit you receive will depend on your personal circumstances, including your income, savings, members of your household and the level of your rent.
If you are:
- On a low income, including low earnings
- Responsible for paying rent
- Your savings are less than £16,000 (different capital rules apply to people over 60)
You may be entitled to Housing Benefit.
For people aged between 16 and Pension Credit eligibility age, if you are assessed as having at least 1 extra bedroom in your house, your Housing Benefit could be reduced.
The criteria will allow one bedroom for each for the following:
- a couple
- a person who is not a child (aged 16 and over)
- two children of the same sex (under 16)
- two children who are under 10 (regardless of their sex but there may be exceptions for severely disabled children)
- any other child, (other than a foster child or child whose main home is elsewhere)
- a carer (or group of carers) providing overnight care
If you receive full or partial Housing Benefit and have spare rooms in your home you may be assessed as under-occupying your accommodation and a reduction could be made to your Housing Benefit. This reduction is based on a percentage of your eligible rent.
The Government has said that this reduction will be set at:
- 14% for one extra bedroom and
- 25% for two or more extra bedrooms
Example where maximum Housing Benefit is paid
Samantha and Greg have two children, Catherine who is 8 and Susan who is 6.
They live in a three bedroom apartment and currently receive £85 Housing Benefit a week to cover the full rent.
Under the new size limit rules they would only be entitled to Housing Benefit for two bedroom accommodation, one bedroom for themselves and one for Catherine and Susan who would be expected to share a room because they are both under 10.
The local authority would consider Samantha and Greg to be under-occupying their current accommodation by one bedroom and would apply a14% reduction. This would be a reduction of £11.90 per week so Housing Benefit would be £73.10 per week.
14% of £85 equates to £11.90 so this is the amount Samantha and Greg's' Housing Benefit would be reduced.
Example where partial Housing Benefit is paid
Phil and Natalie live alone in a three bedroom house, Phil works with take home pay of £210 per week and currently receive £22.20 Housing Benefit a week towards their rent of £83.00 per week.
Under the new size limit rules they would only be entitled to Housing Benefit for one bedroom accommodation.
The local authority would consider Phil and Natalie to be under-occupying their current accommodation by two bedrooms and would apply a 25% reduction. This would be a reduction of £20.75 per week so Housing Benefit would be £2.15 per week.
25% of £83 equates to £20.75 so this is the amount Phil and Natalie's' Housing Benefit would be reduced.
People won't be affected if they:
- Live in a one bedroom flat or bedsit, or if
- They have a home of an appropriate size
- They or their partner are old enough to receive pension credits
If you're a council tenant any housing benefit will be paid direct to your rent account.
As a housing association tenant, you can receive your housing benefit direct to your bank, 4 weekly in arrears, or, you can opt for payments to be made direct to your landlord.
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