From 1 April 2013 if you are of working age, in a housing association owned property and have one or more ‘spare’ bedrooms, your Housing Benefit may be reduced.
You will be affected if:
- you are of working age (which is from the age of 16 until you receive your state pension)
- you get any Housing Benefit, even if it’s a small amount
You will not be affected if:
- you or your partner have received your state pension
- you part-own the property under a shared ownership lease
- you have been placed in temporary accommodation by us under the homelessness legislation of the Housing Act 1996
What is classed as a ‘spare’ bedroom?
The new rules mean that a bedroom will be classed as ‘spare’ unless it is being used by:
- an adult couple
- any other person aged 16 or over
- two children of the same sex under the age of 16
- two children under the age of ten regardless of their sex
- any other child
- a carer (who does not normally live with you) if you or your partner need overnight care
- a foster child
Foster children do not count as part of your household when calculating your benefit award.
It does not matter how the ‘spare’ bedroom is used, the new rules will apply even if:
- you and your partner need to sleep apart because of a medical condition
- your children mainly live at another address, but you have a spare room for when they stay with you
What if you or your partner has a disability?
The only time that housing benefit may be paid for a ‘spare’ bedroom due to you or your partner’s disability is where:
- you have a carer who lives elsewhere, and
- you or your partner receive the middle or high rate care as part of the of Disability Living Allowance and need overnight care
- the carer uses the extra bedroom to stay overnight on a regular basis to provide care for you or your partner
What if I have a disabled child?
If your child is receiving the middle or high rate of care as part of their Disability Living Allowance and has a medical condition that, in the opinion of a doctor, makes it impossible for them to share a room with another child then an additional room may be allowed.
How much will you lose?
If you have one spare bedroom your housing benefit will be cut by 14% each week. If you have two or more spare bedrooms your housing benefit will be cut by 25% each week.
Where your benefit has been cut it will be up to you to pay the difference to stop you getting behind with your rent payments. You will need to make the payments direct to your landlord.