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Welfare reform - under occupation

From April 2013 the government has introduced changes to Housing Benefit for people of working age who rent a home from a Registered Social Landlord. The changes affect those tenants who have 1 or more spare bedrooms in their home. These changes are being referred to as the Social Sector Size Criteria or ‘under-occupation’ rules,

The new rules apply to people of working age, who have one or more bedrooms above their housing need. Those with one extra room will receive a 14% cut in their housing benefit, and those with two or more spare rooms will receive a 25% cut in the amount of housing benefit they are able to receive

Bedroom need is defined as;

  • one room for each adult or couple
  • one room for two children of the same gender aged under 16
  • one room for two children aged 10 or under, regardless of gender

A bedroom for a non-resident carer is allowed where they provide regular overnight care to a person with a disability. However, exceptions will not be made in most other instances, including cases where couples or individuals foster children.


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