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Changes to housing benefit

From April 2013, if you live in a council or housing association home and you have one or more 'spare' bedrooms your housing benefit may be reduced.

What is a 'spare' bedroom?

Under the new government rules, if you have more bedrooms than they say you need, you will lose part of your housing benefit. From April 2013 you will be allocated one bedroom for:

  • Each 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 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.

This could affect you:

  • If you are aged from 16 up until state retirement age.
  • Even if you only get a small amount of housing benefit: for example, if you are working even if you are sick or disabled.

You won't be affected if, either:

  • You live in a one bedroom flat or bedsit.
  • You or your partner are old enough to receive pension credits. In April 2013 the pension credit age will be around 63 and a half years.

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.
  • The main residence of your children is another address, but you have a spare room for when they stay with you.

Who is exempt?

You may be exempt if:

  • Additional room/s are required by children who are unable to share a room for medical reasons.
  • Additional room/s required by approved foster carers whether or not a child has been placed with them or they are between placements, so long as they have fostered a child, or become an approved foster carer in the last 12 months. (Speak to your social worker for more details).
  • Adult children who are in Armed Forces but who continue to live with parents will be treated as continuing to live at home even when deployed on operations.

How much will I lose?

If you have one spare bedroom, you will lose 14% in housing benefit which equates to an average of £11 less towards your rent each week. If you have two or more spare bedrooms you will lose 25% which equates to an average of £20 less towards your rent each week.

What are my options?

Talk to the council housing team on 0141 577 4993 / 3719 / 3722 about transferring to a smaller home or a mutual exchange, or taking in a lodger. You may be entitled to priority for moving to a smaller property.

Get a free benefit health check to make sure you are claiming all the benefits you are eligible for:

You may be eligible to apply for a Discretionary Housing Payment, full details on our benefits advice page:

Get in touch with your local citizens advice bureau on 0141 881 2032 or other local advice agencies:

Try to find some paid work to increase your income by contacting the council's WorkER team on 0141 577 8438:

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