Do you claim housing benefit to help pay your rent? Do you have more rooms than the Government says you need? If so, you'll potentially lose some of your housing benefit as the Government's reduced the amount of housing benefit some people can now claim. This is called Bedroom Tax.
This could affect you if you’re aged between 16 and the current female state pension age, even if you only claim a small amount of benefit or you’re sick or disabled.
This won’t affect you if you live in a one bedroom flat or bedsit, or you or your partner receive pension credits (in April 2013 the pension credit age will be around 61 years and 6 months).
Under the new rules, if you’ve got more bedrooms than the Government thinks you need, you’ll lose part of your housing benefit. The rules allow you to have 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 if they're a boy or girl
- Any other child
- A carer (who does not normally live with you) if you or your partner need overnight care.
The rules apply even if you and your partner need to sleep apart for medical reasons, or your child's main home is somewhere else, even if they stay with you regularly.
To work out how this might affect you, have a look at our Benefits calculator page.
If you want to talk to us about any of this, please get in touch and we'll be happy to help.
So what are your options?
If you’re able to find a job and pay your rent, so you don’t claim housing benefit, the bedroom tax will not apply to you.
We could help you manage your money and make sure you claim the benefits you’re entitled to.
You could make a claim for a discretionary housing grant, as some additional help for a short time only.
If you think you could be affected by the bedroom tax, you may want to think about getting a lodger. Please give us a call if you want to know more about this.
If you want to start looking for a home with fewer bedrooms, so you meet the new rules, you could register for a move with your local Choice Based Lettings scheme or find someone to swap homes with you.
We may even be able help with the cost of moving if you can free up a home so another family can move in.
To look for an exchange, register on Homeswapper, it shows you who's looking to move across the country. It's free to use if you live in one of our homes.