Inverclyde Financial Inclusion Partnership
Summary of Under-Occupancy Changes to Housing Benefit Rules from April 2013


Welfare reforms will cut the amount of benefit that people can get if they are deemed to be over accommodated in their housing association home.
The Government has said that it will introduce new size criteria for housing benefit claims in social housing. This will apply from April 2013 to tenants of working age.

What do the changes mean?

The size criteria in the social rented sector will restrict housing benefit to allow for one bedroom for each person or couple living as part of the household.
One bedroom is allowed for:

• each adult or adult couple
• any other adult aged 16 or over
• any two children of the same sex aged under 16 years
• any two children aged under 10 (expected to share regardless of gender)
• any other child
• Disable tenant or partner who needs a non resident overnight carer will be allowed an extra bedroom
Where a child expected to share a room with another child with disabilities would suffer disturbed sleep as a result of the disabilities/ care needs will be allowed an extra bedroom – This is expected to be an exception

Who will be affected?

All claimants who are deemed to have at least one spare bedroom will be affected. This includes:

• Separated parents who share the care of their children and who may have been allocated an extra bedroom to reflect this. Benefit rules mean that there must be a designated ‘main carer’ for children (who receives the extra benefit)
• Couples who use their ‘spare’ bedroom when recovering from an illness or operation
• Foster carers because foster children are not counted as part of the household for benefit purposes
• Parents whose children visit but are not part of the household
• Families with disabled children
• Disabled people, including those living in adapted properties.

How much will people lose?

The cut will be a fixed percentage of the Housing Benefit eligible rent and will be set at 14% for one extra bedroom and 25% for two or more extra bedrooms. Housing association tenants are expected to lose approximately £14 every week.

A fuller version of this information can be found by downloading the full article as a Microsoft Word document here or an Adobe Acrobat PDF Document here (both links will open in a new window)

For further information contact Inverclyde Council by email at: