How much can I receive?

To work out your Benefit entitlement the council will look at:

  • Housing Costs - Your rent and/or Council Tax charges.

  • Size of the property and who occupies it

  • Income - Money that you and your partner have coming in, including earnings, some benefits and tax credits and things like occupational pensions, your savings and your partner's savings - this also includes other capital such as stocks and shares and property, as well as bank or building society accounts.

  • Needs - Your circumstances, such as your age, the ages and size of your family and whether you or any of your family are disabled.

  • Non-Dependants - Whether anyone who lives with you could help with the rent.

Housing Costs

Private Tenants - For tenants on a low income living in private rented accommodation the Council will use the relevant Local Housing Allowance (LHA) rate to work out Housing Benefit.

LHA is a flat rate allowance towards rent costs based on:

  • The area you live in
  • Who lives with you
  • What money you have coming in
  • What savings you have

LHA is not based on the rent charged by your landlord, so the Housing Benefit you receive may be lower than the rent you are being charged.
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Under Occupation in Social Housing

Information for Council or Housing Association tenants.

Changes to Housing Benefit that came in to force from April 2013 may mean less benefit if you rent your home from the Council or a Housing Association. 

You could be affected:

  • If you have one or more spare bedrooms, and;
  • You are of working age and if you only receive a small amount of housing benefit (if you are working for example)

You won’t be affected If you live in:

  • a one bedroom property or bedsit
  • a shared ownership property
  • a houseboat or mobile home or other 'excluded tenancy' not registered with a housing association
  • temporary accommodation provided by the Council
  • various supported accommodation where you are provided with care, support or supervision

You will also not be affected if:

  • you or your partner are old enough to receive pension credits  
  • you are an approved foster carer
  • you have an adult child in the Armed Forces, who normally lives with you and is away on operations

What is meant by a 'spare bedroom'?

Your Housing Benefit will be calculated allowing 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
  • a carer (who does not normally live with you) if you or any other disabled person living in your home needs & regularly receives overnight care.

You may also be allowed an extra bedroom if: 

  • A child is unable to share a bedroom. it will be for the Council to satisfy themselves that this is the case - this could be for medical reasons and the child may be in receipt of Disability Living Allowance (various conditions apply).
  • From 1 April 2017 if you and your partner need to sleep apart because of a medical condition, a bedroom will be allowed for each of you.

Please contact the Housing Benefit Service if you think that either of these rules apply to you.

It does not matter how the 'spare bedroom' is used, the new rules will apply if;

  • the room is not used as a bedroom but could be, or
  • the main residence of your children is another address, but you have a spare room for when they stay with you.

What happens if you have a 'spare bedroom'?

  • one 'spare bedroom' - your housing benefit will be calculated by reducing the eligible weekly rent for your home by 14%.
  • two or more spare bedrooms - your housing benefit will be calculated by reducing the weekly eligible rent for your home by 25%.

You will have to pay your landlord the difference between your weekly housing benefit and your weekly rent (inclusive of any eligible services).

Example 1

Alex and Narinder live in a two-bedroom flat – the eligible rent is £70 per week. 

They have one spare bedroom.

Their eligible rent will be reduced by 14% of £70 = £60.20. Their income means they are entitled to full Housing Benefit and receive £60.20 per week meaning they need to pay £9.80 per week to their landlord to cover the full rent.

Example 2

Mr and Mrs Bell live with their teenage sons, aged 13 and 15, in a four bedroom house. Their rent (inclusive of eligible services) is £100 per week and as their children are expected to share rooms they are under occupied by two rooms.

Their eligible rent will be reduced by 25% of £100 = £75.00. Their income means they are entitled to full Housing Benefit of £75.00 per week and will need to pay £25.00 per week to their landlord to cover their full rent.  

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If you do not receive Income Support or Jobseeker's Allowance, we have to compare the money you have coming in (your income) to your needs. Your income will include an assumed income from any capital you have over £6,000. Your needs are worked out using the personal allowances and premiums for the members of your family who live with, and are dependent on you. You cannot get Council Tax Reduction if you (and your partner) have more than £16,000 (pensioners) £6000 (working age) in savings or capital, but the rules covering this are different for some pensioners - please contact us for more information.

If you are working for an employer you will need to give us either five weeks, two months or three fortnightly wage slips (depending on the frequency you are paid) to work out your average earnings. Earnings are worked out after allowing for Income Tax, National Insurance contributions and half of any pension contributions that you make.

If you are self-employed we will need to see your accounts and income tax documentation. All other income is taken into account on a weekly basis, including state benefits, private pensions and maintenance payments. Some types of income are ignored either in full or in part when working out how much we can pay you.
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Personal Allowances

These are the 2019/2020 allowances which we use to calculate your benefit entitlement:

Housing Benefit amounts for 2020/2021 (DOC, 222KB)

Council Tax Reduction amounts 2020-2021 (DOC, 208KB)

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Deductions for Non-Dependants

You may be getting less Benefit because of people living with you. These could be:

  • Children who have left school
  • Relatives
  • Friends

These people are called non-dependants. If they are over 18, the they are expected  to pay a share of your housing costs. The government and the council will set the amounts, which we must take off your Benefit. This deduction is based on the non-dependants gross weekly income (pay before stoppages plus any other income including benefits). You must let us know if there are any non-dependants living with you.

Only use the amounts shown as a guide.

Deductions for Non-Dependants aged 18 or over:

Housing Benefit Non Dependant Deductions 2020-2021 (DOCX, 14KB)

Council Tax Reduction Non Dependant Deductions 2020-2021 (DOCX, 13KB)

*Remunerative work is defined as paid work for 16 or more hours per week or work 16 hours or more a week in the expectation of payment (e.g. self-employment)

There is no deduction for any non-dependant if you or your partner is:

  • Registered blind
  • Getting Attendance Allowance
  • Getting Constant Attendance Allowance
  • Getting the Care component of Disability Living Allowance

There is no deduction if the non-dependant:

  • Is under 18
  • Is under 25 and on Income Support, income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance or Income Related ESA (assessment phase-first 13 weeks) HB only
  • Is on Work Based Training for Young People (formerly Youth Training) or is a full-time student or student nurse

    (If the course the student is studying last longer than a year, and the student stays at home over the summer holidays, then there will be a deduction on Housing Benefit for this period. They can claim Income Support for this period)

  • Has been in hospital for more than 52 weeks
  • Is in legal custody (on remand or after sentence)
  • Usually lives elsewhere (but you need to tell us their permanent address or we may make the deduction)

If two non-dependants are partners:

  • We may take the higher of the deductions, which apply and don’t count the other partner (but we have to add together the income of both partners if both are working).
  • By partners we mean husband and wife or two people of opposite sexes who live together as if they are married.

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Last Updated: 5 May 2020