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.
  • The Benefit Cap - If your Housing Benefit brings the total you receive in benefits over the maximum allowed, your Housing Benefit will be reduced.

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.

From 1 April 2013 Housing Benefit for working age Council and Housing Association Tenants have been restricted if their home is deemed to have more bedrooms than they need. People often refer to this as the 'Bedroom Tax'.

People who have reached pension credit age or whose partner has reached pension credit age are not affected by the spare bedroom rules if they live in social housing.

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 to prevent homelessness.
  • various supported accommodation where you are provided with care, support or supervision.

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 and regularly receives overnight care. 
  • one or more foster children

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.

  • From 1 October 2021, if you live in a property that has been adapted under a sanctuary scheme due to the threat of domestic violence.   

Please contact the Housing Benefit Service if you think that any 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.

Separated Parents

Where parents are separated and share the care of a child, a bedroom will only be allowed in the home that is considered to be the child’s main home. Where both parents have the children for an equal number of days each week, their main home will be with the parent who receives child benefit for them.

Child is away at university

The new size limit rules do not allow you to keep a room for a person who is away at university unless the absence is temporary (less than 52 weeks for students) and the young person concerned intends to return home.

Temporary absences from the property

If your son or daughter is a member of the armed forces but is away on operations, a room will be allowed for them as long as they normally live with you.

If people are absent from the property for other reasons, the length of time they can intend to be absent and still count as living in the household is usually up to 13 weeks. There are some exceptions where an absence of up to 52 weeks can be allowed, such as a stay in hospital. 

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 2021/22 allowances we use to calculate your benefit entitlement:

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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:

*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
  • Under 25 and on Income Support, income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance or Income Related ESA (assessment phase-first 13 weeks) HB only
  • 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 lasts 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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The Benefit Cap

The Benefit Cap limits the total amount of benefit that most people of working age (currently aged 16 to 66) can receive each week.

The cap limit is 

  • £384.62 a week for lone parents and couples with or without children.
  • £257.69 a week for single people.

Housing Benefit is one of the benefits that counts towards the cap

The Cap is applied by reducing Housing Benefit or Universal Credit. No other benefit is reduced.

 More information on the benefit cap can be found on

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Last Updated: 1 October 2021