Will I be Affected by the New Bedroom Tax?
If you are a tenant with a housing association or the council you should be aware of the changes to be made in housing benefit from April 2013 because they may affect you and the amount of benefit that you receive.
Known as the “bedroom tax” these new rules effectively apply to people who have spare bedrooms since if you are not permanently using all your bedrooms the Government deems them to be luxuries and the council will consider that your house is under occupied.
Your Housing Benefit will be Reduced if your House is too Large
If a decision is made by the council that you are living in a council or housing association house that is larger than necessary your housing benefit will be reduced using a fixed percentage calculation taking the total rent (known as the eligible rent) as follows:
1 x spare bedroom = 14% reduction
2+ x spare bedrooms = 25% reduction
Pensioners will remain unaffected by the bedroom tax.
The new housing benefit regulations are related to the size of your house and the following list outlines what size of accommodation you are able to rent without sustaining a reduction in your benefit:
a) Couple – 1 bedroom
b) 16 year old + - 1 bedroom
c) Below 16 years, two children of the same sex – 1 bedroom
d) Below 10 years, two children sharing no matter their sex – 1 bedroom
e) Overnight Carers – 1 bedroom
If you have a disabled child who because of such disablement requires his or her own room it may not be necessary for your child to share. If the council applies the bedroom tax in this respect you should seek advice from your local Shelter or CAB.
Housing benefit will not be payable for rooms that you ordinarily might use for the following:
1) Illness – this applies to couples who sleep apart due to one of them being ill
2) Access Visits – children from a previous marriage or where the parents are separated will not be entitled to a room.
3) Children who are being fostered by you
4) Adults who are disabled
Disabled Adults living in Accommodation that is Specially Adapted
Although many adults who are disabled and living in specially adapted accommodation are subject to the new cuts, it is almost certain that they will not be able to afford to move or indeed find the same adapted accommodation. The solution to this is to make a claim for DHP (Discretionary Housing Payment) since all councils will have extra money budgeted for this.