We get lots of questions about bedroom tax. It can get pretty confusing so you’ll find information here on what bedroom tax is, why it exists and how it might affect you.
Bedroom tax isn’t technically a tax because you don’t pay the government anything. It just means that if your home has one or more spare bedrooms then your housing benefit or Universal Credit housing element will be lowered.
So, if you live in one of our homes and you have a spare bedroom, bedroom tax means that your housing benefit (or housing element of Universal Credit) will be reduced by:
- 14% for one spare bedroom
- 25% for two or more spare bedrooms
Get help from our financial support team
Our advisors are trained to give free, one to one support, if you're worried about money. If you're struggling to pay your rent, looking for benefits support or help with budgeting then give us a call. They can even help you find free clothing and interview coaching.
Does the bedroom tax apply to me?
If your home has one or more spare bedrooms then you’re likely to be affected by bedroom tax.
A spare bedroom is a bedroom not used by any of the following people:
- A couple
- A person aged 16 or over
- Two children aged under 16 of the same gender (they are expected to share)
- Two children aged under 10 (children of both genders are expected to share)
- Any other children (either an only child or children who cannot fit in the 'shared' room)
There are a few exceptions:
- If you’re of working age, have a disability and need a spare bedroom so that a carer can stay overnight or for equipment storage, you need to be claiming specific benefits for this to apply.
- If you have an adult child in the armed forces or an adult child studying away from home, their bedroom won’t be affected either
- Severely disabled children might also be allowed their own bedroom, especially if room sharing would seriously disrupt another child’s sleep
- You or your partner are of state pension age or Pension Credit age
In any of these circumstances, you should contact your local authority so that they can help you keep more of your housing benefit, or make sure that your work coach is aware of the issue for Universal Credit claims.
Are you struggling with the bedroom tax?
You might be considering moving to a home with fewer bedrooms. If this is something you think you might be interested in, you can apply for a mutual exchange through HomeSwapper or by talking to one of our advisors to see what other homes we have available.
Discretionary Housing Payment
You can also contact your local authority to ask about getting some extra financial help through the Discretionary Housing Payment. They also might be able to help if you have a disability and your house has been adapted.
If you’re looking to move to a home that better suits your needs, you might also be eligible for additional help through the Discretionary Housing Payment. Each local authority has its own rules on who they will award this to and your local authority will be able to tell you more.
Many local authorities have decided that this payment is time-limited, so you’ll need to change your circumstances in the time period of the award or make sure that you’re able to pay the additional amount when it ends.
Housing Benefit review
If you’ve been living in your home since 1st January 1996 and claiming housing benefit since that time, you might be able to receive a greater award or a backdate by asking your local authority for a review of your Housing Benefit award and explaining the time length of your claim.
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Talk to our financial inclusion team
Our team are trained to give free, one to one support, if you're worried about money. If you're struggling to pay your rent, looking for benefits support or help with budgeting then give us a call. They can even help you find free clothing and interview coaching.