Housing benefit changes and welfare reform

The bedroom tax, benefits cap and council tax benefit cuts can all affect your benefit entitlement.

Bedroom tax

Council and housing association tenants of working-age who claim housing benefit get less housing benefit if the council decides they have 'spare' bedrooms.

This housing benefit reduction is known as the bedroom tax or the under-occupancy charge.

The amount of rent that housing benefit covers is cut by:

  • 14% if you have one 'spare' bedroom
  • 25% if you have two or more 'spare' bedrooms

Find out more about the bedroom tax and steps to take if it affects you.

Benefit cap

There is a cap on the total amount in benefits that people of working age can claim.

Most benefits are counted, including housing benefit. The limits are:

  • £500 per week for families with children
  • £350 per week for single people

These limits will be reduced in Autumn 2016.

Find out more from Gov.uk about benefits you may be eligible for.

Council tax benefit reduction

Due to changes in the way the council can help people pay their council tax, some council taxpayers must pay a bigger share of their council tax.

Pensioners are not affected.

You may be able to get your council tax reduced.

Find out more from Which about getting your council tax reduced.

Find out more from Stepchange about dealing with council tax arrears.

Get advice for budget and debt problems

Get advice if you are worried about rent arrears or eviction.

Use Shelter's directory to find a local advice centre.

Use Shelter's budget calculator to check if there is any way you can reduce your outgoings.

Ask the council about DHPs

Ask the council about applying for a discretionary housing payment to help you in the short-term.


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