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 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

Read 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

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

Council tax benefit reduction

Due to the changes, some council tax payers must pay a bigger share of their council tax.

Pensioners are not affected.

Find out how you can apply to get your council tax reduced.

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.

See Shelter's leaflet Housing Benefit changes for more information.

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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