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Housing benefit deductions when living with non-dependants

A non-dependant deduction means that your housing benefit can be reduced if an adult friend or family member lives with you.

How a non-dependant deduction works

When you claim housing benefit, your local council decides how much you should get.

It's assumed that most adults living with you should contribute towards the rent. 

Your housing benefit is reduced by a set amount based on the non-dependant's weekly income before tax, also known as gross income. This applies whether that person is contributing to the rent or not.

Who counts as a non-dependant

A non-dependant can be a parent, child, relative or friend who lives in your home. They must be aged 18 or over.

Examples include a grown-up child who has returned to live with you after studying or a relationship breakdown.

Your council expects an adult who lives with you to pay a contribution towards your rent.

Who doesn't count as a non-dependant

Adults who don't count as non-dependants include:

  • your partner
  • a joint tenant
  • temporary guest whose home is elsewhere
  • a lodger

People with disabilities: exemptions from deductions

No deduction is made from your housing benefit for a non-dependant if you or your partner receive:

  • the care component of disability living allowance (DLA)
  • attendance allowance
  • the daily living component of personal independence payment (PIP)
  • armed forces independence payment

There are also no deductions if you or your partner are registered blind or have regained your sight in the past 28 weeks.

When students are exempt

A non-dependant deduction doesn't apply to a full-time student during term time or during holidays if they're not working.

A non-dependant deduction does apply if a student works for 16 hours or more a week during the summer holidays. You may need to ask them to contribute towards your housing costs.

Non-dependant deductions when away

Your housing benefit should not be reduced if a non-dependant is away from home because they are in prison or serving in the armed forces away from home.

How much is a non-dependant deduction?

The amount of non-dependent deduction depends on how much money the non-dependant earns or the benefits they get.

Non-dependant deductions start from the date the adult moves in or turns 18.

Housing benefit reductions for non-dependants

Housing benefit reductions depend on the income of your non-dependant.

Weekly income before tax Amount deducted each week
Less than £133 £14.65
From £133 and less than £195 £33.65
From £195 and less than £253 £46.80
From £253 and less than £338 £75.60
From £338 and less than £420 £86.10
From £420 £94.50

If a non-dependant claims benefits

A non-dependant deduction doesn't apply to a person who is under the age of 25 and claiming:

  • income-based jobseeker's allowance (JSA)
  • income support (IS)
  • income-related employment support allowance (ESA) for the assessment phase. This is for a maximum of 13 weeks after they claimed

It also doesn't apply to a person living in your home who receives pension credit.

Your housing benefit is reduced by £14.65 each week if the non-dependant is:

  • aged 25 and over and on IS or income-based JSA
  • aged 25 or over and on income-related ESA for the assessment phase of their claim
  • any age and on income-related ESA after their work capability assessment has been carried out

If a non-dependant refuses to contribute

Non-dependants can't get housing benefit for their contributions to household costs.

It can cause financial problems if a non-dependant doesn't contribute to the household budget.

Don't risk rent arrears because of this. You could lose your home. Speak to your friend or family member and explain this to them.

Get advice from a money or debt adviser. 

Use Shelter's advice services directory to find a local adviser


It's your responsibility to tell the council if a non-dependant lives with you.

You will have to repay any housing benefit overpayments if you don't tell the council about non-dependants. You could also be prosecuted.

Last updated 25 Apr 2016 | © Shelter

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