Housing benefit changes and welfare reform

The bedroom tax, benefit 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 if the bedroom tax 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.

Check Gov.uk to see which benefits you may be eligible for.

Find out if the benefit cap affects you

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 StepChange about dealing with council tax arrears.

Get more information from Which? reducing your council tax

Ask the council about DHPs

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

Get advice for budget and debt problems

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

An adviser could also help you if you're worried about rent arrears or eviction.

Use Shelter's directory to find local advice services


Last updated 25 Apr 2016 | © Shelter

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