a.k.a. Housing Benefit and the Social Sector Size Criteria
What is it?
The government has announced that housing benefit recipients in the social sector should receive housing benefit payments based on their household size, rather than the size of their property. This means that households deemed to be under-occupying their property will have their housing benefit reduced by 14 per cent if under-occupying by one bedroom or 25% if under-occupying by two or more bedrooms. Each person or couple that makes up part of the household will be eligible for one bedroom with the following exceptions:
- children under 16 of the same gender are expected to share
- children under ten are expected to share regardless of gender
- a disabled tenant or partner who needs a non-resident overnight carer will be allowed an extra room.
When will this happen?
The changes were implemented in April 2013.
What will the impact be?
Government impact assessments suggest that 80,000 households in London will be affected by these changes: equal to approximately 22 per cent of the total housing benefit claimants in London. Furthermore, the average weekly reduction in housing benefit in London is £22 per week – higher than in any other UK region.
Deductions to housing benefit payments which are made if there are non-dependants sharing your accommodation are rising. The rate of these deductions have been frozen since 2001 and rose between April 2011 and April 2013 to bring them in line with what they would have been had they not been frozen between 2001-10.