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Under Occupation and Housing Benefit Rules (April 2013) (Bedroom Tax)

*The Scottish Government has agreed to mitigate Bedroom Tax, if you are affected please apply for Discretionary Housing Payments, we at Dunbritton can help you with this*.

How many bedrooms do you have?
From April 2013, if you are of working age and live in a Council or Housing Association home and you have one or more ‘spare’ bedrooms your housing benefit may be reduced.

This could affect you:

  • If you are 16 to 61 years old.
  • If you receive housing benefit, even if you only get a small amount – for example if you are working.
  • Even if you are sick or disabled.

You won’t be affected if: you live in a one bedroom flat or bedsit, or if      you or your partner are old enough to receive pension credits. In April 2013 the pension credit age will be around 61 years and 6 months.

What is a ‘spare’ bedroom?
Under the new rules if you have more bedrooms than the Government says you need, you will lose part of your housing benefit. The new rules mean you will be allocated one bedroom for:

  • Each adult couple.
  • Any other person aged 16 or over.
  • Two children of the same sex under the age of 16.
  • Two children under the age of 10 regardless of their sex.
  • Any other child.
  • A carer (who does not normally live with you) if you or your partner need overnight care.

It does not matter how the ‘spare’ bedroom is used, the rules will apply even if:

  • You and your partner need to sleep apart because of a medical condition
  • You are a parent with shared custody and access arrangements. Only
    the main guardian who gets child benefit will get housing benefit for a
    bedroom.

What happens if you have a spare bedroom?

If your benefit is cut you will have to pay Dunbritton the difference between your housing benefit and your rent.

  • If you have one ‘spare’ bedroom your housing benefit will be cut by 14% of the rent you pay every week.
  • If you have two or more spare bedrooms, you will lose 25%.

What does this mean for you?

  • If you are a single person or a couple living on your own in a home with two bedrooms you will receive 14% less Housing Benefit. If you live in a three bedroom property you will receive 25% less.

  • If you are a single parent or a couple living in a three bedroom home with two girls or two boys under 16 you will receive 14% less Housing Benefit. If you live in a four bedroom home you will receive 25% less.

  • If you are a single parent or a couple living in a three bedroom home with a boy and a girl under 10 you will receive 14% less Housing Benefit. If you live in a four bedroom home the cut will be 25%.

Do you have a disability and need overnight care?
If you are of working age, have a disability and need a ‘spare’ bedroom so that a carer can stay overnight you should contact us now so that we can advise your local council so that staff can help you keep more of your housing benefit.

 Some examples of how under occupancy could affect you

Example 1
Mr and Mrs Smith live in a two-bedroom flat costing £295 per month in rent. At the moment housing benefit covers the full cost of their rent. Under the new rules they will have one spare bedroom. Their housing benefit will be reduced by 14% of their rent (14% of £295 = £41.30). Their housing benefit will be reduced by £41.30 to £253.70 per month. They will have to pay £41.30 per month towards their rent.

Example 2
Mr and Mrs Bell live with their two teenage boys, aged 13 and 15, in a three bedroom house. Their rent is £340 per month and they receive £40 per month in housing benefit. Under the new rules their children will be expected to share a bedroom and so they will be treated as having one spare. Their housing benefit will be reduced by 14% of £340 (£47.60), and so they will lose all their housing benefit.

Example 3
Mr Jones has shared access (50%) to his two children, a girl aged 12 and a boy aged 13 and lives in a three bedroom house. His rent is £340 per month and at the moment housing benefit covers the full cost of his rent. Under the new rules the children will not be counted as part of his household as his ex-partner receives the child benefit so he will be treated as having two spare. His housing benefit will be reduced by 25% of their rent (25% of £340 = £85. Their housing benefit will be reduced by £85 to £255 per month. They will have to pay £85 per month towards their rent.

***This rule was challenged in England in June 2015, the judge ruled that the father who had his child for up to 3 nights per week was wrongly treated.**** 

Example 4
Mrs Brown lives on her own in a two bedroom house. Her rent is £311 per month and she receives £260 per month in housing benefit. Under the new rules will have one spare bedroom. Her housing benefit will be reduced by 14% of their rent (14% of £311 = £43.54). Her housing benefit will be reduced by £43.54 to £216.46 per month. She will have to pay £94.54 per month towards her rent.

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