If you have a spare bedroom then your Housing Benefit may be reduced. This is sometimes called the ‘Bedroom Tax’, the ‘under-occupation penalty’ or the ‘removal of the spare room subsidy’.
If you are affected, your Housing Benefit (or the housing element of Universal Credit) can be cut by the following percentage:
- 14% for one extra bedroom
- 25% for two or more extra bedrooms
What are the exemptions and rules?
- You may not be affected if you have a severely disabled child who requires their own room. In some circumstances a severely disabled child is to be allowed their own bed room - usually if they would seriously disrupt the sleep of another child in the property at night if they were to share a room.
- You may not be affected if you are a foster carer, as long as you have fostered a child or have become an approved foster carer in the last 12 months. If so you will be allocated an extra spare room. If you are affected by the Bedroom Tax and have more than one foster child you will be able to apply for a Discretionary Housing Payment.
Foster carers are exempt whether a child has been placed with you or not, or you are between placements.
- You may not be affected if you have an adult child who is serving in the armed forces who is away on duty. They will be deemed as still living at home and therefore allocated a bedroom while away on operations.
- If you have an adult child who is living in barracks as part of pre-deployment training, they may not be affected. However, if an adult child is living in barracks but they are not on duty they will not be deemed as living in the home and you will be affected by Bedroom Tax.
- You may not be affected if you have a spare room for the use of an overnight carer - you will be affected by bedroom tax if the spare room is only used by carers or for medical reasons during the day.
If you feel that any of these exemptions apply to you, please contact our Benefit Support Managers at firstname.lastname@example.org and they can guide you through the process.