Social Sector Size Criteria (Bedroom Tax)

The Social Sector Size Criteria or more commonly know at the 'Bedroom Tax' can affect people of working age in receipt of Housing Benefit or Universal Credit if they have a home with more bedrooms than they need. This means that tenants may need to make up this shortfall in their rent each week with their own money or savings.

The amount of deduction set by the Department for Work and Pensions depends on the number of bedrooms by which a home is under occupied, these are:

  • 14% for one bedroom;
  • 25% for two bedrooms or more.

The property size element is based on the size of house your family requires.  One bedroom each is allowed for:

  • each adult or adult couple;
  • any other adult aged 16 or over;
  • any two children of the same sex aged under 16 years;
  • any two children aged under 10 (expected to share regardless of gender);
  • any other child.

Inverclyde Council have committed to paying 100% of the shortfall for the financial year 2019/2020.  This payment is call Discretionary Housing Payments.

You can contact one of our team on 0800 0132 196.

Examples of how you might be affected

Q: I am a single man aged 29 receiving Universal Credit and my housing costs (rent) are £80 per week.  I have my two children staying at weekends so I am living in a three bedroom property. How will this affect me?

A: You should receive Universal Credit of £557.82 per month which includes housing costs of £240 per month that you need to pay direct to your landlord.  Your maximum housing costs are reduced by 25% as you have two extra bedrooms.  This means you will have to make up the shortfall of £60.00 per month towards your housing costs.

Q: We are a couple with two children. We have a girl aged four and a boy aged eight. We have three bedrooms and our rent is £80 per week. We get some help with our rent through Housing Benefit, and we get Tax Credits. What will the changes mean for our family?

A: Your children are both under 10 therefore according to the new regulations you have one additional bedroom. The help you can get is cut by 14%. The most you can therefore get in Housing Benefit is £68.80 per week.