What has changed?
From April 2013 the Government introduced new rules that set out the number of bedrooms Housing Benefit will pay for, if you are renting from a local authority, a registered housing association or other registered social landlord.
Please note that this is a change in the law and therefore Birmingham City Council has no choice but to implement these new rules.
What are the changes?
The new rules restrict the size of accommodation you can receive Housing Benefit for based on the number of people in your household.
The current rules allow one bedroom for the following:
- every adult couple (married or unmarried)
- any other adult aged 16 or over
- any two children of the same sex aged under 16
- any two children aged under 10
- any other child
- a carer (or team of carers) who do not live with you but provide you or your partner with overnight care
- one additional room for any foster children residing with an approved foster carer
- parents of armed forces personnel (who are away from home on operations) will continue to have them included in the household when applying the size criteria
How will this affect me?
It is possible that the amount of Housing Benefit you get to pay your rent could go down. If you are assessed under these rules as having more bedrooms than is necessary for your household you will be considered to be under-occupying that property. If you are under-occupying there will be a reduction in your Housing Benefit of:
- 14% of the total eligible rent for under-occupancy by one bedroom
- 25% of the total eligible rent for under-occupancy by two bedrooms or more
If you are thinking of moving you need to consider these changes before you renew or make a new tenancy agreement.
When will this affect me?
The size limit rules take effect from 1 April 2013. Current Housing Benefit claims will have already been reassessed and new decision letters have been issued.
People making new claims for Housing Benefit from 1 April 2013 onwards will be subject to the new rules from the start of their claim.
It is important that you should notify us if the information we hold about your household is not up to date as this may affect the amount of Housing Benefit that can be paid to you. You can do this by using the Change of Circumstances self serve option.
If you are left with serious financial difficulties as a result of these new rules you may be able to apply for help with a Discretionary Housing Payment.
Where to go for more information
You need to consider what your options might be and where necessary talk to your landlord or Housing Officer. Please refer to Welfare Reform- Benefits Are Changing for further help and assistance.