Changes to Housing Benefit for people under 35 Will I be affected?
Your Housing Benefit will be reduced from April 2018 if you are single, aged under 35, and you became a tenant after April 2016.
If you are a single person between the ages of 18 and 21, from April 2017 you won’t have an automatic right to claim Housing Benefit, nor to the housing cost element of Universal Credit.
There are a few exemptions to these new rules. For example, if you have been working and not claimed Housing Benefit in the last year, or if you have a severe disability. Please talk to your Income Officer if you think you ought to be exempt, so that we can check for you. Why is this happening?
The Government has decided that people who are under 35 and single should only be given enough Housing Benefit to rent a room in a shared house – this is called the Shared Room Rate. Single people aged 18-21 will no longer have an automatic right to receive Housing Benefit. The Shared Room Rate
If you are put on the Shared Room Rate (SRR), the maximum amount of Housing Benefit you can get is the amount that it costs to rent a single room in a shared house. The rate is set by local councils, and so will vary from area to area.
If you choose to rent a flat or house rather than a single room in a shared house, you will have to pay the extra rent that your SSR does not cover.
For example, in Leicester, the SRR is £60, but the average cost to rent a one bedroom flat is £92. This means that a person who receives SRR would have to find an additional £32 each week to cover the cost of their rent – or consider moving into a room in a shared house. ACTION!
If you’re aged 18 to 21,
be aware that unless you qualify for an exemption, you will not get any help to pay your rent when you claim Universal Credit. The Government expects people in this age group who cannot afford to rent a home on their own to live with their parents. If you are aged 21 to 35
, you may not be able to afford your rent if your only income is from benefits. NCHA will only offer tenancies to people who can afford to pay. Your options are:
- Get a job, so that you are not dependent on benefits for all your income
- Pay more rent between now and April 2018, to get your rent account in credit. This will give you some breathing space when the new rules take effect.
- Rent a room in a shared house. Most rooms in shared houses are rented through private landlords.
What happens next
NCHA will keep in touch with tenants about their rent accounts. We will contact anyone who is still single and claiming benefits before the Government’s changes to Housing Benefit take effect in April 2018. Please keep us informed if your circumstances change.
For more help and advice call 0800 013 8555
Information leaflet: Benefit changes - Changes to Housing Benefit for people under 35