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Benefit Information

From April 2013, Housing Benefit is restricted to only allow payments for one bedroom for each person or couple. If you have a spare bedroom you are regarded as “under-occupying” the property and Housing Benefit no longer pays for the additional room.

You have to make up the shortfall from your own income.

Who is affected?

All claims where neither the claimant or their partner are over state Pension Credit age. By 2013 the Pension Credit age will be 61 for women and 65 for men and women.

Use our bedroom tax calculator to see if you will be affected.

Are there any exceptions?

Housing Benefit rules allow:
  • One bedroom for each adult or couple living as part of the household.
  • A child under the age of 16 is expected to share with another child of the same gender, while children under 10 are expected to share with another child regardless of gender.
  • Severely disabled children may be entitled to their own bedroom if they cannot share with another child.
  • A bedroom for a carer is allowed where they provide over-night care to a person with disabilities.

Exceptions are NOT to be made for the following:

  • Separated parents who share the care of their children.
  • Couples who use their “spare” bedroom when recovering from an illness or operation.
  • Foster children (as they are not counted as part of the household for benefit purposes).
  • Parents whose children visit but are not part of the household.
  • Families with disabled children.
  • Disabled people including people living in adapted or specially designed properties.

How much will I lose?
The cut is a fixed percentage of the Housing Benefit eligible rent.

  • 14% cut for one extra bedroom and a 25% cut for two or more extra bedrooms.
  • The average payment for 1 bedroom extra will be £12.99, for 2 bedrooms extra the average payment will be £23.12

If you think this will apply to you please contact the Income Team. NCHA will contact all of our tenants who we know are under-occupying. We will discuss with you what the options are and help you to decide what to do.

Your options are to:

  • Stay and pay the rent due
  • Move home
  • Take in a lodger - click here for further information
  • Increase your income by working extra hours or getting a job -

The Welfare Reform and Work Act (2016) has introduced further changes to the benefit cap.

From autumn 2016 benefit cap levels will be set at:
- £20,000 a year for couples with or without children and lone parents (excluding those in Greater London)
- £13,400 for single people without children (excluding those in Greater London)

This amount also includes additional exemptions for recipients of Guardian’s Allowance, Carer’s Allowance and Universal Credit claimants who receive payments towards carer’s costs.

For more information about the benefit cap changes please visit www.Gov.UK/benefit-cap  

If you want to check if you will be affected contact your Income Officer.

Changes to benefits and the way they are being paid, continue to roll out across the country.

Additional changes were announced in the government’s Summer Budget 2015. These include:

Changes to Housing Benefit

  • From April 2016, reduction to Housing Benefit backdating periods will be reduced from six months to four weeks.
  • Benefit Cap to be reduced from £23,000 per year to £20,000 (outside of London)

Changes to Tax Credit

  • The income threshold reduced from April 2016
  • The income taper increased from April 2016
  • No extra Child Tax Credit for children born on or after April 2017, where the award already included two children
  • No ‘family element’ for new claims for Child Tax Credit on or after April 2017

Freeze on benefits rates

  • Most benefits will see no cost of living increase for four years

Changes to Universal Credit

  • Reduction in Universal Credit ‘work allowances’ from April 2016
  • New Universal Credit claims limited to two children from April 2017, regardless of when children were born
  • Claimants aged 18-21 are not automatically entitled to a Housing Costs Element from April 2017.

If you are concerned about how any of these changes may affect you, or are concerned about your ability to pay your rent, please contact your Income Officer

The StepChange Debt Charity have a useful online benefits checker which has been updated with all the latest changes to the UK benefit system. Click here to see how you are affected.

Local Authorities are considering how they are going to reduce Council Tax Benefit paid to working age tenants. It is very likely that that tenants who currently get full Council Tax Benefit will have to pay something from April 2013.

The list below is the latest information we have about Council Tax Benefit reductions in the Local Authority areas where NCHA has homes. 

Local Authority     Council Tax Reduction 2015/16 
Amber Valley 8.5%
Bassetlaw 8%
Broxtowe NIL
Charnwood  15%
Derby City 20%
Derbyshire Dales 8.5%
Erewash 8.5%
Gedling NIL
Hinckley & Bosworth  15%
Kettering 25%
Leicester 20%
Mansfield 10%
Melton     12%
Newark & Sherwood 20%
Northampton 21%
North Kesteven 10%
Nottingham City 20-25%
North West Leics. 15% 
Oadby & Wigston 8.5%
Rushcliffe 8.5%
Rutland 25%
South Derbyshire 10%
South Kesteven 20%

Non-dependants are any adult family members over 18 for whom you do not receive child benefit. For example, adult sons, daughters and parents count as non-dependants.
They can also be friends who live with you but do not pay you rent. If you think this may affect you, please check with the Income Team.
If you have a non-dependent living with you, your Housing Benefit will be reduced by the amounts shown below. (Note working hours should be 16 hours a week or more)

You will NOT be affected if you are in receipt of Disability Living Allowance with a Care Component.

Dependent's circumstances    

Amount of
Amount of 
Aged under 25 and receiving Income Support, JSA(IB),
or Assessment phase ESA(IR)
Receiving Pension Credit NIL NIL
Aged 25 or over and receiving Income Support / JSA(IB) / ESA(IR)   £14.15 £14.55
Aged 18 or over and receiving main phase ESA(IR) £14.15 £14.55
Aged 18 or over and not in remunerative work
(an average of 16 hours or more each week)
£14.15  £14.55
Aged 18 or over and in remunerative work:
    - gross weekly income less than £129.00
    - gross weekly income £129.00 - £188.99
    - gross weekly income £189.00 - £245.99
    - gross weekly income £246.00 - £327.99
    - gross weekly income £328.00 - £407.99
    - gross weekly income £408.00 or more


JSA (IB) – income-based jobseeker’s allowance
ESA(IR) – income-related employment and support allowance
Assessment phase – the first 13 weeks of ESA

Where overpayment of Housing Benefit has arisen the basic maximum rate of recovery from continuing HB is increasing from £10.95 to £11.10 from April 2015. Where the overpayment has arisen as a result of fraud the basic maximum rate goes up from £18.25 to £18.50 per week. 

Need quick advice on Universal Credit?

As well as the detailed information we've provided below, we've produced some quick videos to answer you're frequently asked questions on the benefit changes in your area.


Universal Credit will replace:
  • Jobseeker’s Allowance 
  • Employment and Support Allowance 
  • Income Support 
  • Child Tax Credit 
  • Working Tax Credit 
  • Housing Benefit
There are significant differences in how Universal Credit is applied for and how you will receive your payments. It is vital that you are prepared for these changes.

We have created a guide to help you prepare for Universal Credit. Download a digital copy, or contact us to request a paper copy in the post 0800 013 8555 / 0115 844 3150 or 

When will Universal Credit be introduced and where?

Universal Credit will be introduced across the country in stages. Once it has been introduced in your area, if you are single, a couple or a family with one or two children and receiving benefits, you will be transferred over to Universal Credit when you make a new benefit claim or have a change in your circumstances.

Find out when Universal Credit will be introduced in your area at:

How to claim

Universal Credit is applied for online at the website

Watch the advisory video on YouTube 

Discretionary Housing Payment (DHP)

DHP is a payment you may receive at the discretion of your local authority, which can help towards housing costs. You can apply for DHP if you are entitled to Housing Benefit or the Housing Costs element of Universal Credit.

Find out more at:

Contact your local council to find out more, or apply for DHP.

Benefits calculator

Independent advice is available on the benefits available to you at:

Budget planner

Universal Credit will be paid monthly. This will be a change to many people.

In addition, money towards your rent will be paid directly to you. You will then be responsible for paying the rent to your landlord.

Download our budget planner, to help you prepare your finances for the benefit changes

Get help

Our Income team are available to help you prepare and deal with the introduction of Universal Credit. Contact your Income Officer to find out how we can help you on 0800 013 8555 / 0115 844 3150 or email us on

Additionally, if you're looking for more information or if you're not currently one of our customers, take a look at the Entitled To and the GOV UK Universal Credit page for more detailed advice.