Changes to Housing Benefit from April 2013

Under occupation of social housing

From 1 April 2013 the Government is introducing 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
  • another registered social landlord

The size criteria rules will only apply to claimants of working age.

The new rules will restrict the level of benefit that can be paid if your property is too large for your needs.

If you are under-occupying there will be a reduction in your Housing Benefit of:

- 14% for under-occupancy by one bedroom

- 25% for under-occupancy by two bedrooms or more

Welfare Benefit Cap

New rules have been introduced so that there is a maximum limit of the total amount of benefit you can receive from central and local government combined.

This has been set at £350 per week for a single person and £500 per week for a couple.

If you are a person affected by this restriction, it will be applied in your Housing Benefit assessment. The local authority will be informed of the cases affected by the DWP.

From Autumn 2016 the benefit cap will be reduced further. The new rate is £257.69 per week for a single person and £384.62 per week for a couple.

You can also visit the Gov.uk website for further information and the online calculator.

The DWP household benefit cap help line number is 0845 6057064

Local Housing Allowance anniversary dates

The government has abolished individual Local Housing Allowance anniversary dates on housing benefit claims for the private rented sector. Now everyone's Local Housing Allowance will be reviewed from April and this will last for that financial year.

As part of these changes if someone has a rent increase during the year we are allowed to action the rent increase from when it applies if it is below the relevant Local Housing Allowance rate instead of waiting to action it from the previous anniversary date.

You will still need to inform us of this change in rent details as soon as it takes place as any delay may affect the date it can be applied from.