Social Sector Size Criteria
If you are of working age and rent your home from Aberdeenshire Council or a housing association, housing benefit is calculated based on the number of bedrooms you require. This means that if you and your household are assessed as having more bedrooms in your accommodation than is necessary, your housing benefit may be reduced.
What does working age mean?
This means anyone under state pension age; however, this is changing all the time with the gradual move towards a higher pension age. You can use the Government calculator here to check when you will reach 'pension age'.
How many bedrooms am I allowed?
You are allowed one bedroom for:
- 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 (other than a foster child or child whose main home is elsewhere)
- a carer (or team of carers) who do not live with you but provide you or your partner with overnight care
What will happen if I am assessed as having more bedrooms than necessary?
Your eligible rent and any eligible service charges will be reduced by a percentage. The percentage will depend on how many rooms you are under-occupying by:
- 14% if you are considered to have one extra bedroom
- 25% if you have two or more extra bedrooms
For example, if your eligible rent is £50.00 per week but you are considered to have one extra bedroom, your eligible housing benefit will be reduced by 14% to £43.00 per week.
Is an extra bedroom allowed or are there any exemptions?
An extra room may be allowed if you are a foster carer, have disabled children or someone in the household is in the armed forces. For more information about the size criteria rules and exemptions please call the Aberdeenshire Support and Advice Team on 03456 08 12 00.
If my housing benefit is reduced, how will my rent be paid?
If your housing benefit is reduced as a result of the size criteria rules the remainder of the rent will need to be paid by you to the landlord. It will be a decision between you and your landlord how this is done, however, you should consider setting up a direct debit to make regular payments.
Discretionary Housing Payments
If you are affected by the social sector size criteria and are struggling to pay your rent, you could claim for a Discretionary Housing Payment.