Under occupancy

Size limit rules in the social rented sector have applied since April 2013. The rules regarding under occupation in the social sector do not apply where either the claimant or their partner has attained the state pension credit age.

The qualifying age for state pension credit has gradually increased in line with with the pension age for women (and from December 2018 for both men and women) finally ending in 2020 when the pension ages for men and women will be equalized to 66, increasing to 67 between 2020 and 2026.

Please use the state pension calculator to find out if you have reached state pension credit age.

If you are assessed as having more bedrooms then your household needs, under the new rules, you will be considered as under-occupying your home. If this is the case you will see a reduction to your housing benefit by:

  • 14% of the total eligible rent for under-occupation by one bedroom
  • 25% of the total eligible rent for under-occupation by two bedrooms or more

You can check how many bedrooms your household needs on the size of your household page.

Benefit cap

In April 2013 a benefit cap was introduced on the total amount of benefit that working age people can receive. This means that workless households should no longer receive more in benefits than the average earnings of working households.

The benefit cap was implemented in April 2013 in four local authorities in London – Bromley, Croydon, Enfield and Haringey. These were chosen as London has the highest percentage of potential benefit cap claimants and a diverse cross section of residents. The remaining local authorities implemented the benefit cap on 15 July 2013, with all appropriate households capped by the end September 2013.

The benefit cap is administered jointly by DWP and local authorities through deductions from housing benefit payments. In the longer term it will form part of the new Universal Credit system. All customers affected by the benefit cap deduction were contacted by us in advance of 15 July 2013.

The benefit cap reduced on 7 November 2016 to £23,000 per annum for London based claimants and to £20,000 per annum for those that live outside of London.

There are circumstances when the benefit cap will not affect you, which are;

  • Households where the claimant/partner or dependent children are in receipt of;
    • disability living allowance
    • personal independence payment
    • attendance allowance
    • industrial injuries benefit
    • employment support allowance when paid with the support component
    • armed forces compensation scheme payments
    • armed forces independence payment
    • war pensions scheme, including war widows/widowers pension and war disablement pension
  • and from the 7 November 2016
    • Carers allowance including under underlying entitlement to the award
    • Guardians allowance

If you think you have wrongly been affected by the benefit cap because you are receiving a benefit from the above list please contact us.

For an estimate of how much you may be effected by the benefit cap you can use the benefit cap calculator