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Housing Benefit

The Social Size Criteria, commonly known as the bedroom tax will affect those living in housing executive or housing association properties that are seen to be under occupying their properties by one or more bedroom.

You can only claim for a certain number of rooms depending on how many people live in your home.

This will only apply to those of working age.

Those who are deemed to be under occupying their property will lose 14% of their housing benefit if they have one spare room and 25% if they have two or more spare rooms.

For example if your rent is £100 per week (excluding rates) and you have one spare room your housing benefit would be reduced to £86.00 per week. If you had two or more spare rooms your housing benefit would be reduced to £75.00 per week.

There are certain circumstances that extra rooms may be exempt from the bedroom tax, for example for those who are disabled and need an overnight carer.

Under the Northern Ireland Mitigations package the Government has agreed to cover the reductions in housing benefit for those affected by this change for a number of years.

To keep up to date with timescales for the introduction in Northern Ireland of the Social Size Criteria click on https://www.nidirect.gov.uk/articles/changes-to-housing-benefit-payments

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