The bedroom tax reduces how much help you get towards your rent if your home has too many rooms.
The bedroom tax will cut the amount of help you get with your rent by
- 14% if you have one 'extra' bedroom
- 25% if you have two or more 'extra' bedrooms.
The proper name for this policy is the 'social sector size criteria', but most people call it the bedroom tax.
People affected by bedroom tax
Your housing benefit or universal credit will be reduced by the bedroom tax if
- you rent your home from the Housing Executive or a housing association, and
- your home has more bedrooms than you need.
The bedroom tax doesn't affect you if
- you rent your home from a private landlord
- you, and any partner you live with, are of pension age
- you bought your home under a shared ownership scheme.
Number of bedrooms
The number of bedrooms you're allowed depends on who lives with you and on their health issues.
You are allowed one bedroom for
- yourself, and your partner
- any person aged 16 or over
- two children of the same gender
- two children of different genders aged under 10.
You are only allowed bedrooms for children who are a part of your household. If you share care of a child, they'll be part of your household if you get their child benefit.
You can have an extra bedroom if
- someone in your home can't share a room because of their disability
- someone regularly stays in your home to provide night-time care for a member of the household
- the person who normally uses the rooms is in the armed forces and currently away on operations
- you've been approved to be a foster carer or have fostered a child within the last 12 months
- the person who normally uses the room is a student who is studying in Northern Ireland.
You have to provide evidence to show you're allowed an extra bedroom.
Counting the rooms in your home
Your landlord decides how many bedrooms are in your home.
If you have two living rooms, one of these will be described as a bedroom even if you don't use it as a bedroom.
Contact our helpline if you think a room in your home should not be counted as a bedroom.
Help to cope with the bedroom tax
You should get an extra payment if your benefits are cut by the bedroom tax. This extra payment is called a welfare supplementary payment.
You don't have to apply for this payment. You should get it automatically.
Contact our helpline if you are not getting this extra help.