Universal Credit can help you to pay your rent and certain service charges if you rent your home from the Housing Executive or a housing association.
The Bedroom Tax and Universal Credit
Your housing costs element for rent will be reduced if you have more bedrooms than you need. Your rent figure will be reduced by
- 14% if you have one more bedroom than you need
- 25% if you have two or more bedrooms more than you need.
How many rooms do you need?
You will be allowed one bedroom for
- yourself, and your partner, if you have one
- every other adult living in your home
- any two children under the age of 10
- two children of the same gender over the age of 10
- a non-resident carer, if you can show that you need someone else to stay regularly in your home in order to care for you or a member of your household.
If you can show that two people who would otherwise be expected to share a room cannot share because of a disability, you should be allowed an additional bedroom.
Money to cover the bedroom tax cut
Many people think that Northern Ireland doesn’t have the bedroom tax, but that’s not strictly true. The amount of benefit help you get towards your rent will be affected by the bedroom tax, but in many cases you will get an extra payment to cover what you have lost.
You may be entitled to an extra payment to cover the amount of UC you lose because of the bedroom tax. However, these payments are set to stop in March 2020. So, if you think you can show that you need the extra bedroom, you should speak to an adviser now.
You could lose this extra payment if you move to another social tenancy and still have too many bedrooms.
Help with your service charges
Universal Credit can also help with the cost of some service charges.
It can be difficult to work out which service charges can be covered by Universal Credit and you will be asked about your service charges when you claim. If you’re not sure how to answer the question about service charges, speak to your landlord.