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The 'Bedroom Tax'

Aragon welfare reform family image

If you are of working age and claiming housing benefit to help pay your rent, but have what the Government deems to be a ‘spare’ bedroom, from April 2013 onwards, your housing benefit will be reduced by 14% for one room, and 25% for two or more bedrooms.  

The following people need their own bedroom:

  • a couple

  • a single person over the age of 16

  • siblings of different genders over the age of 10, but siblings of the same gender are expected to share.


Here are examples of circumstances under which the Government would consider you have a 'spare' bedroom. It is important to note this does not affect tenants of pension age: 

  • you and your partner live in a three bedroom house and have a boy aged eight and a girl aged three. The Government says that you only need a two bedroom house .

  • you live by yourself or with a partner in a two bedroom flat

  • you live by yourself or with a partner in a specially adapted two bedroom bungalow because you are disabled.  The only exception to this is if you need a carer to stay overnight on a regular basis.

  • you live in a three bedroom property and do not have your own children but are fostering children – these children are not counted for benefit purposes and therefore you would be deemed to have two spare bedrooms.


The Citizens Advice Bureau offers a simple Bedroom Calculator to help identify how many bedrooms your household is entitled to.

Please note the special circumstances which are not accounted for in the calculator

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