Crisis are spreading awareness of a new threat – being termed the ‘occupied bedroom tax’ – due for introduction in October 2013.
At the moment, if you are receiving Housing Benefit and have another adult ‘non-dependent’ living in your house, a certain amount is deducted from your HB each week to reflect the fact that they should be contributing towards the rent. However, this doesn’t apply if the non-dependent is under 25 and receiving the lower level of Jobseekers Allowance, as it is assumed that they do not have the money to pay towards their rent.
That will change under Universal Credit.
First of all, there will be a move to a flat rate deduction, instead of one based on the income of the non-dependent, which will hit the poorest hardest. Secondly, those aged 21-24 will no longer be exempt, meaning those with a non-dependent – like an older child – in their early twenties at home will have a Housing Benefit reduction of around £800 per year. The Catch-22 is that if you ask your ‘non-dependent’ child to move out, and are left with a single empty bedroom – you’ll have about £728 deducted from your yearly Housing Benefit under the current scheme anyway
See the Crisis website for more details about the nature of the change.