Social Sector Size Criteria

If you are of working age and rent your home from Aberdeenshire Council or a housing association, housing benefit is calculated based on the number of bedrooms you require. This means that if you and your household are assessed as having more bedrooms in your accommodation than is necessary, your housing benefit may be reduced.

Working age meaning

This means anyone under state pension age; however, this is changing all the time with the gradual move towards a higher pension age. You can use the government calculator to check when you will reach 'pension age'.

Bedrooms allowed

You are allowed one bedroom for:

  • every adult couple (married or unmarried)
  • any other adult aged 16 or over
  • any two children of the same sex aged under 16
  • any two children aged under 10
  • any other child (other than a foster child or child whose main home is elsewhere)
  • a carer (or team of carers) who do not live with you but provide you or your partner with overnight care

Assessed as having more bedrooms 

Your eligible rent and any eligible service charges will be reduced by a percentage. The percentage will depend on how many rooms you are under-occupying by:

  • 14% if you are considered to have one extra bedroom
  • 25% if you have two or more extra bedrooms

For example, if your eligible rent is £50.00 per week but you are considered to have one extra bedroom, your eligible housing benefit will be reduced by 14% to £43.00 per week.

Extra bedroom

An extra room may be allowed if you are a foster carer, have disabled children or someone in the household is in the armed forces. For more information about the size criteria rules and exemptions please contact the Aberdeenshire Support and Advice Team on 03456 08 12 00

Paying the rent if your housing benefit reduces

If your housing benefit is reduced as a result of the size criteria rules the remainder of the rent will need to be paid by you to the landlord. It will be a decision between you and your landlord how this is done, however, you should consider setting up a direct debit to make regular payments.

Discretionary Housing Payments

If you are affected by the social sector size criteria and are struggling to pay your rent, you could claim for a Discretionary Housing Payment.

Apply for a Discretionary Housing Payment