Housing Benefit Size Criteria (Bedroom Tax)


  1. Overview
  2. Changes to benefits
  3. What tenants need to do if benefits are reduced
  4. Help and advice
  5. Support into work 
  6. Family Resilience Programme


The Government is cutting the amount of Housing Benefit for those people deemed to have a spare bedroom(s) in council or Housing Association accommodation.

The rules allow one bedroom for:

  • Each adult or couple
  • Anyone else who lives at the house over 16
  • Any two children under 16 of the same sex
  • Any two children under 10 regardless of sex
  • Any other child
  • An overnight carer who stays nearly every night

The rules DO NOT allow for:

  • Parents who are not identified as the main carer but whose children come to visit
  • Disabled people living in adapted or specifically designed properties
  • Couples using a spare bedroom for recovery from illness or an operation
  • Occasional overnight carers

Bedroom Tax calculator 

Changes to benefits

Council or housing association tenants of working age who are deemed to having a spare bedroom will see the amount of rent eligible for Housing Benefit reduced by 14% for one spare bedroom and by 25% for two or more spare bedrooms.

What tenants need to do if benefits are reduced

If Housing Benefits are reduced tenants will need to fund the difference between the benefit received and the rent to be paid. Advice to tenants is that they may want to consider moving to a smaller property or increasing their income through work.

Help and advice

South Tyneside Council have established a welfare reform team within South Tyneside Homes who can help tenants through these changes. To speak to this team, contact South Tyneside Homes on 0300 123 6633.

  • To seek paid work, or a job with more hours, please contact your local Jobcentre Plus
  • If you would like to consider applying for a smaller property please contact your landlord - South Tyneside Homes is the council's housing company, on 0300 123 6633.
  • If you have any questions relating to Housing Benefit Size Criteria (Bedroom Tax) and whether you will be affected, please ring the Benefit Service on 0191 424 4333.

For advice on any benefits issues, please contact:

Support into work

The Council is keen to support people into work and support people to get work ready and a number of schemes are available including:

  • Work programme supports the long-term unemployed - Jobcentre Plus on 0845 604 3719
  • Family Works helps local people get back to work - 0800 917 0540
  • Family wise supports families looking for work - 0800 027 3311
  • Tyne Gateway and Improving Futures helps families on low incomes to access help - Jen Feckie on 07864 021 270

Family Resilience Programme

The Council has rolled out a Family Resilience Programme to help residents with IT, reading and numeracy skills, managing money and setting budgets. Further information is available from Adult Learning Service on 0191 424 6592.