From April many households across the country will see changes to the level of their benefits. Make sure you are aware of the changes and how they may affect you. The best way to do this is to check with your local council or the DWP, but here at HomeCareDirect we are doing a series of blogs which give you an idea of some of the big changes that may affect you.

Today’s blog focuses on Under Occupancy Tax.

The new scheme, which has been dubbed as ‘Bedroom Tax’ will look at how many bedrooms are needed by the tenant, and compare this with the number of bedrooms in the accommodation.

Tenants with one spare bedroom will see a 14% reduction in the eligible rent figure used to calculate their Housing Benefit.  Tenants with two or more spare bedrooms will have their Housing Benefit eligible rent figure reduced by 25%.  This may mean a reduction of around £8 – £15 to most recipients.  Some people may be offered the chance to move to a property with fewer bedrooms to ensure that they are not adversely affected by these changes and in many areas there has been an increase in the building of new one bedroom properties for this purpose.

This change to the way Housing Benefit is calculated based on the number of bedrooms is a complicated area and will affect those in social housing the most.  People who live in council houses or housing association properties will feel the affect of these changes the most.  Your council should be gathering more information on who will be affected by this national change to the system and contacting you in the up-coming months if you will be affected directly.  These changes will come into play from 1st April 2013.

If you believe you could be affected by any of these changes the best this to do is to check with your local council to see how your personal circumstances and allowances may be affected, but here at HomeCareDirect we’re happy to help point you in the right direction if you wish to contact us here.