Benefit changes

The government has introduced major changes to Housing Benefit. We understand these changes will affect a large number of residents, and we’re here to help. This section of our website is full of information to help you understand how the changes to benefits may affect you.


Key changes


Bedroom Tax

If you have at least one spare bedroom, the government may not pay full Housing Benefit for your home.

Under occupancy or the ‘bedroom tax’ as it’s sometimes known continues to be an issue where Housing Benefit is reduced because of a spare room; read our dedicated page for more information.


Benefit Cap
The government is limiting the total amount of benefit you can receive. This may leave you facing a shortfall.

The Benefit Cap is a limit on the amount of benefits you may receive if you are aged 16 – 64 and not in work/education/training.

The current cap amounts for Greater London are listed below:

Couples (with or without children) or a single parent:

  • £442.31 per week  

Single person without children or not living with your children:

  • £296.35 per week

The cap applies to the benefits you get as a household. It includes benefits received by you, your partner and any dependent children who live with you.

Read more about the Benefit Cap on our dedicated page

Universal Credit
Universal Credit will replace the current system of tax credits and benefits for working age people with a new single payment.

Universal Credit will be rolled out to most people of working age that currently claim benefits over the next couple of years and the main difference is that you will receive ONE monthly payment direct in to your bank account. You will be responsible for paying your own rent out of this amount direct to Tower Hamlets Homes. There will be at least five weeks before you receive your first payment when you move over to Universal Credit. For more information on how you can prepare, visit our Universal Credit page.


If a Non-Dependant lives in your home, your Housing Benefit will normally be reduced. A non-dependant is an adult aged over 18 living in your household who is not:


  • Your husband, wife or partner; or
  • A child that you receive child benefit for.

If a Non-Dependant lives in your home, your Housing Benefit will normally be reduced. This is called a Non-Dependant Deduction. The deduction amount is based on the Non-Dependant’s weekly income. The deduction amount is fixed and is applied even if the Non-Dependant does not pay you anything. Visit our dedicated page for more information about how this might affect you.

Other changes

Backdating of Housing Benefit
Your claim for Housing Benefit will only be backdated by one month so it’s important to make any claim as soon as possible. (If you are a pensioner, the backdating period is three months).

Disability Living Allowance
Anyone who currently receives Disability Living Allowance will have to have their claim re-assessed under Personal Independence Payment criteria; the government will write to you about any re-assessment. You can find out more on the government’s webpage

Temporary Absence
If you are planning a trip away from Great Britain the length of time that you will remain entitled to Housing Benefit has reduced to four weeks.

  • Housing Benefit will only be paid for up to four weeks for absences outside Great Britain.
  • Can be paid up to eight weeks if absence is due to bereavement of a close relative.
  • There are some exceptions to this rule for members of the armed forces, mariners and people who are ill and/or receiving medical treatment; Housing Benefit can be paid up to 26 weeks.       
  • GB = England, Scotland and Wales, but not Northern Ireland, The Channel Islands or the Isle of Man.



Talk to us
We have a dedicated team ready to help you through the changes.

Call us on 020 7364 5015 (option 3, option 3)