Social Sector Size Criteria

How many bedrooms do I require?

The size criteria below details how many bedrooms you are entitled to according to the number of people in the household (including joint tenants).

The rules allow one bedroom for:

  • every adult couple (married or unmarried)
  • any other adult aged 16 or over
  • any two children of the same sex under 16
  • any two children aged under 10
  • any other child (other than a foster 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.
  • certain criteria can allow for an additional bedroom for a disabled child where the disability causes a requirement for an additional bedroom
  • an adult dependant who is on operations with the armed forces who intends to return to the property.
  • for registered foster parents either whilst a foster child/children resides in the property or for a maximum of 52 weeks for periods between foster children.

The table below gives two examples of families in receipt of housing benefits and how the SSSC affects their claim:



A couple aged 29 and 27 with two children, boy aged three and girl aged seven. They occupy a three bedroom property rented from a housing association.

Under the size criteria their household requires two bedrooms:

  • 1 bedroom for the couple
  • 1 bedroom for the children (because they are under 10 years of age)

They are under occupying. Their housing benefit will be reduced by 14% and they will need to pay the difference.

A single parent with two dependent children, a girl aged 13 and a boy aged 8. They rent a three bedroom council property.

Under the size criteria their household requires three bedrooms:

  • 1 bedroom for the parent
  • 1 bedroom for the girl aged 13
  • 1 bedroom for the boy aged 8


They will not be affected by the SSSC because they are not under occupying their property.

Housing Benefit and Council Tax Support Office

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