Social Sector Size Criteria

Government rules limit the amount of Housing Benefit according to the number of bedrooms you are allowed as a family. If you are assessed as ‘under-occupying’ your home for housing benefit purposes, you will have your housing benefit reduced depending on the number of ‘spare’ bedrooms you are considered to have.

The  Social Sector Size Criteria (SSSC) applies to working age HB claimants (claimants over 16 and under pension age) who rent their property from the council or a social landlord such as a housing association and have more bedrooms in their property than they need. You will not be affected if you have reached the qualifying age for state pension.

Pensioner couple changes

If you are in a couple your eligibility for means-tested benefits used to be determined by the age of the oldest person. This has changed with effect from 15th May  2019. Eligibility is now determined by the age of the youngest person. This means that couples in which one person is under the state pension age can now be affected by the SSSC.

Further information including real life examples on how people will be affected can be found at "what difference this could make for 'mixed age couples'"

How will you be affected?

If you have more rooms than the SSSC allows, the rent used to work out your HB is cut by:

  • 14% if you under occupy your property by one bedroom
  • 25% if you under occupy your property by two or more bedrooms

Housing Benefit and Council Tax Support Office

Civic Centre