What is Social Sector Size Criteria (SSSC)?

Social Sector Size Criteria (SSSC), commonly known as 'Bedroom Tax', has changed how Housing Benefit and housing costs are calculated for tenants in social housing. Since February 2017, assistance with housing costs has been based on the number of rooms your household actually needs. If you currently live in a house deemed too large for your needs, the amount of Housing Benefit or housing costs (under Universal Credit) you receive may have reduced. Under the new criteria, help with your housing costs is calculated on the number of bedrooms that your household needs.

A bedroom is allocated as follows:

  • Each adult couple
  • Each person over 16
  • Any two children of the same sex under 16
  • Any two children under 10, regardless of their sex
  • Any other child
  • A carer who provides overnight care but does not live with you

How does it work?

If you are deemed to have more bedrooms than required, the amount of help you receive for your housing costs will reduce by 14% or 25% as follows. 

Circumstances that allow for an extra bedroom

If you require an extra bedroom you should request consideration for this room. An extra bedroom may be considered in the following circumstances:

  • Foster care provision
  • If you require an extra bedroom because you have a disability or caring needs
  • If a student or member of the armed forces is away from home but will return

What is not affected?

  • Supported accommodation 
  • A houseboat, caravan or mobile home 
  • Shared co-ownership scheme
  • Temporary accommodation

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Help and Support

If you would like further information or advice regarding Personal Independence Payments, please contact your Housing officer or our Welfare Advice Service on TEL: 0330 123 0888

Help and assistance to get online is available at: www.nidirect.gov.uk/go-on-ni