Social Sector Size Criteria-Bedroom Tax

Social Sector Size Criteria (Bedroom Tax) has changed how Housing Benefit is calculated for social housing tenants.


Tenants affected by SSSC

It affects Housing Executive and housing association tenants aged between 16 and the State Pension age.

How does SSSC impact my Housing Benefit

The rent used to calculate your Housing Benefit award is now based on the number of bedrooms you and your household need. It is not calculated on the number of bedrooms in your home.


Bedrooms allowed for SSSC

You can have one bedroom for:

  • each adult couple
  • every other person aged 16 or over
  • any two children of the same sex aged under 16
  • any two children aged under 10
  • any other child (a foster child if you are an approved foster parent)
  • member of a couple who cannot share because of a disability or medical condition
  • a child who cannot share because of a disability or medical condition
  • non-resident carer providing overnight care to you or a member of the household


If you have more bedrooms than you need

If there are more bedrooms in your home than you need, we will reduce the rent we use to work out your Housing Benefit by:

  • 14% if you have 1 extra bedroom


  • 25% if you have 2 or more extra bedrooms


Tenants not affected

Social Sector Size Criteria will not affect you if:

  • you or your partner are State Pension Credit Age
  • you live in supported accommodation
  • you live in temporary accommodation
  • you live in a co-ownership property
  • you live in a houseboat, caravan or mobile home

You can read more on about:


Welfare Supplementary Payment

If your Housing Benefit goes down because you are affected by the Social Sector Size Criteria, then you may receive a Welfare Supplementary Payment.

Do I need to apply for Welfare Supplementary Payment?

You do not need to apply for this financial help. The Housing Executive will work with the Department for Communities to calculate the amount to be paid. If you qualify, it will be paid directly into your rent account.

Can I lose Welfare Supplementary Payment?

The payment will stop if you move to another social sector house which has the same number (or more) bedrooms. This will not apply if you have Management Transfer status.

You can read more in our section on:


Get advice before you consider any move.  Speak to our staff (or your housing association) about your options before you move.

Once this Welfare Supplementary Payment is lost, it is lost for good.

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Social Sector Size Criteria if you move to Universal Credit

If you make a claim for Universal Credit the same rules apply for Social Sector Size Criteria.

If you received the Welfare Supplementary Payment when you were receiving Housing Benefit and then move to Universal Credit, you will continue to get the payment.

Although there may be a delay before it re-appears on your rent/rates statement.


The information in this section is for general advice only.

Contact your local Housing Benefit office if you have any queries.

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Former house owners
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