Welfare Reform

Social Sector Size Criteria (SSSC)

What is it and who does it affect?

The SSSC applies to working age customers who rent their property from us or a social landlord such as a housing association and have more bedrooms in their property than they need.

 Will you be affected?

If you have more rooms than the SSSC allows, the eligible rent used in your Housing Benefit calculation will be reduced by:

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

Size criteria

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.

Example 1

A couple aged 35 and 34 with two children, boy aged one and girl aged five. They currently occupy a three bedroom property.

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)

Therefore, they are under occupying.

Because of this, their eligible rent will be reduced by 14% and therefore they will need to pay the shortfall.

Example 2

Single claimant with two dependent children, a girl aged 11 and a boy aged 9. They have a three bedroom property.

Under the size criteria their household requires three bedrooms.

  • 1 bedroom for the claimant
  • 1 bedroom for the girl aged 11
  • 1 bedroom for the boy aged 9

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

Joint tenants

If you are a joint tenant, you may also be affected by SSSC. To see how this may apply to you we will need to know how many people in total are living in the property.

Who is not affected?

You will not be affected by the SSSC if you fall into one of the below cases:

  • Pension aged customers are exempt.
  • If you part rent and part own your property (Shared Ownership)
  • If you live on a houseboat and pay rent including mooring charges or you pay rent and site charges for caravans and mobile homes.
  • If you live in temporary accommodation and were accepted as homeless under the homelessness legislation of the Housing Act 1996.
  • If you live in accommodation that has been provided by a housing association, registered charity or voluntary organisation where that body or a person acting on its behalf also provides you with care, support or supervision.

Changes in your household

Any change in your household could determine whether you are affected by the SSSC. The following are types of change that may need to be advised:

  • A person who has joined or left the household (you should include relevant dates)
  • Any details of other people living with you but not as part of your household (Joint tenants or boarders)
  • Any family members living as a couple(for example son and daughter in law)
  • The birth of a child

If your property is too large 

If you are a council tenant in a property larger than your needs we may be able to assist you to move to a smaller property either through a transfer or mutual exchange. If you wish to discuss this you should contact us: 

Email: housingapplications@wandsworth.gov.uk
Phone: 020 8871 6161

Further information

If you are a Housing Association tenant you may wish to contact your landlord to discuss options and other support and advice available.

You may also wish to consider applying for a Discretionary Housing Payment.

If you would like further information see Discretionary Housing Payments.