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Cambridge City Council

Housing Benefit restrictions

Housing Benefit is means-tested. The higher your household income is, the more you will need to contribute towards your rent.

Also, there are other reasons why your Housing Benefit might not be able to cover the full cost of your rent. Some of these are explained below.


Benefit cap

The benefit cap is a limit to the amount of benefit most working-age people are allowed to receive. The rates of the cap in Cambridge are:

  • £384.62 a week for single parents and couples (with or without children living with them)
  • £384.62 a week for single parents whose children live with them
  • £257.69 a week for single adults who don’t have children, or whose children don’t live with them

If the total income you receive in benefits is above these amounts, your Housing Benefit will be reduced.

The government’s benefit cap webpage explains how the cap works, which benefits are included, and when it does not apply.

Local housing allowance

If you rent from a private landlord, the amount of rent we can use in your Housing Benefit calculation is capped by a rate known as the Local Housing Allowance (LHA).

This rate is set by the government, and is as follows:

Local Housing Allowance rates for Cambridge, valid until 31 March 2024
Entitlement Weekly amount Monthly amount
Shared-accommodation rate £97 £421.49
One-bedroom rate £178.36 £775.02
Two-bedroom rate £195.62 £850.02
Three-bedroom rate £218.63 £950
Four-bedroom rate £299.18 £1,300.01

You can check which rate you are entitled to using the government’s Local Housing Allowance bedroom calculator.

Spare-room subsidy

If you live in social housing, the amount of rent we can use in your Housing Benefit calculation can be restricted if you have more bedrooms that you are assessed to need. Social housing includes property owned by us or a housing association.

The restriction of the rent figure we use will be:

  • by 14% if you have one spare bedroom
  • by 25% if you have two or more spare bedrooms

Visit Citizens Advice to check if a room counts as an extra bedroom for Housing Benefit.

Managing these restrictions

If your Housing Benefit can’t pay your full rent, you might be able to review your income and expenses to help you make up the shortfall.

You can use our free budget planner to take control of your finances.

If you have an extra bedroom in your property, you might also consider taking in a lodger. As well as increasing your income, it might also increase your bedroom entitlement under the rules of the spare room subsidy (see above).

You must let us know whenever someone moves in or out of your property, or when your income changes.

Read our cost of living help pages to find out about other forms of help that may be available.

Service related queries

For questions about a service we provide, please use our contact us form