Non-dependant deductions from your benefits
If you live with other adults who count as non-dependants, your benefits may be reduced. Check who is counted and if you could be exempt.
Who is counted as a non-dependant
A non-dependant is an adult who is not your partner and who lives with you on an informal basis. This means they’re not on the tenancy agreement and you’re not subletting to them.
Non-dependants can include grown-up children, relatives or friends who live with you. They're expected to help out with the cost of your rent and council tax.
If you get Universal Credit, Housing Benefit or council tax reduction, some money will be taken from your benefits for each non-dependant who lives with you. This is called a non-dependant deduction or a housing cost contribution.
Who is not counted
Some people are never counted as non-dependants:
a joint tenant who pays rent to the landlord
a subtenant or lodger with an agreement to pay rent to you
Who is exempt from non-dependant deductions
You’re exempt if you or your partner are registered blind, or if you get any of these benefits:
the daily living component of Personal Independence Payment (PIP) or Adult Disability Payment
the care component of Disability Living Allowance or Child Disability Payment – if you get Universal Credit, it has to be the middle or high rate
Armed Forces Independence Payment
The other exemptions depend on which benefit you’re getting.
If you get the housing element of Universal Credit
Your benefits will not be affected if you live with someone who is:
a carer for a child under 5
your child or step-child who is away on operations in the Armed Forces
There are no deductions for a non-dependant who gets any of these benefits:
the daily living component of PIP or Adult Disability Payment
the middle or high rate care component of Disability Living Allowance or Child Disability Payment
Armed Forces Independence Payment
If you get Housing Benefit
Your benefits will not be affected if you live with someone who:
gets Pension Credit
is a full-time student, except during the summer if they’re working
gets a training allowance
has been in hospital for 52 weeks or more
is in prison
There are no deductions for a non-dependent who is under 25 and gets any of these benefits:
Universal Credit, if they have no earned income
Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance or Income Support
Income-related Employment and Support Allowance, if they’ve been claiming for 13 weeks or less
How much will be deducted from your benefits
The amount depends on which benefit you get.
If you get the housing element of Universal Credit, the deduction is £85.73 per month for each non-dependant who lives with you.
If you get Housing Benefit, the deduction depends on the non-dependant’s income. Check your council’s website for the amounts that apply to you.
If you cannot afford rent because of non-dependant deductions
Ask the person living with you if they can contribute to the rent and council tax. Any money you get from them will not count as income for your benefits.
If they cannot afford to pay anything, apply for Discretionary Housing Payment to cover the difference. The council will decide if you’re eligible based on your circumstances.
If you think you should be exempt
Contact Citizens Advice. An adviser can make sure you're getting the right benefits and help you challenge a benefits decision. They can also help you find grants and reduce your costs.
Last updated: 4 October 2022