Non-dependant deductions

Non-dependants are normally classed as anyone living with you aged 18 or over (21 if you are on Universal Credit).

However, this does not include children for whom you still receive Child Benefit.

The government makes the assumption that these adults will contribute towards your household costs, including rent and Council Tax.  They can therefore deduct a sum of money from your Housing Benefit or Universal Credit and Council Tax Support award, and this is called a non-dependant deduction. 

These deductions are generally based on the income the non-dependant receives.  It is applied regardless of whether or not they do actually give you any money for food, rent, electricity etc.

This person may, however, be classed as a lodger if they are not a close relative and they pay you on a formal basis to live in your home – the way this affects your Housing Benefit or Universal Credit and Council Tax Support is different – check the FAQs for more advice, and see the ‘Bedroom Tax’ section for things you need to consider before taking in a lodger.

The non-dependant deduction rules are complicated and the wrong deduction can sometimes be taken – making a big difference to your Housing Benefit or Universal Credit and Council Tax Support award.

Use the information below to work out if the correct deduction is being made, and if not, contact your local council.

What are the non-dependant deduction rates?

Housing Benefit rules

No non-dependant deduction will be made if you or your partner are registered blind, or getting a care component of Disability Living Allowance or a daily living component of Personal Independence Payment or Attendance Allowance, or Armed Forces Independence Payment. This is regardless of how many non-dependants you have living with you and regardless of their income.

If this does not apply to you, then the amount of non-dependant deduction taken off your Housing Benefit will depend on their circumstances, and, if they are working, their gross weekly income.

No non-dependant deduction should be taken from your Housing Benefit award where the non-dependant is:

  • Only staying with you temporarily ie your home is not their normal home.
  • A full time student, any age (except when they’re working 16 or more hours a week during the summer holidays).
  • Under 25 and on Income-Based Jobseekers Allowance (even if this has been sanctioned).
  • Under 25 and on Income Support.
  • Under 25 and getting Income-Related Employment Support Allowance, at the lower rate of £57.90 per week because they are still in the ‘assessment phase’ or appealing against a decision that they are fit for work.
  • Under 25 and on Universal Credit, as long as they have no earnings.
  • In the Armed Forces and away on operations.
  • In prison, either on remand or sentenced.
  • Getting Pension Credit. (So if they are Pension Credit age and not getting Pension Credit they should see if they are entitled. Ring 0800 99 1234).

If the non-dependant is working 16 hours or more a week the amount of the non-dependant deduction - ie how much your Housing Benefit is reduced by - depends on their gross weekly income as shown in the table below.

NOTE: if they are currently off work sick or on maternity leave then the non-dependant deduction, regardless of their gross wage will be £15.25 a week (for a 52 week rent year). Your local council won’t know if your non-dependant starts work so make sure you tell them, otherwise you could end up with an overpayment bill.

Non-dependant aged 18 or over working 16 hours or more a week

2018-19 rates (from April 2018)

Gross Income

Weekly deduction from Housing Benefit – based on a 52 week rent year

£439 or more
£354.00 - £438.99
£265.00 - £353.99
£204.00 - £264.99
£139.00 - £203.99
Less than £139.00


For all other non-dependants, a deduction of £15.25 a week (from April 2018) is taken from your Housing Benefit award.

If a deduction is being taken when it shouldn’t, or is being taken at the wrong rate, you could quickly find yourself struggling to pay your rent. It is very important to ensure that you provide your non-dependant details to the local council so that they apply the right rate.

If you cannot provide this information – for example your non-dependant won’t tell you what they are earning – check the FAQs for more advice.

Universal Credit rules

If you are getting Universal Credit and have a non-dependant living with you, the rules are different, and the deductions are called ‘housing costs contributions’.

Non-dependant deductions (housing costs contributions) from Universal Credit

Regardless of the non-dependant’s income, the housing cost contribution taken from your Universal Credit award is £72.16 a month (from April 2018) per non-dependant.  If you have more than one non-dependant living with you then £72.16 is taken for each, even if they are a couple.
But in some circumstances nothing should be taken:

No housing cost contribution should be taken from your Universal Credit award where the non-dependant is:

  • Only staying with you temporarily ie your home is not their normal home
  • Under 21 (regardless of their circumstances)
  • On Pension Credit
  • On the care component of Disability Living Allowance (DLA) at the mid or high rate
  • On Attendance Allowance
  • On the daily living component of Personal Independence Payment
  • On Armed Forces Independence Payment
  • On Carers Allowance
  • A prisoner, whether on remand or sentenced
  • Responsible for a child under 5
  • A non-dependant son, daughter, step-son or step-daughter who is temporarily away from home because they are currently on operations with the Armed Forces.

No housing cost contribution should be taken from your Universal Credit award where you (the tenant) or your partner is: 

  • Blind or registered as blind
  • On Disability Living Allowance care component at high or mid rate
  • On Attendance Allowance
  • On Personal Independence Payment daily living component
  • On Armed Forces Independence Payment.

Council Tax Support rules

The rules on non-dependant deductions vary from council to council so you will need to contact your local council for information on how having a non-dependant living with you affects your Council Tax Support.

Non-Dependant Deductions Frequently Asked Questions

I’m on Housing Benefit and my son won’t tell me how much he earns so they’ve taken the highest deduction. What can I do?
You need to contact your local council and give them as much detail as you can about your son’s income and situation. If all you can tell them is what sort of job your son is doing and whether it is full or part-time, then the local council should use this information to apply a lower rate if that is more likely. Give all the information you can to the local council, including why you can’t supply everything they are asking for.

If the local council won’t change the rate, ask us for more advice – we have a template letter you can use.

You could ask your non-dependant to contact the local council themselves. Explain how much more rent you are having to pay and the difficult position this puts you in.  If you can’t pay your rent, you AND they could lose their home!!

My daughter stayed with me for a short while last month and my Housing Benefit was reduced. Was this right?
There should be no deduction taken in respect of someone who is only staying with you temporarily. Provide the local council with as much information and evidence as you can, to show that they hadn’t intended to make your house their home. If the local council decide not to take off the non-dependant deduction contact us – we may be able to help.

My daughter’s hours have been dropped to just 15 hours a week – should the non-dependant deduction taken off my Housing Benefit be reduced?
If someone is working less than 16 hours a week the lowest rate deduction from Housing Benefit should apply. If a higher deduction than this is being made, provide evidence of your daughter’s hours of work to the local council.

My partner is disabled – should there be a non-dependant deduction from our Housing Benefit for our nephew who lives with us?
If your husband is registered blind or getting Attendance Allowance, a care component of Disability Living Allowance, a daily living component of Personal Independence Payment or Armed Forces Independence Payment then no non-dependant deduction should be taken from your Housing Benefit. If he is not on one of these benefits a non-dependant deduction may be taken based on your nephew’s circumstances. If you think you or your partner might be entitled to one of these benefits then apply as soon as possible – contact an experienced adviser to help you make the claim.

My non-dependant daughter has left home and I don’t know where she is. My Housing Benefit is still being reduced by a non-dependent deduction: the council won’t change it. What can I do?
Your local council can remove the non-dependant deduction even where you have no forwarding address for her, if you explain why you are unable to provide this. You could give them her National Insurance number and ask them to check on their ‘CIS’ system, to see if she is now claiming a benefit from another address. If they can tell from this that she is not living with you then they should remove the deduction. If this doesn’t help, you can appeal their decision. An appeal tribunal has to decide on the balance of probabilities whether they believe that your non-dependant is still living with you. The more information you can provide, the more likely they are to believe you.

I get Universal Credit. My daughter (aged 22) is coming back to live with me, with her baby. How much will my Universal Credit be reduced by?
There is no deduction from your Universal Credit for a non-dependant who is the primary carer of a child under 5.

I get Universal Credit. My son and daughter-in-law (both aged 24) live with me. My son works full time but my daughter-in-law doesn’t have a job at the moment. How much Universal Credit will I lose?
There will be a deduction for each of them – the rate from April 2018 is £72.16 a month each – so you will lose £144.32 per month.

What is the difference between a non-dependant and a lodger?
If the person living with you is a close relative* for whom you do not receive Child Benefit, then they will be classed as a non-dependant even if you regard them as a lodger.

To be classed as a lodger the person living with you must not be a close relative*and must be paying you for accommodation and/or meals (‘board’) on a commercial basis. The local council (or DWP if you are on Universal Credit) will want to see some proof of the commercial basis of the arrangement to be convinced they are a lodger- such as a rent book and/or tenancy agreement. It is unlikely they will accept a person as a lodger if they were previously classed as a non-dependant.

Under Housing Benefit rules, any money over £20 per week which the lodger pays you for their accommodation can affect your benefit entitlements. If you are getting Universal Credit, none of the money you receive from them is taken into account – but they are not allocated a bedroom under the Universal Credit Bedroom Tax rules.

*Close relative means parent, parent-in-law, son, son-in-law, daughter, daughter-in-law, step-parent, step-son, step-daughter, brother, sister or the spouse or partner of any of these people.