Non dependants

Are you living with non dependants? If you share your home with a non-dependant it can affect your entitlement to certain benefits. 

Non-dependant deductions 

If you share your home with a non-dependant it can affect your entitlement to certain benefits. 

A non-dependant can be a child, a relative or a friend aged over 18, who lives with you.

People that do not count as non-dependants are your partner, joint tenants, children under 18, a temporary guest who has their own permanent address elsewhere and lodgers (Please note that income you gain through taking on a lodger may affect your entitlement to means tested benefits).

The amount of Housing Benefit, Support for Mortgage Interest, Universal Credit housing costs element, or Council Tax Reduction can be reduced through rules on non-dependant deductions.  This is because the Government and local authorities assume that most adults living with you should be able to contribute towards housing costs. The rate in which your benefit is reduced depends on which benefit you are applying for. 

Housing Benefit and Support for Mortgage Interest

The rate of non-dependant deductions for these benefits will depend on whether the non-dependant living with you is a student or claims benefits, or works more than 16 hours per week and, if so, their gross income.  If the non-dependant living with you receives Attendance Allowance, Disability Living Allowance or Personal Independence Payments this will not be included as income.

Please see the table below for a greater insight into the how your Housing Benefit may be affected subject to the income of your non-dependant living with you.

In some circumstances there will be no deductions made when the non-dependant living with you:

  • is in receipt of Pensions Credit
  • is under 25 and is in receipt of an income based benefit such as Income Support or income based Job Seekers Allowance or Employment and Support Allowance
  • is in receipt of a Further Education Training Allowance
  • has been an inpatient in hospital for 52 weeks or more
  • is a full time student (however, deductions may be applied if the student does any paid work during the summer holiday)
  • is in prison or serving in the armed forces away from home. 


 Non-dependents weekly income before tax 
 Amount of Housing Benefit deducted each week
 Less than £139 
 Between £139 and less than £204 
 Between £204 and less than £265 
 Between £265 and less than £354
 Between £354 and less than £439 
 From £439 


People with disabilities may also be exempt from deductions. No non-dependant deduction would be applied to Housing Benefit if you or your partner are in receipt of:

  • The care component of Disability Living Allowance
  • The daily living component of Personal Independence Payment
  • Attendance Allowance
  • Armed Forces Independence Payment
  • Are registered blind or have regained your sight in the last 28 weeks

Universal Credit 

Under Universal Credit there is a flat rate non-dependant contribution for 2017/18 this is £72.16 a month and this is regardless of their income.

There will be no deductions made for non-dependants who:

  • Are under 21
  • Receive Pension Credit
  • Receive the care component of Disability Living Allowance at the middle or highest rate
  • Receive the daily living component of Personal Independence Payment
  • Receive Attendance Allowance
  • Receive Carers Allowance
  • Are the primary carer for a child aged 4 or under

Council Tax Reduction

The rules around non-dependant deductions will vary as local councils have to implement their own schemes with their own rules. You should refer to your own local council’s scheme for clarification on what deductions may apply. Some local councils offer a second adult rebate if you share your home with someone who is not your partner that may be worth investigating.

If a non-dependant is resistant to contribute 

Here in the RCN Lamplight Support Service we understand it can sometimes feel awkward to ask non-dependants such as grown-up children to financially contribute towards household costs. However, it may cause you considerable financial problems if a non-dependant is resistant to contribute. Do not risk falling into mortgage or rent arrears because of this as you could lose your home. Speak to your non-dependant and explain the consequences of this for you.

Further advice 

If you are an RCN member you can get money and debt advice from the RCN Welfare Service free as part of your RCN membership. Further details about this service are available here

If you are not a current RCN member you can get free debt advice from Step Change, a debt charity on 0800 138 1111. For further details see the Step Change website.