How 'bedroom tax' will impact on communities
11 February 2013 Last updated at 09:39 GMT
From April the new Welfare Reform Act will change how housing benefit is paid to families.
Unused bedrooms in social housing will be subject to an under-occupation charge or 'bedroom tax'.
Housing benefit will be reduced if households are deemed to have spare rooms. The government estimates that 660,000 households will have their benefit cut - around one third of claimants.
Housing associations say the changes will affect the north of England worse than the south, and that they are unworkable.
But the government says the measures will reduce the housing benefit bill and improve the use of social housing stock.
BBC Inside Out looks at how the tax will impact on Sue Brannigan, a widow living in Tudhoe near Spennymoor in County Durham.
Inside Out North East & Cumbria is broadcast on Monday, 11 February at 19:30 GMT. It is also available nationwide for seven days thereafter on iPlayer.