Your Benefit Award Explained

It is very important that you read your benefit letters carefully as they tell you;

  • when your benefit starts (and if applicable when it ends),
  • how much your benefit entitlement is and,
  • how your benefit has been worked out.

We have calculated your entitlement to Housing and Council Tax Support based upon the information you have given us about your;

  • income,
  • savings,
  • household circumstances and
  • rental liability.

Housing Benefit and Council Tax Support are 'means tested'. This means that we have to compare the money that you get each week, your 'Income', with an amount that we assess that you and your family needs to live on each week. This is called the "Applicable Amount". This figure is made up of "Personal Allowances" and "Premiums" that are set by the Government each year. We have to work out how your applicable amount compares to the amount of Income you have coming in each week. The difference between the two is called 'Excess Income'.

Applicable Amount

This varies depending on:

  • whether you are single or live with a partner
  • whether you have children
  • your age and the ages of others living with you in your household
  • whether you or anyone in your household has a disability
  • whether you are caring for anyone else

'Income' includes things like:

  • earnings,
  • social security benefits,
  • tax credits,
  • occupational pensions and
  • even money from friends or relatives. We may also assume you receive an income from your capital savings - if you have any.

Capital and Savings include:

  • Bank/Building Society Accounts,
  • savings, stocks and shares,
  • PEPs,
  • Unit Trusts,
  • ISA's,
  • National Savings Certificates, premium bonds,
  • redundancy pay and properties/investments that you own/part own.

The first £6,000 of any Capital and Savings you and your partner may have is ignored. For every £250 of capital and savings you have that is above £6,000 we must assume you have a weekly income of £1. This is called 'tariff income' but is usually indicated on your benefit award letter as 'income from savings'.

If you, (or in the case of a couple,) or your partner are over 60, the first £10,000 of your capital will be ignored. For every £500 of Capital and Savings you have, above £6,000 we have to assume a weekly Income of £1.

If you or your partner are of working age and have Capital of more than £16,000 you will not get Housing Benefit or Council Tax Support.

Non-Dependent deductions are taken if you have friends, relatives or anyone living in your home, (this does not include your partner), who are over the age of 18. You may get less Housing Benefit, as we expect them to contribute towards your rent and Council Tax. The contribution will depend on their circumstances. For more information on Non-Dependents.

Rent

You cannot get help with some of the things included in your rent, however low your income. This includes charges for services like:

  • water and sewerage
  • fuel (for heating, lighting and cooking)
  • meals
  • personal care or nursing

If you pay your rent to a private landlord, we will ask the rent officer to look at how much rent you are paying for your home. We will base your eligible rent on the rent figure provided by the rent officer.

Council Tax

If you are eligible for Council Tax Support, your award will be calculated upon a maximum of 91.5% of your Council Tax Charge if you are of working age. If you are of pension age it will be based upon a maximum of 100% of your Council Tax charge.

Once we have worked out your Excess Income, we have to deduct a percentage of this to work out your Housing Benefit and/or Council Tax Support. This is referred to as the 'taper'.

Amount of HB and CTB: Summary

Housing benefit and council tax support diagram

Payments of benefit are made via BACS or cheque and are generally made every 4 weeks in arrears, either to you or your landlord. You can choose whom we make payments to.

Council Tax Support is automatically credited to your Council Tax account.

Decisions about your benefit or reduction: decisions about your Housing Benefit are based on the Housing Benefit regulations that are set by Government. Decisions about Council Tax Support are based on the Council's Local Scheme approved by cabinet members and Central Government. The Council must manage the scheme with these rules, which means that we do not have the discretion about how much we can pay you.

However, it is important that if there is something you do not agree with, or if you think that your benefit has not been worked out correctly, you write and tell us. Your letter must be received within one calendar month of the date on the top of your benefit letter.


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Modified: 2014-01-08
Published: Tue, 23 Sep 2014 11:19:45
Author: Allison Helyer
Editor: Allison.Helyer
LGSL PID: 58
RDCMS ID: 8015
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