Here is a summary of terms used in Housing Benefit notification letters (Benefit Award Notices) and their meanings:
Any other income
Any other income you or your partner (if you have one) receive will be shown here. This will include:
- Child benefit
- Carers allowance
- Tax Credits
- State Retirement Pension
- Works or occupational pension
- Jobseeker's Allowance (contribution-based)
- Employment and Support Allowance (contribution-based)
- Attendance Allowance
- Disability Living Allowance
- Personal Independence Payment (PIP).
You must check that the figure we have used adds-up to the total of the income you actually receive.
This is the weekly amount that the government says someone in your circumstances needs to live on. It is made up of different allowances and premiums, depending on the make-up of your household. We compare your income to the applicable amount. If your income is less than the applicable amount, you will qualify for the maximum Housing Benefit. If your income is more than the applicable amount, you will qualify for less than the maximum Housing Benefit. This is worked out on a sliding scale and is known as means testing.
Assumed Income from capital
Where you have capital over a certain limit, the law says we must assume that you receive a weekly income from it. This is known as tariff income and is added onto your other income. We don't count any actual interest that you receive from your capital. The government says that the amount we must assume is calculated as follows:
- If you are of working age, we disregard the first £6,000 of your capital. For each £250 (or part of) above this figure, we assume £1 as weekly income. If you have over £6,000 in capital and you are not considered to be vulnerable, you will not qualify for Council Tax Support.
- If you have reached State Pension age (the age at which you could claim Pension Credit), we disregard the first £10,000 of your capital. For each £500 (or part of) above this figure, we assume £1 as weekly income.
Benefit Cap Reduction
The government has set a cap on the amount of benefit that you can receive from certain state benefits. If this applies to you, the weekly amount by which your Housing Benefit has been capped or reduced is shown here.
This is the total amount of capital and savings you hold.
Some of the income you receive can be disregarded each week. The amounts and types of income that are disregarded are set by the government.
This is the difference between your income and the applicable amount.
Some payments for child care are counted as expenses and deducted from your weekly income. The amounts and qualifying criteria for child care expenses are set by the government.
Indicative Rent Level (IRL)
In some cases, the amount of Housing Benefit we can pay is based on a Rent Officer’s valuation of your rent. Until we have received the Rent Officer’s decision, we will calculate your Housing Benefit using an Indicative Rent Level. If we find that we have overpaid you when we receive the Rent Officer's decision, we will ask you for the money back.
If you are entitled to more Housing Benefit because of a change in your circumstances, we will only reassess your Housing Benefit from the date that you tell us. If you are entitled to less, then your Housing Benefit will reduce from the date the change occurred. It is important that you tell us about any changes as soon as they happen.
Non-dependants are other adults living in your home. They could be friends or members of your family, like grown up children or parents living with you. We take a fixed amount from your Housing Benefit for any non-dependant. The circumstances in which a deduction may apply and the amounts of the deductions are set by the government.
(I) Payment on Account
This is an interim payment we make while we are waiting to receive further information to allow us to fully assess your entitlement. When this further information is received your benefit may be reassessed and if you have been overpaid we may ask you for the money back.
Pension Credit - Assessed Income / Modified Income
This is your net weekly income, as held by the Pension Service. We use this figure to assess your weekly income. Where this figure is modified, then we have allowed a greater disregard of income than the Pension Service.
This is the taper applied to the difference between your applicable amount and your income. The government sets the level of the taper for Housing Benefit at 65%.
If you are a working age household and rent from the council or are a not-for-profit landlord like a housing association or housing trust, the level of Housing Benefit we can pay is restricted to the number of bedrooms you need.
If you rent from a private landlord, the amount of Housing Benefit we can pay is restricted to the level of the Local Housing Allowance set by the government. The size criteria will depend on the make up of your household.
Weekly Eligible Rent
This is the amount of rent considered eligible for Housing Benefit. This can be less than the amount of rent that you actually pay. Some charges included in your rent are not eligible for Housing Benefit.
Weekly Ineligible Service Charges
This is the amount included in your rent that is not eligible for Housing Benefit.
Weekly Overpayment Recovery
This is the amount we are deducting from your Housing Benefit to recover an overpayment. If your income includes earnings, an asterisk (*) will be shown. The maximum weekly amount we can recover is set by the government.
You or Your partner’s weekly earned income
If you or your partner (if you have one) are working, your earnings will be shown here. This is always shown as a weekly figure and is usually based on an average of the payslips you have provided. The amount will be your net-earned income (we take off tax, National Insurance and half of any pension you contribute towards). If you are paid fortnightly, 4 weekly or monthly, we convert your earnings to a weekly figure. So, for fortnightly wages, we divide by 2 to get a weekly figure, for 4 weekly, we divide by four and for monthly we multiply by 12 and divide by 52 to get a weekly figure.
If there are any terms used in your letter that you do not understand or do not agree with, you must contact us immediately.
Last updated: 01/06/2022 15:49