When you make a new claim or inform us about a change in your circumstances, by law, we have to send you a Housing Benefit notification letter.
The notification letter tells you:
your Claim Reference number (top right corner)
the reason why the Housing Benefit calculation has been made
when your Housing Benefit starts (and if applicable when it ends)
how much your Housing Benefit entitlement is
if you have a Housing Benefit overpayment deduction, and
how your Housing Benefit has been worked out.
Please check the details in your notification letter and make sure they are correct.
If you think any details are incorrect or you want more information, please contact your local Housing Benefit Unit.
You can do this by:
Phone on 03448 920 902 (regardless of where you live) or
Email your local Housing Benefit office.
You can get further details and an email address at:
- Find your nearest Housing Benefit office
To help you better understand your Housing Benefit letter and for an explanation on some of the terms we use, please read the following information.
Rent and Rates Charge
Many tenants only pay a single amount to their landlord, which is normally made up of rent and rates. We have to carry out separate calculations so we must break it down into two separate charges (rent and rates).
Weekly amount charged
The weekly amount charged is the amount you have to pay your landlord. If you pay monthly, we convert that figure to a weekly amount.
Weekly eligible charges
The weekly eligible charge on your letter may be different from the weekly amount charged figure. This is because the rent charge that we use to assess your Housing Benefit is different depending on your tenure type.
Before we calculate your Housing Benefit, we may have to reduce the weekly eligible charges if someone over the age of 18 (other than your partner) lives in your home. This reduction is called a non-dependant deduction.
It is made because your non-dependant may be expected to help with your household costs, even if they do not contribute to your household’s expenses.
The non-dependant deduction amount is based on their age and circumstances and will vary. If we do not know their income, we may assume the highest income, which may affect the amount of help you receive.
There are certain circumstances where we will not make any non-dependant deduction.
For more information about Non-Dependant deductions and the circumstances when a deduction is not made, read our section on:
Maximum Housing Benefit
This is the most Housing Benefit that we can pay you after taking account of:
the weekly amount charged by your landlord;
the weekly eligible charges; and
if you have a non-dependant deduction.
Under Housing Benefit rules, an applicable amount is the maximum amount of income you can receive before it starts to affect your Housing Benefit and is intended to reflect the basic living needs of you and your family. This can vary depending on your age and the number of people in your household. The UK Government sets the amounts and it changes every year.
It is made up of two elements:
an amount for you and your partner
an amount each child or young person still at school
Premiums are an extra amount added for particular circumstances like:
if you, your partner or children have a disability
Generally, premiums depend on the type and amount of benefits you receive. There are complex rules as to when and how many premiums can be awarded. Some cannot be awarded in addition to others. Some are only awarded to people of working age.
For Housing Benefit, all of your household income is taken into account. Although some amounts can be disregarded either partially or in full. Types of income can include:
- as an employee, or
- self-employed income
- any other income such as capital or savings
We add your income from earnings, benefits and any other income to arrive at the total income figure.
How is Housing Benefit calculated?
You will receive the maximum Housing Benefit award, if you receive any of the following benefits:
- Income Support
- Income based Job Seekers Allowance
- Income related Employment and Support Allowance
- Guaranteed Pension Credit
If not, your Housing Benefit is calculated as follows:
65p a week for your rent; and
20p a week for your rates
If you are not entitled to the full award for rates through Housing Benefit, you will automatically be assessed for Low Income Rate Relief.
What is Low Income Rate Relief (LIRR)?
If you are currently getting help with your housing costs through Housing Benefit, then you may already be getting help with paying your rates. If your Housing Benefit award does not fully cover your rates charge, you may qualify for additional help with paying your rates. This is known as Low Income Rate Relief.
Low Income Rate Relief is automatically assessed along with your Housing Benefit and you do not need to make a separate application.
How is Low Income Rate Relief calculated?
We will use the same information you have already given us in your claim for Housing Benefit, to work out your entitlement to Low Income Rate Relief.
The LIRR calculation uses the same income and disregards as your Housing Benefit calculation; however, LIRR has different allowances if the claimant is of Pension Credit age. There is also an enhanced Carers premium for LIRR and no non-dependant deduction.
The information in this section is for general advice only.
Contact your local Housing Benefit office if you have any queries.
- Find your nearest Housing Benefit office