Entitlement letters explained

It is important that you read your benefit letter (Benefit Decision Notice) carefully as it tells you:

  • Your Claim Reference number (top Right corner)
  • the reason why the benefit calculation has been made
  • when your benefit starts (and if applicable when it ends)
  • how much your benefit entitlement is
  • how your benefit has been worked out

We have calculated your entitlement to Housing Benefit and Council Tax Support based on the information you have given us about your:

  • income
  • savings
  • household circumstances
  • 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 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 look at:

  • 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

We have to work out how your applicable amount compares to the amount of Income you have coming in each week.

‘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,  Unit Trusts, ISA’s, National Savings Certificates, premium bonds, redundancy pay and properties/investments that you own/part own.

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

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

Payments of benefit: We pay your Housing Benefit by BACS into your bank account either monthly, 4-weekly or fortnightly.

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

Decisions about your benefit are based on the Housing Benefit Regulations or the Local Council Tax Support Scheme. The Council must manage the schemes within these rules, which means that we often 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.