How we assess your benefit
The amount of benefit you may receive depends on four basic things:
- The amount of money coming into the household
- The amount of any savings you (and your partner) have
- Your personal circumstances (such as your children living in your household, being disabled or anyone else who lives with you)
- The amount of rent charged.
Benefit is assessed using rules agreed by Parliament. The benefit awarded to you is intended to help with the cost of your rent, not your living costs such as food and heating. The maximum rent that can be awarded is 100% of your eligible rent. This may not equal the rent you are being charged by your landlord.
Any earnings you (and your partner) receive are added to any other income you have. Earnings are;
Gross pay less tax, national insurance contributions and half of any amount paid to a private or occupational pension scheme
- Certain childcare costs may also be deducted
- Self employed earnings after any allowable business expenses are deducted.
Other income includes;
- Money received for an occupational pension, social security benefit or pension
- Income from Disability Living Allowance or Attendance Allowance that you (or your partner) receive is disregarded but should still be declared on your rebate application form as, in certain circumstances, it may mean you receive a higher rate of housing benefit.
We do not count the first £6000 of savings, but you still have to tell us about your savings and bank accounts even if they are under £6000. If you have savings over these amounts then your benefit will be reduced. Please Contact Us if you wish to find out how this will effect your benefit.
Each year Parliament sets amounts we use to work out benefit calculations. These are called personal allowances and premiums.
Personal allowances depend upon:
- Your age
- Whether you are single or have a partner
- Any dependent children you may have and their ages.
Premiums are extra sums of money intended to recognise the special needs of:
- Elderly people
- Disabled people and people who care for a disabled person
- Lone parent families
- People who have been sick for over 52 weeks or 28 weeks if they are terminally ill.
We will calculate your benefit based on your total household income (minus any disregards) compared to your total personal allowances and premiums. If you total income is less than this amount, you will receive maximum benefit entitlement, however if it is more your benefit will be reduced.
Even if you are entitled to 100% maximum rebate based on your income, having another adult who is not your partner i.e. a son/daughter or an elderly relative living with you can reduce the amount you receive. These are called non-dependants.
Depending upon their age and circumstances a deduction may be made from your housing benefit. The rates of these deductions are set by parliament each year.
Deductions are not made if you, or your partner, are blind or in receipt of the care component of Disability Living or Attendance Allowance regardless of the number of non-dependants in your household or their circumstances.
You must include on your housing benefit claim form everyone living with you. You must tell us straight away if anybody leaves or joins your household or has a change in their financial circumstances.
How we pay your benefit
If you are a council tenant, housing benefit is paid directly to your rent account - this reduces the amount of rent you have to pay.
If you pay rent to a housing association, this can be paid direct to them or into your bank account or to you by cheque.
If you pay rent to a private landlord your benefit can be paid directly into your bank account or to you by cheque. Payment is made four weekly in arrears. You can ask us to pay your housing benefit direct to your landlord, please see vulnerable claimants for more information.
If you have any questions regarding this, our details are shown on the contact us web page.