BENEFITS - UNDERSTANDING YOUR NOTIFICATION LETTER
If you think this decision is wrong
Benefit Notification Letter
Benefit Period of your Award
Method of Payment
How your benefit is calculated?
1st part of Calculation
2nd part of Calculation
Benefit Decision Notice
What should I do if my circumstances change?
You can either:
- Ask for an explanation
- Ask for us to look again at this decision
- Appeal against the decision – this can only be in writing. If you appeal against the decision an independent tribunal administered by the Tribunal Service will hear your appeal.
Your letter contains information concerning your claim for Housing Benefit and/or Council Tax Support.
If you do not agree with your benefit decision you can ask the Council to look at the decision again or appeal to the Tribunals Service. You must put this in writing within one month of the date of the letter or we may not be able to consider any dispute.
The letter shows any changes we have made to your benefit claim. We have to let you know about any changes by law even if the change is only by a penny.
On your letters you will see headings with writing and numbers underneath them. These headings and phrases mean:
Award means what we can pay you. This is the amount of benefit you will get after any deductions. This may be less than the maximum eligible rent or council tax liability. This may be because of the money you have coming in or capital we have taken into account, or have other people over 18 living in your home. It could also be because of services included in your rent for things such as heating, lighting, cooking or meals. We cannot pay benefit for these services. Housing benefit could be based on a Rent Officer Decision or the Local Housing Allowance Rate that you are entitled to. This may not be as much as your rent.
If you have an overpayment of Housing Benefit, we may recovery this from your ongoing entitlement. The amount shown is the weekly amount we are taking from your housing benefit entitlement.
- Benefit start date – date benefit award starts
- Benefit end date – date benefit award ends.
In your Benefit Notification letter, you may receive different awards for different periods.
Payment will be paid by:
- LAHRA payments for Council tenants will be paid to your rent account.
- The Council Tax Support award you receive will be credited to your Council Tax account to reduce your liability. A revised Council Tax bill will be sent to you, when Council Tax Support is assessed.
- Private tenants will be paid by BACs it will show the first payment and the date it will be paid. 4 Weeks in arrears.
- Private tenants where the landlord is paid will say Direct to (landlord’s name). 4 Weeks in arrears.
Your letter will show if your benefit includes an extended payment, it will give the amount and the date it covers.
How your benefit is calculated?
Income (amount we use for your income)
Applicable Amount (Government set figure is meant to be the amount that you need for weekly living expenses)
Equals Excess Income
Eligible rent or Council Tax (this figure could be set by Rent Officer or Local Housing Allowance figure or could be rent less service that we cannot pay housing benefit for). Eligible Council Tax is now 91.5% of your Council Tax in some cases.
Non Dependant Deduction (Deduction for someone who lives with you who is over 18)
65% of Excess income for Housing Benefit
20% of Excess income for Council Tax Support.
Housing Benefit or Council Tax Support
1st page shows award, how much to pay, benefit period dates, payment details, overpayment recovery, eligible rent or council tax, non dependant deductions, financial details and applicable amount.
2nd page shows breakdown of weekly income, capital, and applicable amounts.
3rd page shows calculation.
Income is money that comes into your home. If you are working we will ignore part of your earnings, this is called a disregard. The amount of the disregard depends on your circumstances. We also disregard other income such as disability living allowance, attendance allowance and war pensions.
When we work out your wages we take your gross pay and take off any national insurance, income tax and half of any pension payments. Any voluntary payments are not deducted.
If we do not know what your income is or do not have proof of your income, we will use notional income of £999.99 per week.
You may also see the heading capital in this section. Capital means things like money in a bank or building society, stocks and shares or premium bonds. We must look at any capital you have when we work out a claim. We can ignore the first £6,000. From 02 November 2009, when you are over 60 we ignore the first £10,000.
If you are over Pension Credit age for each £500 capital over this amount we will add £1 to your weekly income.
If you are under Pension Credit age for each £250 capital over this amount we will add £1 to your weekly income.
If your capital goes up or down remember to tell us about in writing and provide evidence. We may ask to see receipts or proof of any major purchases.
If you have more than £16000 in capital, you cannot claim Housing Benefit or Council Tax Support.
An amount used to allow us to process your claim where we do not hold evidence of the exact amount. You will be asked to provide documentary evidence of any missing information.
Every April, the Government sets an applicable amount. This figure is meant to be the amount that you need for weekly living expenses. We use this figure to work out your Housing Benefit and council tax benefit.
If your income is less than you applicable amount you would normally get the full amount of housing and council tax benefit.
Non-dependants are people over 18 who live with you. Under this heading we will list people over 18, their gross income and the deduction made because they live in your home. The Government sets the amounts for the deduction. There are certain cases where we will not make a deduction.
Link to Non-Dependant details - this gives an explanation and 2009 figures.
You must tell us straight away about any changes in your circumstances, as it may affect the amount of benefit you get and may also make you liable for prosecution.
Some examples of change in your circumstances are:
- you move home
- you or your partner have any changes in income
- you stop receiving income support or job seekers allowance
- you stop receiving child benefit for a child
- your rent goes up or down (except for council rent increases)
- A person moves in or out of your property.
- your childcare costs changes in amount, your childcare costs stop or you start having childcare costs.
This list does not cover every change.