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Register of Electors 2019 - Annual Canvass Household Enquiry form | Please confirm your details or submit any changes here. |

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        Housing Benefit

        Make a claim for housing benefit

        You can complete an online form to make a claim for housing benefit. Please ensure you have read through the guidance below before making a claim. You will need to provide proof for your application 

        How to claim

        Universal Credit from 6 September 2017

        From 6 September 2017 we will no longer be able to accept new claims for Housing Benefit unless you:

        • are of pensionable age
        • have more than two children
        • are in exempt accommodation.

        If you don’t fall into one of these categories, you will need to make a claim for Universal Credit for help with your housing costs.

        If you do fall into one of these categories, please complete a Housing Benefit claim form and provide proof to support your claim.

        When should I claim?

        Generally, claim as soon as you believe you may be entitled to Housing Benefit. As with most other benefits, there are strict rules in Housing Benefit governing the time-limits for which claims can be submitted. We can also accept advance claims (for example if you know you are moving into a new property in two weeks time).

        It is very important that your claim form is handed in as soon as possible, if you delay you may lose benefit.

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        Can I get Housing Benefit?

        If you live with a partner or civil partner, only one of you can get Housing Benefit.

        Universal Credit from 6 September 2017

        From 6 September 2017 we will no longer be able to accept new claims for Housing Benefit unless you:

        • are of pensionable age
        • have more than two children
        • are in exempt accommodation.

        If you don’t fall into one of these categories, you will need to make a claim for Universal Credit for help with your housing costs.

        You can get Housing Benefit if you

        • rent your home
        • are responsible for paying rent as a tenant, boarder, lodger or in a hostel or bed & breakfast
        • have a low income, or are claiming benefits
        • usually live in your home for which you are claiming Housing Benefit.

        Check if you qualify for Housing Benefit using the benefits calculator

        You can’t get Housing Benefit if you

        You won’t normally get Housing Benefit if you are living with a close relative and paying them rent.

        Some full-time students aren’t able to claim Housing Benefit.

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        How much Housing Benefit will I get?

        The way we work out your Housing Benefit is different depending on whether you rent from a private landlord or from the council or housing association.

        You can use the benefits calculator to get an idea of how much Housing Benefit you may get.

        If you rent from a private landlord

        New claims and change of address

        If you rent from a private landlord and are putting in a new claim or are moving home, the maximum amount of Housing Benefit you can get depends on the Local Housing Allowance rate relevant to you. This is based on where you live and the number of bedrooms you need.

        The Local Housing Allowance rate is the maximum amount of Housing Benefit you can get. The amount of Housing Benefit you actually get may be less than this depending on your income and savings, your personal circumstances and if you have other adults living in your home.

        Your Housing Benefit may also be reduced if the amount of benefit you get is over the benefit cap.

        Claims made before 7 April 2008

        If you rent from a private landlord, claimed before 7 April 2008 and haven’t moved home since, the Valuation Office Agency decides your maximum Housing Benefit. This means that a Rent Officer will look at all the details of your home including the number of rooms, the size, rent charged and the general levels of rents in the area to decide your maximum Housing Benefit.

        The amount set by the Rent Officer is the maximum amount of Housing Benefit you can get. The amount of Housing Benefit you actually get may be less than this depending on your income and savings, your personal circumstances and if you have other adults living in your home.

        Your Housing Benefit may also be reduced if the amount of benefit you get is over the benefit cap.

        If you rent from the council or a housing association

        If you are of pension age

        If you are of pension age and rent your home from the council or a housing association, your maximum Housing Benefit will usually be the same as the rent you are charged. The amount of Housing Benefit you actually get may be less than this depending on your income and savings, your personal circumstances and if you have other adults living in your home.

        You may also get less if you have any services included in your rent for which we are not allowed to pay Housing Benefit, such as heating and hot water.

        Find out if you are of pension age using the pension age calculator (GOV.UK website).

        If you are of working age

        If you are of working age and rent your home from the council or a housing association, your maximum Housing Benefit will be the same as your rent, unless you have more bedrooms than the government says you need for the size of your household.

        The amount of Housing Benefit you actually get may be less than this depending on your income and savings, your personal circumstances and if you have other adults living in your home.

        You may also get less if you have any services included in your rent for which we are not allowed to pay Housing Benefit, such as heating and hot water, or if the amount of benefit you get is over the benefit cap.

        The benefit rules allow one bedroom for:

        • a couple
        • a person over 16
        • two children of the same sex aged under 16
        • two children of any sex who are younger than 10
        • any other single child under 16.

        You may also be allowed an extra bedroom if:

        • you or your partner need overnight care from someone who doesn’t normally live with you
        • you are an approved foster carer and either have a foster child or children living with you or you are waiting for a child/children to be placed with you
        • your children are unable to share a bedroom because of severe disabilities – we will look at your individual circumstances if this applies to you.

        If you have an adult child or children who are away from home serving as a member of the armed forces, a bedroom will continue to be allowed for them as long as they intend to return to your home.

        If you have more bedrooms than the government says you need, your Housing Benefit will be reduced by:

        • 14% if you have one extra bedroom, or
        • 25% if you have two or more extra bedrooms

        More information is available on the changes to benefits pages.

        How your income, savings and your personal circumstances affects the amount of Housing Benefit you get

        Your income and personal circumstances

        We use amounts set each year by the government called personal allowances and premiums to work out how much you need to live on. Personal allowances and premiums depend on your age, the people in your household including their ages and whether they have a disability, how many dependent children you have and whether anyone needs a carer.

        We add up the personal allowance and premiums relevant to you and this is called your applicable amount. If your income is greater than your applicable amount, the difference between these two amounts is called ‘excess income’. The Housing Benefit rules say that you must pay 65 percent of this ‘excess income’ towards your rent.

        Other adults living in your home may also affect the amount of Housing Benefit you get.

        Your savings

        We will look at any savings you (and your partner if you have one) may have. If you have £6,000 or less we will ignore them.

        If you have more than £6,000 but not more than £16,000 we will take into account £1 per week for every £250 over £6,000.

        If you have reached the qualifying age for Pension Credit, we will ignore the first £10,000 and take into account £1 per week for every £500 over £10,000.

        If you have savings of more than £16,000, you won’t normally be able to get any Housing Benefit (unless you receive the guarantee credit element of Pension Credit).

        Use the benefits calculator to get an idea of how much Housing Benefit you may get.

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        When will benefit start?

        We try to pay Housing Benefit within 14 days of getting all the information we need to work out your benefit claim. However, benefit is often delayed because we are waiting for information.

        We can normally only pay Housing Benefit from the Monday following the date we receive your claim. We can treat your claim as being made from the date you ask for a form from us, providing we receive your fully completed claim form within one month of sending it to you.

        To avoid missing any Housing Benefit new tenants should claim just before they move in. Existing tenants should claim as soon as they need help.

        Backdated Housing Benefit

        In most cases Housing Benefit is paid from the Monday after we get your claim form, but in some cases we can pay it from an earlier date. It may be possible to backdate your claim for up to:

        • three months from the date you ask if you are of pensionable age; or
        • one month from the date you ask if you are under pensionable age and there is a good reason why you didn’t claim earlier.

        If you would like your claim to be backdated, you will need to request this in writing and you must have a good reason for not claiming earlier.

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        How is Housing Benefit paid?

        Housing Benefit is usually paid into your bank account and it is your responsibility to pay your rent to your landlord. If your rent is more than your Housing Benefit, you will have to make up the difference.

        This means that you will need to open a bank account if you don’t have one already. You can then arrange for your bank or building society to pay your rent to your landlord automatically by direct debit or standing order.

        To find out more about opening a bank account you can:

        We aren’t able to pay into some accounts, such as individual savings accounts, (ISAs), Post Office card accounts and some savings accounts. If you are unsure about the account you want to use, please contact your bank or building society.

        If you want to change the bank account we pay into

        If you have not yet provided your bank details, or want your Housing Benefit paid into a different account please download a BACS payment form and return this to us.

        Council tenants

        If you are a council housing tenant we will pay Housing Benefit direct to your rent account.

        Payments to landlords

        In some circumstances we must pay your Housing Benefit direct to your landlord unless it would not be in your interest to do so. Details of when we may pay benefit direct to your landlord are in the Local Housing Allowance Safeguard Policy (PDF).

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        Information for self-employed claimants

        Self-employed people are those workers who are not employed under a contract. Typically, they can include trades such as window cleaners, certain taxi drivers, painters and decorators.

        A person can be self-employed as a sole trader or as part of a business partnership.

        Universal Credit from 6 September 2017

        From 6 September 2017 we will no longer be able to accept new claims for Housing Benefit unless you:

        • are of pensionable age
        • have more than two children
        • are in exempt accommodation.

        If you don’t fall into one of these categories, you will need to make a claim for Universal Credit for help with your housing costs.

        If you are self-employed and you fall into one of these categories, you will need to complete a Housing Benefit claim form and a self-employed income form.

        Information requirements for self-employed claimants

        If you have recently started trading on a self-employed basis, we will ask for an estimate of the likely income and expenses for the business over the first few months trading. This will help us to pay your Housing Benefit sooner rather than having to wait until you have been trading for a few months.

        If you have been trading for over 12 months, we will ask for a full years trading figures – normally in the way of a profit and loss account. We may also ask for the most recent tax assessment form received from HM Revenues and Customs.

        You will also need to complete a self-employed income form.

        What is your total income for Housing Benefit purposes?

        You need to provide details of all the income of the business as well as any other money coming into your household. This includes interest from business bank accounts, tips and royalties. We will advise you whether or not this money is counted for Housing Benefit purposes.

        Which expenses are then taken off this income?

        You must provide details of all of your expenses. Only expenses that are ‘wholly and exclusively’ incurred in relation to the business can be allowed for Housing Benefit purposes.

        Please note that the rules about expenses allowed for Housing Benefit purposes are different to those for Income Tax purposes. For example, depreciation and business entertainment expenses are not taken into account in the assessment of your Housing Benefit.

        Self-employed childminders

        Childminders are treated differently. Instead of working out what their actual expenses are, two thirds of their total income is disregarded. The remaining third becomes their ‘business income’ for Housing Benefit purposes.

        Business partnerships

        If you are employed in a partnership, the pre-tax profit for the business (gross income minus expenses) is divided equally between the number of partners. If there is a formal agreement in the partnership which governs that profit should be treated differently, then this will take priority.

        Tax and National Insurance

        After the net profit of the business is worked out we will make an assessment of Income Tax and National Insurance contributions. These figures may differ from the figures worked out by HM Revenue and Customs.

        Private pensions

        Please supply proof of any contributions you may make into a personal or private pension. Half of any contribution that you make will not be counted as part of your income for Housing Benefit purposes.

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        Information for students

        For Housing Benefit purposes, a student is defined as any person ‘who is attending or undertaking a course of study at an educational establishment’.

        The Housing Benefit scheme prevents some, but not all, students from qualifying for Housing Benefit.

        Full-time students

        Only full-time students are generally ineligible for Housing Benefit.

        If you are undertaking or attending a course wholly or partly funded by the Young People’s Learning Agency for England that requires more than 16 guided learning hours per week, then you are full-time.

        All students on Sandwich courses count as full-time.

        If you are on a course that doesn’t fall into the definitions above then we need to look at the details of your course, and may need to speak to your educational establishment to decide if you are full-time or not.

        If you are a full-time student, you may qualify for Housing Benefit if you are classed as a “vulnerable” student.

        Vulnerable students

        Vulnerable students may be eligible for Housing Benefit. Students that are considered vulnerable are:

        • students who are lone parents;
        • students under 21 who are not in higher education who were enrolled, accepted or started that course while they were 19 or younger;
        • students who have reached the qualifying age for Pension Credit, or whose partner has;
        • student couples where both partners are full-time students or lone parents and in either case responsible for a child or young person;
        • students in receipt of Income Support, income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance or income-related Employment and Support Allowance;
        • students who have a an allowance for deafness included in their grant;
        • students who would qualify for the disability premium or severe disability premium in the calculation of their applicable amount (this would include students who are blind or in receipt of Disability Living Allowance);
        • students who are treated as being incapable of work; and
        • students unable to get a grant or student loan following an absence from their studies (with consent of their educational establishment) due to illness or providing care. This applies only from the date of ceasing to be ill or providing care up to a maximum or one year, or when the student resumes the course.

        If you are prevented from qualifying because you are a student

        If you think that you won’t qualify because you are a student, please contact us to make sure.

        If you have a partner who is not a student and they are eligible for Housing Benefit, your partner can claim on behalf of you both. The rules preventing students from qualifying only apply if the benefit claimant is the student.

        If you are not prevented from qualifying

        If you are not prevented from qualifying for Housing Benefit due to being a student, you will still be subject to all the other rules governing Housing Benefit.

        How does student income affect Housing Benefit claims?

        The Housing Benefit rules describe how we must treat income relating to students. Some incomes we have to include, some we can disregard, we can also normally disregard an amount from a grant or loan for books and travel. Some common incomes and how we treat them are given below.

        Student loan

        We have to take any student loan available to you into account, whether you take it out or not.

        Maintenance grant

        The maintenance grant is made up of different amounts/grants some of which can be disregarded, some of which can’t. The grants that can be disregarded are:

        • higher education grant;
        • parents learning allowance;
        • child care grant; and
        • special support grant.

        How to claim Housing Benefit

        Universal Credit from 6 September 2017

        From 6 September 2017 we will no longer be able to accept new claims for Housing Benefit unless you:

        • are of pensionable age
        • have more than two children
        • are in exempt accommodation.

        If you don’t fall into one of these categories, you will need to make a claim for Universal Credit for help with your housing costs.

        If you are a student and you fall into one of these categories, you will need to complete a Housing Benefit claim form and a student information form.

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        Information for landlords

        Housing Benefit is not rent. It is a means-tested benefit (this means the amount of benefit depends on the circumstances of the person claiming it) and we award it to help pay the rent. We are not responsible for paying rent to you, the tenant is.

        Who should claim?

        Universal Credit from 6 September 2017

        From 6 September 2017 we will no longer be able to accept new claims for Housing Benefit unless the claimant:

        • is of pensionable age
        • has more than two children
        • is in exempt accommodation.

        If they don’t fall into one of these categories, they will need to claim Universal Credit for help with their housing costs.

        Who must pay Council Tax?

        An owner-occupier or tenant aged 18 or over living in the property is usually responsible for paying the Council Tax.

        In certain circumstances, owners who do not live in the property must pay the Council Tax. The most common example of this is a house in multiple occupation (HMO).

        An HMO is where:

        • a tenant or tenants rent a room in the property and share facilities, for example a bathroom or kitchen (or both); and
        • each has a separate tenancy agreement with only their name on it.

        Generally, this is an HMO and the landlord or owner is responsible for paying Council Tax.

        More information is available on the Council Tax pages.

        How much Housing Benefit is someone entitled to?

        Housing Benefit is means-tested. To decide how much someone is entitled to we have to compare the finances of the household (income and capital) to how much the government says they need to live on (this is called the applicable amount).

        For every £1 of income above the applicable amount, the weekly Housing Benefit is reduced by 65p.

        If the tenant or their partner is on one of the following benefits, we do not perform the means-test and instead assume that they have no income above their applicable amount:

        • Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
        • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
        • Income Support
        • Pension Credit Guarantee Credit.

        However if any other adults other than the tenant and their partner live in the property, we may make a deduction from the tenant’s benefit. This is called a non-dependant deduction.

        Eligible rent

        The amount of rent the tenant is contractually liable for may not be the amount we use when calculating their Housing Benefit. Most claims for Housing Benefit have their eligible rent decided by using the Local Housing Allowance rate appropriate to the date of claim.

        Your tenant will be responsible for paying any difference between the rent you are charging and the Housing Benefit we pay the tenant. If your tenant is having difficulty paying the rent they may be able to apply for extra help in the way of a discretionary housing payment.

        Making a claim

        To make a claim for Housing Benefit, a tenant must fill in a claim form and send their supporting documents to us.

        When will the Housing Benefit start?

        We should pay Housing Benefit within 14 days of getting all the information we need to work out benefit. However, benefit is often delayed because we are waiting for information.

        We will normally pay Housing Benefit from the Monday after we receive the claim. To avoid missing any benefit new tenants should claim just before they move in. Existing tenants should claim as soon as they need help.

        The best advice you can give to your tenants is that they should apply as soon as they need help paying their rent.

        When will the Housing Benefit end?

        When a tenant moves out, Housing Benefit normally ends on the day they last occupied the property.

        If a tenant moves and wants to keep on claiming they must fill in a change of address form, even if they move within the same house. They must mark their room and flat numbers clearly on the claim form. If they don’t report their change of address, they will usually end up having to pay back any Housing Benefit we have overpaid them.

        If a tenant moves out before their period of notice is up, we may be able to pay up to four weeks extra Housing Benefit, but this depends on the tenant’s circumstances. If your tenant moves out before the notice is up please let us know.

        Whilst a tenant stays in the same property, we will continue to pay Housing Benefit until they stop qualifying for it.

        Your duties

        Responsibility for the claim

        Your tenant is responsible for making the claim, although you may be asked to help them fill in the form. If you do fill it in for your tenant, make sure you fill in the section that asks for the details of the person who helped them.

        Telling us about changes

        If we pay Housing Benefit to you, you have a legal duty to tell us about changes that may affect the tenant’s entitlement or how we pay you.

        Examples of changes you should tell us about are:

        • if your tenant moves out
        • if your tenant changes accommodation (including changing rooms or flats within the same building)
        • if there is a change in the rent you charge them
        • if somebody else moves in, and
        • if your own circumstances change (for example, you change your address or bank details), if we are making the payments directly into your bank account.

        You are committing a criminal offence if, deliberately or without a reasonable excuse, you do not report a change of circumstances which is included in the regulations. We don’t expect any landlord to interfere with their tenant’s affairs, only to report changes they become aware of.

        Notifications, payments and appeals

        Notifications

        When we make a decision on a claim for Housing Benefit, we will tell everyone who our decision applies to. This is called a notification.

        We send a notification letter when payments start or end, or when we have been told about a change of circumstances.

        Each notification letter tells the tenant how much Housing Benefit they will get, when their benefit starts or changes, and how we assessed it. The letter also tells the tenant about their responsibility to report changes in their circumstances and what they can do if they are not happy with the assessment.

        If we are going to make Housing Benefit payments direct to you, we will send you a separate notification letter.

        Paying Housing Benefit

        Normally we pay Housing Benefit by BACS to the claimant, but we may pay you in certain circumstances. Information on when we may pay benefit direct to the landlord is detailed in our Safeguard Policy (PDF).

        For us to make payments direct to the landlord, a direct payment form must be completed.

        New Housing Benefit claims are paid in arrears. If we make payments direct to you, the landlord, we will pay you every four weeks in arrears. If we make payments to the tenant they will be paid every two weeks in arrears.

        Rent arrears and eviction proceedings

        If your tenant has rent arrears and is waiting on a Housing Benefit claim please contact us before starting eviction proceedings.

        We are aware that landlords can incur unwelcome costs when seeking possession of a property and we will do our best to make a prompt decision, providing we have all the information needed to assess the claim. If we are unable to make a final decision we may be able to make a payment on the account.

        Appeals

        Only a person affected by a decision about Housing Benefit can appeal.

        The claimant will always be a ‘person affected’. A landlord can also be a ‘person affected’ in the following circumstances:

        • we have made a decision to make direct payments to you
        • we have made a decision not to make payments direct to you
        • when we plan to take back money we overpaid you.

        Overpayments

        When we pay Housing Benefit direct to a landlord and their tenant’s entitlement to Housing Benefit changes, we may ask the landlord to repay the money which has been overpaid.

        Each case is decided on its own merits. If we decide that it is appropriate to recover the money form the landlord, we will invoice them. The invoice will show the period in which the overpayment occurred, the name of the tenant and the amount of overpayment. If a landlord has difficulty repaying the money we may be able to negotiate repayment by instalments.

        If a landlord fails to make repayments of overpaid Housing Benefit, we can recover outstanding payments from any future payments of Housing Benefit due to be paid to the landlord. We are reluctant to recover overpayments in this way but occasionally we are forced to do so. If we do invoke these powers it means that for each tenant in respect of whom Housing Benefit is being paid, the amount of their entitlement will be offset against the overpayment.

        In these cases the landlord must reduce the tenant’s rent liability by the full value of their Housing Benefit entitlement. The landlord is not entitled to seek to recover the monies from their tenant.

        The legislation that enables this is contained within Section 16 of the Social Security Administration Act 1997.

        For more information please see the overpayments page.

        What we can and can’t discuss with you about your tenant’s claim

        We can tell landlords certain information about their tenant’s benefit claims with their tenant’s consent. We can’t, however, tell you details about the personal circumstances of your tenant such as income, savings or household membership.

        Before disclosing benefit information, we must receive authorisation in writing from your tenant allowing the sharing of information. We cannot accept authorisation over the telephone. We have a consent form which allows tenants to confirm that they give us their permission to share information about their benefit claim with their landlord.

        Please be aware that tenants have a right of confidentiality, and therefore the right to not consent to the disclosure of their information to their landlord and they can withdraw their permission to disclose at any time and without reason.

        In all cases, before sharing any information we need to be satisfied that we are actually speaking to the landlord, and will make appropriate checks to confirm this. This could mean checking your name and address against information held on council records, asking you to verify details on a claim such as the rent charged or the tenancy start date, or phoning you back on a known number. If we are not satisfied that the person on the end of the line is the landlord, we will not release any information.

        If your tenant has given their permission for us to share information about their benefit claim with you, we can tell you:

        • if a claim has been received
        • if we have written to your tenant for further information and what that information is in broad terms (for example proof of rent, proof of income)
        • if the claimant has responded to a request for information, and the claim is awaiting assessment
        • that a claim has been assessed or refused
        • the date the claim started and if appropriate ended
        • that the entitlement has changed and confirm the new and old amount of Housing Benefit (only in relation to the address that you are responsible for)
        • that the claim is suspended and the reasons why in broad terms (for example information requested from the claimant, information not provided by the claimant, change of circumstance reported to us by the claimant)
        • that entitlement has ended because of a change of address or change in circumstance
        • that there is an overpayment outstanding which is being recovered from the current address, how much is remaining on the overpayment and how much is being deducted from weekly benefit entitlement because of it
        • about the payments that have been issued to the claimant (for example amounts and dates that the payment covers) since the start of the claim at the address that you are responsible for only.

        If you are being paid Housing Benefit direct, even if we have no authorisation from your tenant to share information, we can tell you:

        • that a claim has been assessed
        • the date the claim started and if appropriate ended
        • the weekly amount of benefit the claimant is entitled to while you are being paid
        • the amounts of benefit paid to you, the dates the payments were issued and the dates the payments cover
        • that there is an overpayment outstanding, and how much is being deducted from weekly benefit because of it
        • that entitlement has ended because of a change of address or change in circumstance (but no details as to what that change in circumstance is)
        • that the claim is suspended and the reasons why in broad terms (for example information requested from the claimant, information not provided by the claimant, change of circumstance reported to us by the claimant)
        • that an overpayment has been created which will be recoverable from the claimant’s entitlement
        • that we have decided to stop payment to you and when from.

        Information we can’t share with landlords

        We can’t tell you any details about your tenant or their household’s personal or financial circumstances, for example:

        • details of who they work for, how much they earn, how much savings they have or who they bank with
        • how many people are living in the property, what their names or gender are or what their financial circumstances are
        • personal details such as their date of birth or National Insurance number
        • a forwarding address or previous address.

        For prospective tenants we can’t tell you any details about:

        • previous addresses
        • previous rent arrears
        • Housing Benefit overpayments, or
        • previous Housing Benefit payments paid either to them or a previous landlord.

        Please be aware that the unlawful obtaining or disclosing of personal information is an offence under the Data Protection Act.

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        Other adults (non-dependants) who live with you

        A non-dependant is normally any adult who lives with you and is not your partner. In some cases we make a deduction from your Housing Benefit to represent the contribution the government expects them to make to your household. This is called a non-dependant deduction.

        The non-dependant deduction is taken from the maximum Housing Benefit before we work out how much help we can give you with the remaining amount.

        Non-dependant deductions April 2018 to March 2019

        The table below shows the Housing Benefit non-dependant deduction amounts for April 2018 to March 2019.

        Non-dependant income

        Deduction per week

        £

        Aged under 25 and on Income Support, income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance, Universal Credit (without earnings) or income-related Employment and Support Allowance which does not include an amount for the support component or work related activity componentNil
        Aged 25 or over and on Income Support or Jobseeker’s Allowance (income-based), Universal Credit (without earnings) or aged 18 or over and not working or working less than 16 hours each week15.25
        In receipt of main phase Employment and Support Allowance (income-related)15.25
        In receipt of Pension CreditNil
        Aged 18 or over and working an average of 16 hours each week or on Universal Credit with earnings (the income from Universal Credit and earnings will be combined):
        – gross income less than £139.0015.25
        – gross income between £139.00 and £203.9935.00
        – gross income between £204.00 and £264.9948.05
        – gross income between £265.00 and £353.9978.65
        – gross income between £354.00 and £438.9989.55
        – gross income £439.00 or more98.30

         

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        If you disagree with our decision about your Housing Benefit

        When you apply for Housing Benefit, we will give you a decision in writing about your claim. If you disagree with our decision, you can ask us to look at it again.

        The Housing Benefit appeals process

        If you disagree with our decision about your Housing Benefit claim, there are three things you can do:

        • ask us for an explanation of the decision,
        • ask us to look at your claim again, or
        • submit an appeal in writing giving reasons why you disagree with the decision.

        You must be the person affected by our decision to ask us for any of these options.

        Ask us for an explanation of the decision

        If you do not understand how we have worked out your Housing Benefit, or you want to know more about any part of the calculation, you can ask for an explanation. You must ask for this within one month of the date on your decision letter.

        You can use our appeal form to do this.

        We will give you a statement (called a statement of reasons) in writing to explain how we made our decision. This does not affect your right to appeal against our decision.

        If you still believe that the decision is wrong you can ask us to look at our decision again or appeal against the decision.

        Ask us to look at your claim again

        If you think we have made a mistake you can ask us to look at our decision again. We will check your claim thoroughly and take account of any information you have given. You must write to us within one month of the date on the original decision letter. If there are special circumstances which mean you cannot write to us within one month, you must contact us to explain why. We may still be able to look at our decision again.

        Please use our appeal form to explain to us why you think your Housing Benefit decision is wrong.

        We will look at our decision again and if it is wrong we will change it and send you a new decision letter. As long as you have written to us within one month (or have special reasons for any delay), your Housing Benefit will be changed from the date of our original decision.

        If we receive your letter after one month and there were no special reasons for delay, your Housing Benefit will usually be changed from the Monday after we receive your letter.

        If we cannot change the decision we will write to you telling you that the original decision cannot be changed. The letter will tell you if you can still appeal against the original decision. If you can appeal you must do so within one calendar month from the date of our letter to you.

        Formally appeal against a Housing Benefit decision

        You can do this without first asking for an explanation or for us to look at our decision again.

        You must appeal in writing and you must send your appeal within one calendar month of the date on the decision letter.

        You can use our appeal form to do this.

        An Appeals Officer will look at your case to see if they can change the decision. If they are unable to change the decision they will prepare a submission for the Tribunal Service.

        The Tribunal Service is an independent agency who decide Housing Benefit appeals based on the law. The First Tier Tribunal will hear your appeal.

        It is important that you give your reasons for appealing because the tribunal does not have to look at anything you don’t mention in your letter. The tribunal can only look at the evidence, the law, and the circumstances at the time the original decision was made.

        A copy of the appeal papers will be sent to you and your representative if you have one. You should read the appeal papers carefully. If you do not understand something, ask us, an advice centre or solicitor to explain. The Tribunal Service will then write to you to tell you what happens next.

        You will be invited to have your appeal heard as either a paper or oral hearing. If you choose an oral hearing you will be invited to attend the tribunal to support your case. This is optional. We may also send one of our Appeals Officers to the tribunal hearing.

        After hearing all the evidence, the tribunal will make a decision about the issue under dispute. You will be told this decision in writing. If the tribunal decides in your favour, we will change the decision as soon as possible and write to you to letting you know the outcome.

        If you do not agree with the First Tier Tribunal’s decision, you may be able to appeal to the Upper Tier Tribunal.

        You can only appeal to the Upper Tier Tribunal if you believe the First Tier Tribunal has not applied the law correctly to your case.

        Who can make a Housing Benefit appeal?

        Only certain people have the right of appeal. This is usually only the claimant and, in certain circumstances, the landlord. If you want to appeal against our Housing Benefit decision you must write to us with full details of your reasons for appealing and sign your letter. We must receive your appeal within one month of the date of the decision letter.

        Landlords and Housing Benefit appeals

        Your landlord only has certain rights to appeal if they don’t agree with our decision about your Housing Benefit:

        • your landlord can appeal if our decision is not to pay your Housing Benefit direct to them.
        • your landlord can appeal if we ask them to pay back any Housing Benefit we have overpaid you.

        Your landlord cannot appeal about how much Housing Benefit we give you.

        If we reduce your Housing Benefit to recover any benefit we have overpaid you from a previous address, your current landlord cannot appeal against our decision to recover that payment.

        Late appeals

        If we receive your written request for appeal more than one month after the date on the decision letter, the Tribunals Service may not accept your appeal.

        If you are appealing late, as well as giving your reasons for appeal you should give reasons as to why your appeal is late. You will be told if your late appeal has been accepted.

        Please note that the maximum time limit for a Housing Benefit appeal is 13 months from the date of the original decision. Neither the Tribunal Service nor the council will be able to accept a Housing Benefit appeal if it is made over 13 months after the original decision.

        Decisions you can’t appeal against

        You can ask us to look again at any decision you think is wrong, but there are some decisions you can’t appeal against, for example:

        • the information and proof we need you to give us.
        • how often we pay you.
        • that we have a right to recover an amount we have overpaid you.
        • how we recover the amount we overpaid you.
        • the Local Housing Allowance amount set by the Valuation Office. However, you can appeal if you think we have used the wrong LHA rate for the size of your household.
        • The amount for your maximum rent set by the Rent Officer.

        Information about discretionary housing payment appeals.

        For more information about the Tribunal Service and the Housing Benefit appeals process, please see the Tribunal Service website.

        Appeal forms

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