Your 2020 notification letters explained
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We send you a new letter every time there is a change to the amount of Housing Benefit and Council Tax Support you get. Sometimes your letter will show different amounts for different periods where your benefit has changed due to changes in your circumstances, for example if your income has gone up or down.
What you need to do
You need to check each page carefully to make sure the information we have used to work out your awards is correct. This is very important as if the information is wrong and we pay you too much, we may ask you to repay any amount overpaid. Contact us straight away if any information is wrong.
If you pay Council Tax, your new bill is based on this assessment and so any balance left to pay should be paid as stated on the bill. If your bill says ‘Direct Debit’, the instalments will be automatically collected from your bank account and you don’t need to do anything.
If you rent your home from us, your Housing Benefit will be credited to your rent account. If you don’t rent your home from us, we will pay any Housing Benefit as stated in the letter.
If something changes
Please tell us about any changes to your circumstances. We will also need to see proof of your new circumstances.
You don’t need to tell us about changes to the amount of Council Tax you have to pay or, if you are a council tenant, changes to your rent.
If you disagree with our decision
If you disagree with a decision about the amount you have been awarded or whether you’re entitled to support, you may be able to challenge a Housing Benefit or Council Tax Support decision.
An explanation of some of the words in your letter
Your applicable amount is the amount of money that the government says you need to cover basic living costs each week. This doesn’t include rent and Council Tax and it depends on your individual circumstances. The amount is set by the Department for Work and Pensions and changes every year.
We compare your income to your applicable amount to work out how much benefit you get. The higher your income is above your applicable amount, the less benefit you will get.
If you get Employment and Support Allowance (income-related), Income Support, Jobseeker’s allowance (income-based) or Pension Credit guaranteed credit, we don’t use an applicable amount to work out your Housing Benefit and Council Tax Support.
Gross weekly income
Your gross weekly income is all the money you have coming in each week.
Your total weekly income used is the income we use to work out how much Housing Benefit and Council Tax Support you get. The higher your income is above your applicable amount, the less benefit you will get.
Disregarded income is money you get that we don’t count when we work out your benefit.
Your excess income is the amount of income you have over your applicable amount.
A non-dependant is normally any adult who lives with you who is not your partner. In some cases we make a deduction from your Housing Benefit and Council Tax Support to represent the contribution the government expects them to make to your household. This is called a non-dependant deduction.