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Your benefit letter explained

The key parts of your award letter for Housing Benefit or Council Tax Support are explained in the page below. Depending on your circumstances, only some of the details will be included in your letter.

Your weekly award together with details about how and when we will issue payments will be shown in your letter.

Whenever we pay a new claim or adjust an existing one we need to let you know how your benefit has been calculated. The award letter we send you may be complicated but we are required by law to include certain information.

Below is an explanation of terms used in your benefit award letter:

Benefit Award(s)

'Award' means what we can pay you. This is the amount of benefit you'll get before any deductions.

Income you have told us about

This is the amount of income you have told us about, less tax, national insurance and any disregarded income (see below). It is converted to a weekly amount. The higher your income is over your total applicable amount (see below), the less benefit you will get.

Disregarded Income

Disregarded income is money you get that we don't count when we work out your benefit.

Total Applicable amount

This is the weekly figure set by the Government, to represent the amount you need for day to day living expenses. The amount we use will depend on your circumstances (for example: if you are single, part of a couple, sick, disabled, elderly or a lone parent).

Excess income

Your excess income is the amount of income you have over and above your applicable amount.


A non-dependant is normally any adult who lives with you who is not your partner and not a sub-tenant or lodger. 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. The non-dependant deduction is taken from the maximum Housing Benefit and Council Tax Support before we work out how much help we can give you.

Gross rent

This is the amount you have told us you are being charged for where you live. We convert the amount to a weekly figure.

Weekly other ineligible charges

If your rent includes charges for other things we may not be able to take it all into account when we work out how much Housing Benefit you're entitled to. For example, Things like heating and hot water costs are taken off your rent to leave your eligible rent. The eligible rent is what we will base your Housing Benefit on.

Weekly eligible rent

Eligible rent is the figure that we will use to calculate your Housing Benefit entitlement. It will include costs that we can allow for such as communal cleaning, communal lighting but will not include things like personal heating charges.

Local Housing Allowance (LHA)

LHA is used to work out how much Housing Benefit can be paid. The rate is set by the Government and is based on the number of bedrooms your household needs.

How your benefit is worked out:

Rent Amount

This is the maximum amount of rent we can use to work out your Housing Benefit.

Weekly Housing Benefit Award

This is the amount of Housing Benefit that you will be entitled to each week. We work this out by doing a calculation comparing your income with your applicable amount. Explanations of how we work out your income and applicable amount are explained above.

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