Your benefit letter explained

Here is an explanation of some of the terms that may be used in your Housing Benefit or Council Tax Support award letter:

Benefit Award(s)

This is the amount of benefit we can pay you, before any deductions.

Income you have told us about

This is the amount of income you have told us about, before 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

This 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

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


Non-dependants are adults who normally live with you and are not your partner, a joint tenant or owner or someone who pays you rent.

In some cases we make a deduction from your Housing Benefit and Council Tax Support to represent the contribution the government expects these non-dependants to make to your household. This deduction is taken from the maximum Housing Benefit and Council Tax Support before we work out how much help we can give you.

For more information please see: Other adults who live with you

Gross rent

This is the amount of rent you have told us you pay. We convert the amount to a weekly figure.

Weekly other ineligible charges

If your rent covers charges for other things such as heating or hot water, we may not be able to take it all into account when we work out how much Housing Benefit you're entitled to. These other ineligible charges will be deducted, leaving what is known as your eligible rent (see below).

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 or communal lighting, but will not include things like personal heating charges.

Local Housing Allowance (LHA)

LHA rates are 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.

For more information please see: Current LHA rates

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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Page last updated: 23 November 2020

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