If you are unsure about your entitlement to Housing Benefit or Council Tax Support please try one of the calculators available on the Gov.uk website:
If you then wish to make a claim, please go to the How can I claim benefit page which has further information.
Please note that the benefit calculator will give you an estimate of how much benefit you might be entitled to. Your actual entitlement to benefit will be decided once your claim has been assessed by the Benefits Section.
The maximum amount of Housing Benefit payable is:
- 100% of your eligible rent (after any ineligible service charges)
- If you are not working, your maximum housing benefit will be restricted so that the most you can receive in all benefits paid will be £500 per week for a couple or family or £350 for a single person.
The minimum amount of Housing Benefit payable is 50p per week . The amount of benefit you receive will depend on your household income, capital, family circumstances and whether you are subject to the benefit cap.
Your rent may be restricted if you are over accommodated. If you are renting from a private landlord, your maximum housing benefit will be based on Local Housing Allowance rates. Your benefit may be reduced if you have other adults living with you - such as grown up sons and daughters. These deductions are called ‘Non-dependant’ deductions. You will be responsible for paying the difference between the actual rent payable and the amount of benefit awarded.
How housing benefit is calculated
Housing Benefit Benefit is calculated by comparing the amount of money you have (your income) with the amount the Government says you need in order to live (the ‘Applicable Amount’).
If your income is less than or equal to your applicable amount you will receive the maximum amount of benefit payable. If your income is more than your applicable amount you will have to contribute something towards your rent yourself. The amount you will have to pay will depend on your individual circumstances.
How the applicable amount is calculated
Your applicable amount is made up of a personal allowance and any ‘premiums’ that you are entitled to. The amount awarded will depend on whether you are single, married (or living with someone as if you are married, including a partner of the same sex) and the ages of yourself and any partner or partners you may have.
Additional allowances are awarded if you have children for whom child benefit is payable. Premiums are awarded if you are a family with dependent children, if you are aged over 60 years, or if you receive a qualifying state benefit for disability or for caring for someone with a disability.
The personal allowances and premiums are set by government and the Council cannot vary them.
How your income and capital are calculated
Income: Income from all sources is taken into account in the calculation of both Housing Benefit and Main Scheme Council Tax Benefit. Some income is disregarded either in part or in full but it is still included in the assessment - this is because some types of income, whilst being fully disregarded, can give rise to a higher needs level (applicable amount) when calculating entitlement. Some examples of disregarded income are shown below:
|Type of income||Amount disregarded|
|Earnings||£5 for a single person, £10 for a couple, £20 for certain disabled people, £25 for lone parents. (Your earnings are calculated net of income tax, National Insurance, and after deducting 50% of any private pension contribution)|
|Disability Living Allowance||Fully disregarded|
|Attendance Allowance||Fully disregarded|
|Maintenance for children||Fully disregarded for Housing Benefit only. Taken into account for Council Tax Support|
|Child Benefit||Fully disregarded for Housing Benefit only. Taken into account for Council Tax Support|
|War Widow's Pension/War Disablement Pension||£10 (but Brentwood Borough Council currently operates a ‘local scheme’ that fully disregards war and war widows’ pensions)|
Working Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit are also disregarded in part if the award includes the 30 hour credit.
You may also qualify for help with child care costs if you are a single parent working 16 hours or more per week.
Couples may qualify for help with child care costs if they both work 16 hours or more per week.
Couples where one partner works 16 hours or more per week, and the other partner qualifies for a ‘disability premium’ or the ‘higher pensioner premium’ in the calculation of Housing Benefit and/or Council Tax Benefit, are also entitled to help with child care costs.
Capital: Capital from all sources is taken into account including non-interest bearing current accounts, savings accounts, building society accounts, shares, ISA’s, Unit Trusts, Premium Bonds and any other type of investment. If you have a second property, time-share or holiday home these will all be taken into account when assessing your capital. Some capital, such as a property that is occupied by an elderly relative, is disregarded.
If you are of working age the first £6000 of capital is disregarded.
If you are of pensionable age, the first £10,000 of your capital is disregarded.
If your total capital is above the amount of the capital disregard, the Council will assume a notional income of £1.00 for every £250 (or part of £250) of capital you have above the disregarded capital limit (this rises to £500 for claimants aged over 60).
If your capital is over £16000 you are ineligible to claim Housing Benefit or Council Tax Benefit.
If other adults are living with you
If you have any other adults living with you - such as grown up sons or daughters, an elderly relative or a friend - your benefit may be reduced.
An adult is someone over 18 years old.
If the other adults are under 25 and in receipt of Income Support or income based Jobseekers Allowance there will be no deduction from your benefit. However, even if the other adults receive Income Support or income based Jobseekers Allowance, a deduction will be made from your Housing Benefit if they are over 25.
If the other adults are not receiving Income Support or income based Jobseekers Allowance a deduction will be made even if they are not working.
The amount of the deduction (known as a ‘non-dependant deduction’) depends on the income of the other adult or adults living with you.
If all the other adults living with you are on a low income - and if you are the only liable person for Council Tax - you may be entitled to claim Alternative Maximum Council Tax Support even if you have a high income or have capital over the £16000 limit.
Review of entitlement
Brentwood Borough Council conducts regular reviews to ensure customers are receiving their correct entitlement to Housing Benefit, Council Tax Support and Council Tax Reduction.
If our records show that you are receiving Housing Benefit, Council Tax Support or Council Tax Reduction you may be asked to complete a review in order to ensure that the information we hold regarding your entitlement is accurate and up to date.
If you receive a text message, letter or email asking you to complete an online Council Tax Support or Council Tax Reduction Review
You can start the review process by completing one of the following review forms:
If you receive a text message, letter or email asking you to complete a Housing Benefits Review
You may be required to complete a Benefit Review in one of the following ways:
- Online Benefit Review - You will be sent a letter or an SMS text with instructions on how to complete the Benefit Review online
- Benefit Officer phone call - A Benefits Officer will phone you to carry out the Benefit Review
- Benefit Officer home visit - A Benefits Officer will visit you at home to carry out the Benefit Review.