Housing Benefits and Council Tax Benefits
Benefits and rebates can be claimed if you or other people in your home are on low incomes, even if you are self-employed. The amount of benefit you will get will depend on your income, savings, and personal circumstances. You can claim Housing Benefit if you pay rent to a housing association or private landlord. You can claim Council Tax Benefit if you pay the Council Tax bill for the property where you live.
What are Housing Benefits, Council Tax Benefits, and the Second Adult Rebate?
Benefits and rebates can be claimed if you or other people in your home are on low incomes, even if you are self-employed. The amount of benefit you will get will depend on your income, savings, and personal circumstances. You can claim:
- Housing Benefit if you pay rent to a Housing Association or a private landlord.
- Council Tax Benefit if you pay the Council Tax bill for the property where you live.
A Second Adult Rebate can be claimed if you are the only person in your home who has to pay Council Tax, but there is at least one other person aged 18 or over, who is not your partner, and is not living with you paying you rent. The Second Adult Rebate calculation is based on their income, not yours.
What is a Local Housing Allowance?
Local Housing Allowance is the way we work out Housing Benefit for tenants who rent their homes from a private landlord. This scheme was introduced from 7 April 2008 and any claims made from this date onwards will have their Housing Benefit calculated using the Local Housing Allowance. If you are an existing customer and have a change address or room, or have a break in your claim, your new entitlement will be based on Local Housing Allowance.
Central Government has stated that there are a number of key aims for the Local Housing Allowance such as:
- Fairness, tenants with similar circumstances living in the same area will get the same amount of Housing Benefit.
- Choice, tenants being able to choose the quality and price of their accommodation.
- Transparency, making it easy to find out how much rent could be covered by Housing Benefit.
- Personal responsibility, by paying the allowance to the tenant we encourage them to take responsibility for budgeting and paying their rent themselves.
- Increased work incentives, greater certainty about what in-work benefit they could receive is expected to help tenants to bridge the gap between being out of work and taking a job.
- Simplicity, by removing complex rent restrictions, we speed up the decision making process.
Only a few tenancies will be exempt from the Local Housing Allowance, such as:
- Registered Social Landlord tenancies
- Protected cases, such as supported housing provided by certain local authorities, social landlords, charities and voluntary organisations
- Tenancies that are excluded from current rent restrictions, such as:
- Local Authority tenancies
- Regulated tenancies before 15 January 1989
- Other regulated tenancies (Rent Act 1977) or (Rent (Agricultural) Act 1976)
- Home Office bail hostels or probation hostels
- Housing Action Trust (HAT) lets
- Former Local Authority tenancies now transferred unless rent has been increased and felt to be unreasonable
- Exceptional cases such as caravans, houseboats (including mooring charges), mobile homes and hostels
- Cases where the rent officer judges that a substantial part of the rent is attributable to Board and Attendance for example, hotel accommodation
- Hostel accommodation
How much will I receive?
You will receive Local Housing Allowance based on the number of occupiers in your property, and the area in which you live. If you are not sure which LHA area you live in you can check the maps below:
OR you can match your postcode to your LHA. Go to the LHA webpage and follow the link to 'Find your LHA'
Entitlement to the will be means-tested and needs proof of a valid tenancy. The Local Housing Allowance rate used in the assessment remains in effect for 1 year and will not be changed if your rent increases.
Calculating your category
There are different categories of , which relate to property size. We will decide how many rooms, according to the Housing Benefit rules, you need. Tenants with similar circumstances are entitled to the same category of Local Housing Allowance.
Your category depends on the number of people in your household. One bedroom shall be allowed for each of the following categories of people:
1. A couple
2. A person aged 16 or over
3. Two children of the same sex until they are 16
4. Two children who are younger than 10 years old
5. A child (under 16)
Allowances are set by The Rent Service each month and can be found on their website.These allowances are the maximum amount that can be claimed. The actual amount you will be entitled to will depend on income, savings and circumstance. Claims are based on the rate for the month the claim is made, and will be reviewed after a year, unless there's a change in circumstances.
Other ways to reduce your Council Tax Bill
Can I get benefit?
You can estimate your entitlement to Housing Benefit, Council Tax Benefit or the Second Adult Rebate by using an online calculator. Use this to find out more information on what you are entitled to and how to claim.
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