Your benefit is worked out according to government rules based on the amount of rent or council tax you pay.
The amount of benefit you can get depends upon five things:
- Your and your partner's income
- Any savings or investments you or your partner have
- The size of your family
- The amount of council tax or rent you have to pay
- Whether or not anyone lives with you
You must tell us about all the income you and your family receives.
Some income may be disregarded when calculating benefit entitlement. For example, attendance allowance and disability living allowance are fully disregarded. Other examples of income disregards are:
- Earnings of £5 for a single person
- Earnings of £10 per week for a couple (one deduction, not a deduction for each member of the couple)
- Earnings of £20 per week for someone who is disabled
- Earnings of £25 per week for a lone parent
For more information relating to whether you are working or self-employed, follow the link on this page.
Savings and Investments
You must provide proof of all the capital you or your partner have. Capital can be money you have in a bank/building society account, shares, savings bonds, property, or investments. For further information on capital and savings, follow the link on this page.
If you have capital of more than £16,000, you will not be entitled to either housing benefit or council tax benefit, unless you receive pension credit (guarantee).
The size of your family
We use applicable amounts and premiums to work out your entitlement to benefit - these are amounts set by the government. Your applicable amount is sometimes referred to as a ‘needs level’, and it is made up of three parts:
- Personal allowances
- Dependants’ allowances
- Premiums (for certain categories of people).
Your income is then compared with your applicable amount (or needs level) to calculate your housing and council tax benefit.
If you are a couple, we will look at the circumstances for both you and your partner. We will compare your joint income and capital with your joint needs. Follow the links on this page for more information on personal allowances and premiums.
If you pay council tax
To work out whether you are eligible for council tax benefit, we will look at:
- How much council tax you have to pay
- Your income and savings
- A comparison of your income and savings against your applicable amount
If you pay rent
To work out whether you are eligible for housing benefit, we will look at:
- How much rent you have to pay
- Your eligible rent (if you are assessed under the old housing benefit rules)
- Your local housing allowance rate (if you are assessed under the new local housing allowance rules)
- Your income and savings
- A comparison of your income and savings against your Applicable amount
This may then be reduced if there are non-dependants living in the household (see information on non-dependants on this page).
A non-dependant is someone aged 18 years or over who lives with you. This means, for example, an adult son or daughter or an elderly relative. For most non-dependants living in your home, we will reduce your housing benefit and council tax benefit by a certain amount depending on their income. This is known as a 'non-dependant deduction'.
For further information on non-dependants or on how to make a claim, follow the relevant links on this page.
If you need more information on how much benefit you could get, please contact the Benefits Service.