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Your benefit notification letters explained

During March 2019 we will send out new letters showing how much Housing Benefit and Council Tax Support you will get from 1 April 2019. 

If you’ve signed up to paperless notifications, you will receive an email with your letter attached on or shortly after 14 March. If you still receive your letters by post, you will receive your letter after 14 March. 

The letters explain how we have worked out your awards and show information correct as at 8 March. However, if you have provided any new information within the last month we may not have processed this yet. Your entitlement may change when we process the new information and if any change results in a difference to the amount of Housing Benefit or Council Tax Support you get, we will send you revised letters.

What you need to do

You need to carefully check each page to make sure the information we are using to work out your awards is correct. This is very important as if the information is wrong and we pay you too much, we may ask you to repay any amount overpaid. Contact us straight away if any information is wrong. 

If you pay Council Tax, the bill sent to you is based on this assessment and so any balance left to pay should be paid as stated on the bill. If your bill says ‘Direct Debit’, the instalments will be collected from your bank account.

If you rent your home from the council, your Housing Benefit will be credited to your rent account. If you don’t rent your home from the council we will pay any Housing Benefit as stated in the letter.

If something is going to change soon

Please tell us just before the change happens. You can use the online change of circumstances form to do this. We will also need to see proof of your new circumstances.

You don’t need to tell us about changes to the amount of Council Tax you have to pay or, if you are a council tenant, changes to your rent.

If you disagree with our decision

An explanation of some of the words in your letter

Applicable amount

Your applicable amount is the amount of money that the government says you need to cover basic living costs each week. This doesn’t include rent and Council Tax and it depends on your individual circumstances. The amount is set by the Department for Work and Pensions and changes every year.

We compare your income to your applicable amount to work out how much benefit you get. The higher your income is above your applicable amount, the less benefit you will get.

If you get Employment and Support Allowance (income-related), Income Support, Jobseeker’s allowance (income-based) or Pension Credit guaranteed credit, we don’t use an applicable amount to work out your Housing Benefit and Council Tax Support.

Gross weekly income

Your gross weekly income is all the money you have coming in each week.

Your total weekly income used is the income we use to work out how much Housing Benefit and Council Tax Support you get. The higher your income is above your applicable amount, 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.

Excess income

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

Non-dependant deduction

A non-dependant is normally any adult who lives with you who is not your partner. 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.


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