Housing and Council Tax Benefit
Housing and Council Tax Benefit schemes are administered under legislation and regulations issued by central government. They are put in place to assist residents, on a low income, to meet the costs of their rent and council tax.
There are several types of benefits you may be able to claim to assist with your Rent and Council Tax. These include:
- Rent Rebate - This is paid directly onto the rent account of eligible tenants living in our properties.
- Rent Allowance - This is paid to eligible residents living in privately rented accommodation, including lodgers, boarders, sub-tenants and residents of mobile homes.
- Local Housing Allowance (LHA) – Introduced in April 2008 for all new and change of address claims. LHA is a simplified Housing Benefit system for people on benefits or low incomes who rent from private landlords. LHA is based on the number of bedrooms people are allowed under the scheme, not how much their rent is. The number of bedrooms allowed depends on who lives with the tenant.
- Council Tax Benefit - This is paid to eligible residents who are liable to pay Council Tax on their property. It is paid by reducing the annual Council Tax bill by any amount of Council Tax Benefit due.
- Second Adult Rebate (SAR) - This is a type of Council Tax Benefit for residents who have a second adult (or adults in some cases) in the property on a low income. The benefit is based on the second adult(s) income and the general idea is that it substitutes any discount the liable person has lost due to the second adult being in the property.
Further information can be obtained by using the links down the left hand side, telephone 01246 242447 or submit an enquiry form
Changes from the April 2013
The Benefit Cap
From April 2013 Central Government will begin to 'roll out' a maximum ‘benefit cap’ for all benefit claimants. Initially it is anticipated that these changes will be applied to four boroughs within the London area. The changes are expected to become applicable to residents within the Bolsover District Council area from the 15th July 2013.
For couples and lone parents the cap will be set at £500.00 per week and for single adults the cap will be £350.00 per week.
The cap will apply to the combination of the following benefits:
- Job Seekers Allowance
- Income Support
- Employment and Support Allowance (except where paid alongside ESA support component)
- Housing Benefit
- Child Benefit
- Child Tax Credits
- Carer’s Allowance
- Maternity Allowance
- Universal Credit (from October 2013)
Any combination of the above benefits, totalling over £500.00 or £350.00 per week, will be subject to a ‘benefits cap’.
Where applicable the benefit cap will be enforced by Local Authorities via a reduction in Housing Benefit. In the future it is anticipated that the benefits cap will be delivered via Universal Credit.
The following Benefits will NOT be taken into consideration when calculating the total income to which the cap will be applied:
- Council Tax Support
- Social fund payments
- Working Tax Credits
- Disability Living Allowance/Attendance Allowance
- Industrial Injuries Benefit
- Personal Independence Payments (from April 2013)
- Employment and Support Allowance if paid with the Support Component
- War Widows or War Widower's Pension
Visit DirectGov to estimate how much your Housing Benefit could be reduced by if your total amount of benefit exceeds the ‘benefit cap’ limit. There will, however, be a ‘grace period’ whereby the benefits cap will not be applied for 39 weeks to those who have been in work continuously for the previous 12 months and who lose their job through no fault of their own. The NEDCAB have also produced a Debt and Budgeting Calculator which can be used to produce a draft financial statement or act as a basic income and expenditure budgeting guide/tool.
Social Sector under occupation changes
Housing Benefit entitlement for working age customers, occupying Social Sector Housing (i.e. Housing Association and Council Properties), will be subject to a restriction to their Housing Benefit. This applies should the property that they occupy be larger than their household requirements.
For Housing Benefit purposes one bedroom will be allowed for each person/couple living as part of the household, with the following exceptions:
- A child of 15 or under will be expected to share with another child of the same gender;
- A child of 9 or under will be expected to share with another child of 9 or under regardless of gender.
A bedroom will be allowed for a non-resident carer where they provide overnight care for the claimant or their partner. The extra ‘bedroom’ will be awarded in cases where the Local Authority is satisfied of the requirements for care and the arrangements that have been put in place.
The ‘eligible’ rent will be subject to a 14% restriction for being one bedroom under occupied and will be restricted by 25% for being two bedrooms under occupied.
For more information about how the new 'Under Occupation' Rules may affect you please click here.
Council Tax Support
From April 2013 Council Tax Benefit will end and will be replaced by a localised scheme known as 'Council Tax Support'.
The scheme that Bolsover District Council has adopted is as follows:-
The calculation remains unchanged, with the same rules applied as with Council Tax Benefit. However, any person of 'working age' will be subject to an 8.5% reduction in their calculated benefit entitlement.
For example, a person with a weekly Council Tax liability of £20.00 that previously qualified for maximum benefit e.g. £20.00 per week will now only be entitled to £18.30 per week. A person with a weekly Council Tax liability of £20.00 per week that previously qualified for £10.00 per week will now only be entitled to £9.15 per week.
The above changes will apply to all 'working age' claimants except those in receipt of either a war disablement pension or a war widows pension.
Regulations set by Central Government state that the above changes cannot be applied to claimants of a pensionable age. A person is a pensioner if they have attained the qualifying age for state pension credit and they are not, or, if they have a partner, their partner is not in receipt of income support, income-based jobseekers allowance, income-related employment and support allowance or universal credit.
The affect of the introduction of Council Tax Support on Social Fund Maternity and Funeral Expenses
Whilst Pensioner's will not be directly affected by the ending of Council Tax Benefit and the introduction of Council Tax Support this change may impact upon any future claim's under the Department for Work and Pensions Funeral Scheme.
Previously, entitlement to Council Tax Benefit automatically qualified both working and pensionable age claimants to assistance from the Funeral Scheme. This scheme exists to provide assistance to those 'least well off' in meeting the costs of a funeral for a family member or friend that they are responsible for. Pensioners may lose the right to automatic qualification once Council Tax Benefit ends in April 2013.
If you would like further information regarding Social Fund Maternity and Funeral Expenses please visit:
Changes from October 2013
The Government is proposing to introduce a new type of Benefit known as ‘Universal Credit’ commencing from October 2013.
Universal Credit will replace a range of Benefits including:
- Job Seekers Allowance
- Housing Benefits
- Child Tax Credits
- Working Tax Credits
- Income Support
- Income Related Employment and Support Allowance.
‘Working’ age customers will be assessed under Universal Credit by October 2017.
Other Advice and Support agencies you can contact for free for confidential advice:
- 2 Shires Credit Union (Savings and loans)
- Advice Derbyshire
- Citizens Advice Bureau - The NEDCAB have also produced a Debt and Budgeting Calculator which can be used to produce a draft financial statement or act as a basic income and expenditure budgeting guide/tool.
- Derbyshire Unemployed Workers Centre
- Mortgage Rescue Scheme
- National Debt Line
- North East Derbyshire Citizens Advice Bureau
Further information will be provided on this change as and when it becomes available.
If you would like any further clarification regarding these changes please do not hesitate to or submit an enquiry form or contact us on 01246 242436 to talk to one of our Advisors.
Last Updated on Friday, 17 May 2013 09:29
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