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HOUSING BENEFIT, LOCAL HOUSING ALLOWANCE & COUNCIL TAX REDUCTION HOUSING BENEFIT, LOCAL HOUSING ALLOWANCE & COUNCIL TAX REDUCTION

Objectives When you are finished this unit you should: 1. Be able to identify Objectives When you are finished this unit you should: 1. Be able to identify who may be entitled to Housing Benefit (HB) Local Housing allowance (LHA) and Council Tax Reduction (CTR) 2. Be able to calculate HB and CTR using the calculation sheets and/or the quick benefit calculator

Types of Housing Benefit • People on Income Support or Income Based Jobseekers Allowance Types of Housing Benefit • People on Income Support or Income Based Jobseekers Allowance AND income related ESA will have 100% of HB calculated on their eligible rent less deductions for any non-dependants and under-occupancy (bedroom tax) • People not on income based benefits will have theirs calculated on the basis of their eligible rent, deductions for any non-dependants living in the house and their income

Calculating HB & CTR • The calculation is done by comparing applicable amount with Calculating HB & CTR • The calculation is done by comparing applicable amount with income • Applicable amount- This is the amount the government states that you can live on each week depending on your circumstances

 • If Income is less or equal to the applicable amount maximum housing • If Income is less or equal to the applicable amount maximum housing benefit is paid. This is 100% of eligible rent minus any deductions for non-dependants or under-occupancy (bedroom tax) • If income is greater than the applicable amount the difference is calculated and 65% of this figure is then taken from the maximum Housing Benefit, 20% from CTR

Who can claim Claimants can be anyone who: 1. 2. 3. Are responsible for Who can claim Claimants can be anyone who: 1. 2. 3. Are responsible for paying housing costs for example rent or lodgings Occupy a dwelling as their home such as tenants or lodgers Have capital below £ 16000 or in receipt of Pension Guarantee Credit

Items Not Counted As Rent Items not counted as rent for example - charges Items Not Counted As Rent Items not counted as rent for example - charges for fuel, heating, lighting, hot water, water charges or charges for meals will be deducted from the payment before HB is calculated on the remainder of the eligible rent

Rent Restrictions • A rent restriction is applied if the rent is deemed too Rent Restrictions • A rent restriction is applied if the rent is deemed too high or the property too large • Under occupancy applies from April 2013 14% reduction if one bedroom over two or more lose 25% of HB if under pension age

Non-Dependants • A Non-Dependant is anyone staying in the home over the age of Non-Dependants • A Non-Dependant is anyone staying in the home over the age of 18 • Claimants or their partners who are blind or receiving Disability Living Allowance care component (any rate) or Attendance Allowance will have no non-dependant deductions made

Payments for non-dependants working 16 hours or more per week Ø 18+ less than Payments for non-dependants working 16 hours or more per week Ø 18+ less than £ 136. 00 Ø 18+ £ 136 to £ 199. 99 Ø 18+ £ 200 to £ 258. 99 Ø 18+ £ 259 to £ 345. 99 Ø 18+ £ 346 to £ 429. 99 Ø 18+ £ 430 or more £ 14. 80 £ 34. 00 £ 46. 65 £ 76. 35 £ 86. 95 £ 95. 45

Non-Dependants not working or working less than 16 hrs per week • 18+ not Non-Dependants not working or working less than 16 hrs per week • 18+ not on IS/ib. JSA (or a government training scheme other than YT) £ 14. 80 • 25+ and on IS or ib. JSA £ 14. 80 • 25+ and entitled to universal credit • There is no non-dep deductions for anyone under the age of 25 on IS/ib. JSA or 16/17 years old • Full time students (except in the summer holidays if they work)

Problem Areas • Claiming /Starting dates • Two different forms, one for Local Authority Problem Areas • Claiming /Starting dates • Two different forms, one for Local Authority Housing and one for Private landlords/Registered Social Landlords

Rent Restrictions (cont) • The local authority, not the rent officer, will determine rent Rent Restrictions (cont) • The local authority, not the rent officer, will determine rent for an exempted property • Claimants whose rent is restricted will find that their LHA does not meet their housing costs. If they cannot negotiate a lower rent, they will have to pay the difference themselves

Backdating Claims • In “exceptional circumstances” where a claimant can show good cause a Backdating Claims • In “exceptional circumstances” where a claimant can show good cause a claim MAY be backdated for up to 6 months • Pension credit claimants 3 months good cause need not be shown • Good cause has it’s own legal meaning and it is extremely difficult to get backdated payments

Discretionary Housing Payment Local Authorities have the discretion to make additional payments if they Discretionary Housing Payment Local Authorities have the discretion to make additional payments if they believe someone needs further financial assistance with their housing costs (either rent or council tax). Local authorities do not have to make these payments and a refusal cannot be taken to appeal

Appealing a HB, LHA or CTR Appealing a benefit decision on HB, LHA or Appealing a HB, LHA or CTR Appealing a benefit decision on HB, LHA or CTR is similar to appealing other welfare benefits. Your client should ask for a written explanation of the decision. The client has 1 month to appeal against the decision giving reasons why they disagree. Any time taken by the local authority to reply to any request for a written decision is not counted in the 1 month period

COUNCIL TAX • Council tax is a domestic property based tax paid to the COUNCIL TAX • Council tax is a domestic property based tax paid to the local authority to help pay for the services they provide • Some dwellings are exempt from council tax these exemptions are available on Advisernet but some examples are as follows

Exemptions • Severe Mental Impairment • Properties left empty (unfurnished and unoccupied) for up Exemptions • Severe Mental Impairment • Properties left empty (unfurnished and unoccupied) for up to 6 months • Properties left empty by certain groups (for example, prisoners or people in care) • Properties occupied by certain groups of people such as students or people under the age of 18

Water and Sewerage • In Scotland water and sewerage is included in the council Water and Sewerage • In Scotland water and sewerage is included in the council tax bill. These will also vary according to the band • Everyone needs to pay water and sewerage regardless if they are on council tax reduction or not unless they are exempt • Water sewage goes from Band A- £ 5. 05 pwk to Band D £ 7. 56 pwk

Reductions for Council Tax • Council Tax Reduction • Reduction for disabled people • Reductions for Council Tax • Council Tax Reduction • Reduction for disabled people • If only 1 person living in the property a 25% discount applies • Second adult rebate • Property both unoccupied and unfurnished

Second Adult Rebate A liable person may claim second adult rebate as an ALTERNATIVE Second Adult Rebate A liable person may claim second adult rebate as an ALTERNATIVE to main CTR it may be applicable if the other person who is not jointly and severally liable living with them, and that person is on a low income or benefit and does not pay rent

Calculating SAR • 2 ND Adult (or all 2 nd adults) on IS/ib. JSA Calculating SAR • 2 ND Adult (or all 2 nd adults) on IS/ib. JSA - 25% of CT • 2 nd Adult total gross income under £ 196. 00 - 15% of CT • £ 196. 00 or over a week but not over £ 254. 99 per week -7. 5% of CT • £ 255 per week or more - Nil

Council Tax Reduction (CTR) • Entitlement to CTR is based on the claimants circumstances Council Tax Reduction (CTR) • Entitlement to CTR is based on the claimants circumstances including • The amount of council tax they have to pay after any discount or reduction has been made • Any non-dep living in the house • The applicable amount • Income • Assumed income from capital

Who Can Claim • Claimants can be people who • Are liable to pay Who Can Claim • Claimants can be people who • Are liable to pay council tax for a house in which they live • Have no more than £ 16000 in savings • On Guarantee element of Pension Credit no savings limit.

Calculation • People on IS or ib. JSA will get 100% of weekly liability Calculation • People on IS or ib. JSA will get 100% of weekly liability less any deduction for a non-dependant • People not on IS or ib. JSA will have their benefit calculated on the basis of their Council Tax minus any band reductions, deductions for nondeps living in the house and their income • There is NO benefit for water & sewerage

Types of Non- Dependants • Non Dependants in work of 16 + hours • Types of Non- Dependants • Non Dependants in work of 16 + hours • 18+ less than £ 200. 00 £ 3. 95 • 18+ £ 200 to £ 345. 99 £ 7. 85 • 18+ £ 346 to £ 429. 99 £ 9. 95 • £ 430 OR MORE £ 11. 90 • Not working or working less than 16 hrs • 18+ not on IS/ib. JSA (or on a government training scheme) £ 3. 95 • Under 25 on IS/ib. JSA NIL

Non-Dependent Deduction As in Housing Benefit there is no nondependent deduction for claimants or Non-Dependent Deduction As in Housing Benefit there is no nondependent deduction for claimants or their partners who are blind, receive the care component of Disability Living Allowance or Attendance Allowance

Calculation • Like HB the reduction is worked out by comparing income levels with Calculation • Like HB the reduction is worked out by comparing income levels with the applicable amount. If the income is less than or equal to the applicable amount maximum CTR is payable • If income is greater than applicable amount the CTR is the maximum benefit less 20% of the difference between the income and the applicable amount