Your housing benefit or council tax reduction notification explained

Housing benefit notification explanation

Explanation of housing benefit notification for tenants and landlords

Please read the notes below.

Sign up to MyAccount at to access your benefits account online where you can:

  • view your housing benefit and council tax reduction entitlement, payment dates and amounts
  • see how your housing benefit and council tax reduction has been calculated.

For further details of how we use and share your data please read the benefits service privacy notice at

You must check the information on the notification posted to you or available online if you have asked for electronic notifications, to make sure that everything is correct (some of the terms used are explained below).

If you think any details are wrong, you must tell us immediately so we can correct it as any overpayment of benefit may be recoverable from you.

If you want to know more about the decision or you think it is wrong

You can ask for a written statement of reasons.

Landlords can only dispute whether we will pay benefit direct to them or not, or whether an overpayment is recoverable from them.

Claimants can dispute most decisions we have made about their claim.

Claimants and Landlords who wish to dispute a decision can request a revision or an appeal. This can be done using the online appeal form at or in writing, by the person appealing. Your request must be received by the benefits service within one month of the date of your notification. Please state if you are asking for a revision or are appealing and the date of the decision and reasons why you believe the decision is wrong. On revision we will look at the decision again and tell you our findings. On appeal, if we find our decision is correct, your case will be forwarded to the Tribunal Service to arrange an independent appeal tribunal hearing.

Reporting changes in circumstances

Landlords and claimants must tell us straight away, about any change that may affect the level of benefit in payment. You can tell us about changes by completing our online change of circumstances form at Landlords reporting suspected overpayments of housing benefit must still do so online or in writing.

Below are some examples of changes that claimants must report and landlords also if they become aware of a change in their tenant’s circumstances.

If you receive guarantee pension credit you only need to advise us of the following:

  • any changes in your tenancy including a change of address, increases in your rent, unless you are a local authority tenant
  • any change in the circumstances of a non-dependant who normally lives with you or if a non-dependant comes to live with you
  • if you are absent from your home for more than 4 weeks including stays in hospital.

If you receive only the savings credit element of pension credit you need to inform us of the above changes plus:

  • any changes in your/your partner’s capital which do or could take your combined savings above £16,000
  • if your partner has joined or left your household or moves address.

For everyone else under or of pensionable age you must, in addition to the above changes, report the following:

Any changes in you/your partner’s capital which take your combined savings above £10,000 for pensioners, and above £6,000 for working age people not on income support, employment support (IR) or jobseeker’s allowance (IB);

  • if you or your partner start or stop claiming any state benefit such as income support, job seekers allowance. Employment support allowance, incapacity benefit, universal credit and child benefit
  • if you or your partner or other people who live in your household, start or stop working including self-employment, get a pay rise, change the number of hours worked or an increase in a private pension
  • if you start or stop paying for childcare or the amount that you pay increases or reduces
  • if someone else moves into or leaves your home, a child leaves school, starts university or work, or if you are temporarily absent from home.

What you need to pay

Rent: You are responsible for paying any shortfall between the benefit awarded and the rent you are charged. If you are a council tenant, we will pay your benefit into your rent account.

Landlords and tenants’ recovery of overpaid housing benefit

If you are a landlord who receives payment of housing benefit direct from the council, the law allows us to make deductions, in respect of recoverable housing benefit overpayments that you have received, from another tenant’s housing benefit that is payable to you. Tenants and landlords must note that the law requires any monies deducted by the council to be treated as though they had been used to pay the tenant’s rent.

Explanation of terms used in you housing benefit notification

If you are unsure about any other terms, please contact us.

  • Partner - We use partner to mean someone of the opposite sex who you are married to or live with as if you were married or a person of the same sex with whom you have formed a civil partnership or are living together with as if you were civil partners.
  • Earned Income explanation - Any earnings will be shown on your notification as a weekly figure, less tax, National Insurance and half of any pension contributions. We use figures provided by the DWP for working customers receiving universal credit.
  • Any Other Income - All other types of income, child benefit, state pensions, other state benefits, private pensions, universal credit, working tax and child tax credits, student loan and student grant etc. will be shown on your notification.
  • Your Total Capital - This is the total amount of capital and savings held.
  • Your Weekly Eligible Rent - This is the amount of rent on which benefit can be paid and can be less than the amount of rent that you actually pay, due to rent restrictions and other ineligible charges.
  • Ineligible Weekly Fuel and Service Charges - This amount is an estimate made for any charges in your rent for fuel, water rates, laundry provision etc. These can be amended if evidence of actual charges is provided.
  • Applicable Amount - This is the weekly figure that the government has worked out as the amount needed for day-to-day living expenses, dependent upon your individual circumstances.
  • Payment on Account - is a type of payment made pending receipt of further information. When the required information is received your payment will be reassessed. Any overpayment resulting from a payment on account is recoverable.
  • Non-Dependant Deductions -Non-dependants are all other adults (including university students) who normally live in your home. Some of them may be expected to contribute towards your rent and council tax. A deduction from your benefits may be made, according to the individual’s income. All non- dependants should be shown on your notification. If not, you must tell us immediately.
  • Late Notification – Where changes are notified to the council more than one calendar month after the event, the claim is amended from the following Monday, unless the change has meant that benefit has been overpaid.
  • Expenses – These deductions are for any childcare costs you have declared. You must tell us immediately if you no longer pay for childcare or the amount you pay increases or decreases.

Help us to help you

The benefits service is committed to ensuring that everyone who is entitled to receive benefit can do so. It is also important to ensure that people do not receive benefit if they are not entitled to it. Therefore, if you know of anyone who is claiming benefit that they are not entitled to please contact us on the Free 24-hour Fraud Hotline 0800 328 6453. All calls are treated in the strictest confidence.

Extra help

It may be possible to give you additional help, if your benefit is restricted. You can apply for a discretionary payment at