Your housing benefit or council tax reduction notification explained

Explanation of your council tax reduction notification

Sign up to MyAccount 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

Important: What to do now

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 will be recoverable from you.

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

You can ask for a written statement of reasons.

Please note that under the council tax reduction (CTR) scheme, all working age claimants, unless they are in a protected category, will have to pay at least 25% of their council tax themselves. For details of the current CTR scheme go to

Claimants who wish to dispute a decision

You can ask us to look at your claim again within one month of the date of your notification. You can use the online appeal form at or write to the address on the notification. Head your letter with “CTR Dispute” and include the date of the notification and the reasons why you think the decision is wrong. We will look at the decision again and tell you our findings. If you are still unhappy our letter will explain the process to appeal further.

You must continue to pay your council tax instalments as billed while waiting for the outcome of any dispute/ appeal.

Reporting changes in circumstances-

Claimants must inform us straight away, about any change that may affect the level of CTR awarded.

You can advise us about changes by completing our online change of circumstances form at Below are some examples of changes that claimants must report:

if you receive guaranteed pension credit you only need to advise us of the following:

  • 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 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.

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

  • 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 starts work;
  • if you are temporarily absent from home for more than 4 weeks;
  • any changes in your/your partner’s capital which do or could take your combined savings to £6,000 or more.

What you need to pay

Council tax: The weekly CTR award shown on your notification will be converted to an annual figure. You will receive a council tax bill showing any council tax reduction you may be entitled to.

Recovery of overpaid council tax reduction

The council wants to ensure that it pays the right amount of council tax reduction to all claimants and it is also working on reducing fraud and error.

If council tax reduction has been paid to someone who is not entitled to it or the amount of reduction awarded should have been less, all such overpayments would be recoverable from claimants who are of working age. All overpayments for those who have reached State Pension Credit age are recoverable unless caused by official error and which the claimant could not reasonably have been expected to know was an overpayment.

Explanatory information

  • 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 on your notification will be shown 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.
  • Unearned 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.
  • Capital - This is the total amount of capital and savings held.
  • Non-Dependant Deductions -Non-dependants are all other adults who normally live in your home. A deduction from your CTR award 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.
  • Living Allowance – (pensioners only) This is the weekly figure that the government or the council has worked out as the amount needed for day to-day living expenses, dependent upon your individual circumstances.
  • 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.
  • Self Employed minimum income floor: If you have been self-employed for 12 months or more and your income is below the UK minimum wage for a 35-hour week (this is based on the April rate each year), CTR is calculated as follows:
    • for single people and members of couples – hourly minimum wage (25 years +) x 35 hours per week.
    • for lone parents – hourly minimum wage (25 years +) x 16 hours per week.
    • couples with dependent children where both are self-employed: – hourly minimum wage (25 years +) x 35 hours per week for one member & hourly minimum wage (25 years +) x 16 hours per week for the other member.
    • If your self-employed income is higher than under the above calculation, your actual income figure will be used to calculate your CTR.
  • Maximum CTR award: Most working age people cannot receive CTR of more than 75% of their liability – there are some exceptions.

Help us to help you

The benefits service is committed to ensuring that everyone who is entitled to receive support can do so. It is also important to ensure that people do not receive support if they are not entitled to it. Therefore, if you know of anyone who is claiming financial support 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

We may be able to help if you have been asked to pay more towards your council tax. You can apply online for a discretionary council tax discount award.