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Advice & Benefits

Benefits


The Borough Council is responsible for:

  • Council Tax Support
  • Housing Benefit
  • Local Housing Allowance

This section provides information on who is eligible, how they are calculated and you will also find all forms needed to make your application. 

From April 2013, the government introduced a 'size criteria' which limits how many bedrooms your family will receive benefit for.

It only affects people of working age who claim Housing Benefit, so if you (or your partner) are not claiming Housing Benefit, or are old enough to claim Pension Credit in April 2013, you will not be affected.

The government introduced this measure to bring benefit calculations in the social sector into line with those already in the private sector.

What about couples in which one partner is of working age and one is of Pension Credit-qualifying age?

For couples currently claiming Housing Benefit, both the claimant and their partner need to be under the Pension Credit qualifying age to be treated as working age and subject to the size criteria.

How many rooms am I allowed?

There are strict rules that show the number you need. It will not take into account if you have children visiting at weekends or if you use your bedroom for something else (e.g.a dining room or storage area).

To work out the size criteria you need to count one bedroom for the following people:

  • every adult couple (married or unmarried)
  • any other adult aged 16 years or over
  • any two children under age 10 years
  • any two children of the same gender aged up to and including 15  years
  • any other child
  • a non-resident carer if providing regular overnight care for the tenant or their partner.

Examples of households who could be affected:

  • Separated parents who share the care of their children and who may have been allocated an extra bedroom to reflect this. Benefit rules mean that there must be a designated ‘main carer’ for children, who receives the extra benefit
  • Couples who use their ‘spare’ bedroom when recovering from an illness or operation
  • Parents whose children visit but are not part of the household

How much will people lose?

If you have one extra bedroom, your Housing Benefit will be reduced by 14% of your eligible rent. If you have two or more extra bedrooms, your Housing Benefit will be reduced by 25% of your eligible rent.

If this affects you, you need to discuss your options with your Landlord. This may include

  • Paying the extra money yourself
  • Moving to a smaller property
  • Sharing your home with someone else
  • Claiming a Discretionary Payment.

To find out more information about the Social Sector Size Criteria please click here.

If you need any further help or support please contact Newcastle Housing Advice Service who can offer a range of options such as debt advice and finding alternative accommodation. You can visit their offices in Merrial Street or telephone them on 01782 635200 for an appointment.

Changes to the Housing Benefit Scheme from April 2011

The Government’s Comprehensive Spending Review has lead to reforms and changes to the current Housing Benefit scheme. These changes may affect the amount of benefit claimants will receive from Newcastle Borough Council.

The following changes came in with effect from 1 April 2011:-

Help with fewer bedrooms

The maximum number of bedrooms that Local Housing Allowance (LHA) helps with has been reduced from 5 to 4.

LHA cap

LHA allows set amounts for the rent depending on the area and number of bedrooms. Now, an absolute cap is introduced so that - whatever the rent is - the LHA weekly rates cannot exceed:

  • £250 for a 1 bedroom property 
  • £290 for a 2 bedroom property 
  • £340 for a 3 bedroom property 
  • £400 for a 4 bedroom property

Less help for 'more expensive' properties

LHA rates for rooms have been based upon the median (the 'average') rental charge in an area. This is reduced to the lower third.

So, in each market area, if there were 100 rental properties, the LHA rates would be based on the 30th lowest rent of those 100 properties, rather than the middle. This means generally, that LHA will only cover cheaper rents. Anyone wanting to remain in a higher rented property will have to find the difference, or they will have to move to a cheaper property or move to a 'cheaper' area.

Help for overnight carers

An extra bedroom is allowed for non resident overnight carers of a disabled HB resident, where:

  • the carer(s) have a home elsewhere
  • the carer(s) provide(s) the required overnight care
  • the extra bedroom is available
  • the tenant gets the middle or highest rate of either Disability Living Allowance or Attendance Allowance.  Otherwise evidence from a GP is needed.
  • Care provided by other household members does not count.

Non dependant deductions increase:

Other adults expected to contribute more to the rent and Council Tax bill

Set amounts are deducted from a tenant's HB, LHA or CTR for 'non dependants' living in the home - for example, a grown up son or daughter. The amount depends on the non dependant's circumstances. Exemptions apply.  Set out below are the non dependant charges from April 2014:-

Council Tax Support Non-dependant Deductions

Amount

In receipt of state Pension Credit or in receipt of IS, JSA(IB), or ESA(IR)

Nil

Aged 18 or over and in remunerative work:-

-gross income greater than £406.00

£11.25

-gross income not less than £326.00 but less than £406.00

£9.40

-gross income not less than £188.00 but less than £326.00

£7.45

-gross income less than £188.00

£3.70

Others aged 18 or over

£3.70

 

Housing Benefit Non-dependant Deductions

Amount

Aged 25 or over and on IS/JSA(IB), or aged 18 or over and not in remunerative work

£14.15

In receipt of main phase ESA(IR)

£14.15

In receipt of Pension Credit

Nil

Not in receipt of main phase ESA(IR) rate

Nil

Aged 18 or over and in remunerative work:-

-gross income less than £128.00

£14.15

-gross income not less than £128.00 but less than £188.00

£32.45

-gross income not less than £188.00 but less than £245.00

£44.55

- gross income not less than £245.00 but less than £326.00

£72.95

- gross income not less than £326.00 but less than £406.00

£83.05

- gross income not less than £406.00

£91.15

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