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Revenues and Benefits
Plymouth City Council
Plymouth PL1 2AA
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Woman on a helpdesk

Housing Benefit and Council Tax Support frequently asked questions

What is Housing Benefit and Council Tax Support

Housing Benefit is a national welfare benefit.  Council tax support is a local scheme.

The purpose of housing benefit is to help people on low incomes to pay their rent.

The purpose of council tax support is to help people on low incomes to pay their council tax.

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What is Local Housing Allowance?

Local Housing Allowance (LHA) came into force in Plymouth on 7 April 2008 and applies to all new housing benefit claims from tenants who rent accommodation from private landlords.

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What is Second Adult Rebate?

Second Adult Rebate is a benefit you can claim if you are a pension age council tax payer whose income, savings or investments are too high for you to qualify for council tax support.

You may claim Second Adult Rebate if you have at least one non-dependant adult, who is on a low income, living with you on a non-commercial basis. Under normal circumstances a partner or lodger will not entitle you to claim Second Adult Rebate.

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Who can claim Housing Benefit  or Council Tax Support?

Anyone who has a legal liability to pay rent on their home may claim housing benefit.

Anyone who has a council tax liability may claim council tax support.

It costs nothing to claim but you must complete an application form which is available from the benefits section or download a form from our application form page.

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How much would I get?

I am on Income Support, Guaranteed Credit, Job Seekers Allowance (income based) or Employment and Support Allowance (Income Related)

You would receive maximum benefit. This is 100 per cent of the eligible rent (set by the Rent Service) and/or eligible council tax less any non-dependant deductions for people living with you over the age of 18 years. These rates are set annually by Central Government.

I am not on any of the above benefis but I receive a low wage or a small pension

If you have no income or your net income is less than the government say you have to live on (or equal to it), then you would receive the maximum benefit or support.

If your net income exceeds your applicable amount, you would receive:

  • Maximum benefit eligible rent, less 65 per cent of your excess income deducted from the eligible rent
  • Maximum support for council tax, less 20 per cent of your excess income deducted from the eligible council tax

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What is an applicable amount?

The applicable amount is the figure used in calculating housing benefit or council tax support. It reflects the basic needs of you and your family. If you are on Income Support or Job Seekers Allowance (income based) the Benefits Agency has already worked out your applicable amount and that is what you receive in those benefits.

Applicable amounts are the same for housing benefit and council tax support.

I want to know more, where do I go?

For further information, visit the Department of Works and Pensions website.

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