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Our Decisions and what if you disagree

Housing Benefit and Local Council Tax Support Decisions

Award Notification letters

Whenever a new claim for Housing Benefit and/or Local Council Tax Support is received or a change of circumstances occurs which results in a change to existing entitlement an assessment is made. Following this assessment a letter will be sent out explaining our decision.

Why does my award not cover my full rent or Council Tax charge?

Housing Benefit may not pay the full amount to cover your rent because:

  • your income or savings are too high
  • you have someone living with you aged 18 or over and this may result in a deduction being made to your awards. This is known as a 'non-dependant deduction'
  • the amount of rent used to work out your benefit is restricted because your rent is too high, or because your home is too large for your needs
  • the Local Housing Allowance rate for the size of accommodation you need may be lower than the rent you are being charged
  • your rent includes something which you cannot claim Housing Benefit for, such as certain service charges.

Local Council Tax Support (LCTS) may not cover the full amount of Council Tax because:

  • all customers of working age claiming LCTS have to pay a minimum of 20% of their Council Tax bill
  • your income or savings are too high to qualify
  • you owe Council Tax for the time either before you claimed, or outside the period that you were eligible for Local Council Tax Support
  • Child Benefit payments are taken into account when calculating LCTS
  • there is a non-dependant deduction rate of £12 per week regardless of income or savings.

How do we pay Housing Benefit and Local Council Tax Support?

Housing Benefit

Housing Benefit can only be paid in arrears.

If you rent from Colchester Borough Homes your Housing Benefit entitlement will be paid straight to Colchester Borough Homes each week except for weeks you are not charged for rent.

If you rent from another registered social landlord we can either pay your Housing Benefit direct to yourself or your landlord.

If you rent from a private landlord your Housing Benefit is normally paid direct into your nominated bank account every two weeks.

In some circumstances we can consider making payments direct to your landlord even though you rent privately.

pdf icon Read the Council's policy about paying your landlord directly by clicking here [25kb]

If you would like us to consider paying your Housing Benefit direct to your landlord please complete a direct payment form.

pdf icon Click here for the Direct Payment form to pay your landlord. [68kb]

Local Council Tax Support (LCTS)

Any award of LCTS is shown as a reduction on your Council Tax bill.

What to do if you disagree with a Housing Benefit or Local Council Tax Support decision

The Housing Benefit and Local Council Tax Support team will write to tell you about each decision made about your claim. If you are unsure or disagree about any aspect of the letter you can:

  • Contact us to ask for a full explanation
  • Ask for us to look at the decision again. You must either ask for this, in writing, by email or complete the online form within 1 month of the date of the decision that you disagree with.
  • If you still do not agree with our decision you have the option to go to an Independent Tribunal. The Tribunals Service will hear Housing Benefit appeals and the Valuation Tribunal will hear appeals in respect of Local Council Tax Support.