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How much money does the Government say I need to live on?

Once we have determined the composition of your household we then need to work out how much money the Government says you need to meet your basic living needs. This is called your applicable amount.

Your applicable amount is made up of personal allowances and premiums that reflect the composition and special circumstances of your household. The applicable amount we determine in respect of your household is the same in both the calculation of your Housing and Council Tax Benefit.

Once we have determined your applicable amount we compare it against the amount of income that your household receives. If your income is deemed to be less than your applicable amount you will receive maximum Housing and Council Tax Benefit.

If your income is above the applicable amount set by the Government the amount of Housing and Council Tax Benefit will be reduced by a sliding scale calculation.

If you are in receipt of Jobseekers Allowance (income based), Income Support or Guaranteed Pension Credit we will not need to determine your applicable amount, and you will get maximum Housing and Council Tax Benefit.

Personal Allowances and Premiums

Personal allowances are amounts set by the Government and reflect your family’s composition and age. There are a number of different rates for single claimants, dependant upon their age and whether they are lone parents or not. There are also different rates for couples, dependant upon their ages, and set amounts for each child or young person within the family. There are no personal allowances for non-dependants living in your home.

Premiums are awarded when the conditions for entitlement are met, and in most cases are triggered by the receipt of a specific state benefit by a member of the claimant’s family. The most common premium is the family premium which is awarded when there is at least one child or young person in the claimant’s family. Other premiums tend to reflect a persons degree of disability or illness, their care needs, and tend to be more complicated.

The exact way we determine your applicable amount can be complex and the rates that the Government sets are reviewed annually. For these reasons it is impractical to describe all the possible scenarios that might make up a claimant’s applicable amount.