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Housing Benefit and Council Tax Support

Useful benefit definitions

We try to make things easy for you to understand, however, some of the words we use to explain how much benefit we can give have special meanings in law and we must include these in letters.

The words and their meanings are listed below.

  1. Close relative

    In Housing Benefit law and our local Council Tax Support scheme, a close relative is defined as:

    • a parent, step-parent or parent-in-law
    • a brother, sister, half-brother or half-sister
    • a son, son-in-law, daughter, daughter-in-law, step-son or step-daughter
    • If an applicant lives with their landlord, who is also a close relative, they are not entitled to Housing Benefit.

  2. Young person

    A young person is defined as a dependent aged 16 to 20 and still entitled to child benefit.

    A young person is entitled to child benefit if they:

    • Have reached age 16 up to the following 31 August
    • Are aged 16 but under 20 in full time, non-advanced education which started before the age of 19
    • Aged 16 but under 20 on approved training that is not provided through a contract of employment which started before the age of 19

  3. Non dependants

    Non dependants are usually grown up children who are still living at home. A person is treated as a non-dependent if they are not:

    • A dependent child of the applicant's family
    • Jointly responsible for rent or Council Tax
    • Liable to pay rent to the applicant or partner
    • In paid employment by a charitable or voluntary body to care for the applicant or partner

  4. Person from abroad

    Due to the complexity of the regulations surrounding persons from abroad, we advise that you request a call back from a member of the team if you have any questions.

  5. Students

    Applicants classed as students are not normally eligible for Housing Benefit or Council Tax Support.

    Students that can claim Housing Benefit or Council Tax Support are:

    • part-time students (the application form should be accompanied with supporting documentation from the college or university)
    • those under 21 in further education who were enrolled or accepted before the age of 19
    • those who have reached the qualifying age for State Pension Credit
    • those who are disabled
    • those in receipt of Income Support or Job Seekers Allowance (Income Based)
    • those with children
    • those with non-student partners (claims should be in the name of the partner)

    Once identified as a student, an applicant is treated as one until they finish, abandon or are dismissed from the course. This includes any holiday periods during their course. 

  6. Joint occupier

    A joint occupier is someone, other than the claimant's partner, who is jointly and severally liable with the applicant to pay Council Tax and rent for the house. For Housing Benefit and Council Tax Support, the charges are split between them.

  7. Sub-tenants

    Sub-tenants are contractually liable to pay the applicant for the right to occupy part of the applicant's accommodation. They are not a member of the applicant's family, a non-dependent, a joint tenant or a boarder. 

  8. Boarders

    A boarder is liable to pay the applicant an accommodation charge which includes the provision of some cooked or prepared meals. Income from boarders is treated differently to sub-tenant income. They can claim Housing Benefit but not Council Tax Support.

  9. Extended Payments

    When an applicant starts work or increases their hours or earnings, they may no longer be entitled to Income Support, Income based Jobseeker's Allowance, Severe Disablement Allowance, Incapacity Benefit or Employment Support Allowance. If they have been receiving 1 or more of these benefits for at least 26 weeks, we can offer extended payments of Housing Benefits and Council Tax Support for the first 4 weeks of their new work.

    Benefits during the extended payment period will be the same as what the claimant received immediately before starting work.

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