Understanding your benefit entitlement

When you make a new claim or inform us about a change in your circumstances, we'll send you a letter advising you how much benefit you are entitled to and how we calculated it.

You can view your benefit entitlement and letters on your MyHarrow Account.

Changes to your entitlement

If your benefit entitlement has changed, find out What to do if your benefit entitlement has changed.

If you need help to understand your Housing Benefit entitlement you can use the sample Housing Benefit letter. It explains how we calculated your claim and the different sections on your Housing Benefit letter. The information below will explain the different terms on the letter.

Your entitlement

  • Weekly benefit award: the maximum amount of benefit you are entitled to on a weekly basis.
  • Less overpayment recovery: the amount that is deducted from your weekly benefit entitlement if you have an overpayment. The amount will be deducted until the overpayment is cleared.
  • Net benefit payable: the amount of benefit you will get each week after any overpayment deductions are taken.
  • The first payment will be: the date of your first payment. Information about your first and future payments will only on your letter if it is a new claim. If it is not a new claim then you can check your future payments on your MyHarrow account.
  • Non-dependant deductions: the amount of benefit you are entitled to may be reduced if you have other adults who share your home and they are not responsible for paying the rent. They could be an adult son or daughter, or an elderly relative. The amount of the deduction will depend on the income of the non-dependant.
  • Applicable amount: this is the amount the government says you need to live on. It varies depending on your age, the size of your family, and any special needs you have e.g. if you are disabled. If your income exceeds your applicable amount then you have excess income. Your housing benefit will be reduced by 65 pence for every £1 of excess income.

Rent and service charges

  • Weekly gross rent: the amount of rent your landlord charges you including service charges.
  • Weekly eligible rent: how much rent will be taken into consideration when we assess your benefit. It might be lower than your gross rent due to the Local Housing Allowance or the social sector size criteria.
  • Weekly ineligible service charges: services provided by your landlord that are included in your gross rent but can not be paid by Housing Benefit. For details see eligible rent for housing benefit.

Income and expenses

If you receive passported benefits it will be stated under your financial details and none of the headings below will be shown on your decision notification letter.

  • Your/your partner's weekly earned income: income from any work you or your partner do. The figure shown is after tax, national insurance and half of any pension contributions are deducted.
  • Other income (converted to weekly): income from any other source, for example tax credits, child benefit or pensions. Some types of income will be included here even if they are not considered in the final benefit calculation.
  • Assumed income from capital: 'capital' means any of the following - savings, cash, property and investments. If your capital is less than £6000 it does not affect your entitlement. For every £250, or part thereof over £6000, £1 will be added to your total weekly income. This applies regardless of whether the capital generates any income. If you have capital over £16,000 you cannot get Housing Benefit or Council Tax Support.
  • Disregarded income: income that you receive that is not taken into account when we assess your benefit. It is subtracted from the total weekly income figure shown above. It includes child benefit and some of your earned income as set by the government.
  • Less expenses: this will show if you are eligible to have expenses such as childcare costs deducted from your total income.