Understanding benefits words

This list of benefits words explains some of the words you might come across when claiming benefits.

Applicable amount: an amount of money central government says someone in your circumstances needs to live on

Appeal: you have the right to ask for us to look at your claim again – see benefits appeals and revisions

Income disregards:  money you get that we don’t count towards the income figure we use when we work out your benefit. See income and savings.

Eligible rent: the amount of rent used to calculate your benefit. This might be less than your contractual rent if your rent includes any services that aren’t eligible for housing benefit or you come under one of the schemes that includes rent restrictions.

Excess income: any income you have that is more than the amount central government think you need to live on (the applicable amount)

Extended payments: benefit payments you can continue to get for a period of time in some situations when your circumstances change

Gross income: your income before tax, national insurance and pension contributions are taken off

Local Housing Allowance (LHA): a figure based on rents in each area and the number of bedrooms a household needs, and used to work out the maximum Housing Benefit for private tenants.

Ineligible service charges: charges you pay for services as part of your rent that we can’t give benefit for

Non-dependants: other adults who live in your home and are not your partner or a lodge – see other adults

Non-dependant deductions: amounts of money we take off your benefit based on the income of other adults you live with. See other adults.

Relevant capital cut off: the maximum capital you can have and still be able to claim Housing Benefit or Council Tax Reduction

Rent restrictions: limits to the amount of your contractual rent we can use to calculate housing benefit. These are applied if you fall under either Local Housing Allowance (private tenants), or under-occupancy rules (social tenants)

RFWs – rent free weeks: any weeks in the year you don’t pay rent for

Tariff income from capital:  an amount we add to your income figure based on how much capital you have

Working age or Pension Credit age: many of the rules about benefits are different for people or working age and people of Pension Credit age. The age at which you can get Pension Credit depends on whether you are male or female and when you were born. You can find out what  age applies to you using the gov.uk state pension calculator.