Understanding benefits words

This list 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 decision again – see benefits appeals and reconsiderations

Eligible rent: the amount of rent used to calculate your Housing Benefit. This might be less than your contractual rent if your rent includes any services that aren’t eligible for Housing Benefit or a rent restriction scheme has been applied to your award.

Excess income: any income you have that is above than the applicable amount central government says you need to live on.

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

Gross earned income: your earned income before tax, national insurance and 50% pension contributions are taken off.

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.

Local Housing Allowance (LHA): a figure based on rents in each postcode area (known as BRMAs - Broad Rental Market Areas) and the number of bedrooms a household needs - used to work out the maximum eligible rent used in a Housing Benefit calculation for tenants with private landlords.

Ineligible service charges: charges you pay for services as part of your rent that are not covered by Housing Benefit.

Non-dependants: other adults, aged 18 years and over who live in your home and they are not your partner or tenant – see other adults.

Non-dependant deductions: amounts of money we take off your benefit awards 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 Support.

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

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

Tariff income from capital:  an amount we add to your weekly income figure based on how much capital you have above the lower limits. See income and savings.

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

If you require any further information – contact the benefits team.

Page last reviewed: 23 February 2024