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Letter to council re council tax support

I’ve just tried phoning my council to explain to them that I don’t understand how my council tax support is calculated, would like to know how it is calculated and what the various terms mean, and would like also to let them know that the DWP keeps getting my UC housing element wrong and therefore all CTS calculations based on my UC are also wrong.

But the people I spoke to didn’t understand what I was trying to say. I’m pretty confused myself. But I’m concerned enough to email.

Dear XX Council,

Please could you explain some of the terms used re calculating my council tax support, as currently I do not understand how the award is reached and am concerned therefore that I can’t check that it is right.

I have worked out that ‘Total Applicable Amount’ refers to the Universal Credit standard allowance of £73.34/week plus my UC housing element. This is also the figure used for ‘the amount the law says you need to live on’.

A letter dated XX/XX/XXXX refers to ‘net earnings’ of £XX.XX, which aren’t counted towards my income for the purposes of calculating Council Tax Support. Letters dated XX/XX/XXX and XX/XX/XXXX do not include any ‘net earnings’. Please could you tell me what ‘net earnings’ refers to.

In the same ‘your income’ section as ‘net earnings’ there is ‘Universal Credit award’. This has been given as £XX.XX on XX/XX/XXX, £XX.XX on XX/XX/XXX and £XX.XX on XX/XX/XXX. The first and last appear to be UC standard allowance plus housing element minus 63% of my earnings each week, whilst the middle is UC standard allowance plus 37% of earnings. The three differ because UC keeps giving me the wrong amount for my housing element (it should be 86% of my housing costs, but has been set at 100%, 0% and 64% so far).

Please could you explain the maths used to calculate ‘Universal Credit award’, and why on two occasions it was my initial award minus 63% of earnings whilst on one occasion it was my initial award plus 37% of earnings. It seems to me that the calculation used on XX/XX/XXX, which adds 37% of my earnings to my Universal Credit award, makes sense if the intention was to calculate my weekly income – which is my UC award plus 37% of earnings. On the other hand, the XX/XX/XXX and XX/XX/XXX calculations make sense if the intention was to calculate how much money I receive from the central government each week, which is my starting award minus 63% of my earnings.

Because I don’t understand what the ‘net earnings’ of XX/XX/XXX refers to, I don’t know if it is a correct figure or has been applied correctly.

Because I don’t understand how ‘Universal Credit award’ is supposed to be calculated, I don’t know whether the letters that take 63% off my actual UC income or the letter that adds 37% to my actual UC income is correct.

I don’t know if you are manually able to enter my UC housing element, because it should by £XX.XX minus the 14% Bedroom Tax for one spare bedroom. At the moment, every time a new, wrong amount is entered into my UC account, it seems to generate a new and also wrong calculation of my council tax support. Consequently, whilst I don’t know what my council tax support should be, I’m reasonably confident that so far it has been wrong every time.

I hope this makes sense to you. It only just makes any sense to me!

yours faithfully,

Stef Benstead

Account number XXXX

I’m very confused. Also, having tried to phone and then email my council, I’m not fit now to phone UC and remind them that they’ve still got my housing element wrong. Oh, and that they’re wrongly deducting £50/week for excess ESA payments that I’ve already repaid.

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