Housing Benefit and Council Tax Reduction - Foundation
This 5 day course covers all the main points that a person assessing or offering advice on Housing Benefit and Council Tax Reduction may need.
Once completed, the delegate will be able to take a basic claim from application through to award using manual calculations.
Who would this course suit?
The obvious target for this course are Local Authority Benefit Assessors and Customer Service staff, however other teams would reap rewards from attending.
Revenues staff may also benefit from this course. When a person has difficulty meeting their Council Tax payments, the staff may be able to identify those who would benefit from Council Tax Reduction, Housing Benefit or another benefit. This in turn could reduce Council Tax debt.
Housing Officers could make use of the information they learn. Quite often they deal with customers who are in a difficult situation. Having the ability to work out what they may be entitled to or what problems may arise with the benefit could prove vital.
Housing Association staff, charity workers, support workers and any other organisation or person dealing with people who are likely to need assistance can all make use of what they will learn.
What does the course involve?
The course is run over 5 days and is available in-house or as an away course. Activities, examples, question times and opportunities to discuss and reflect on the application of the things learned, all helps with the learning process.
Welfare Benefits - It is important that those involved with Housing Benefit and Council Tax Reduction have a basic knowledge of other benefits that the customer may be receiving or entitled to. This section provides an overview of those benefits as well as details of some of the changes to come.
Council Tax - The people, the property and the money...all covered in this part of the course! In order to assess any Council Tax Reduction, it is crucial to have an understanding of how the Council Tax is charged and who may liable for the charge. The local Council Tax Reduction scheme and a brief overview of the Council Tax discounts and exemptions are discussed.
Making a Claim - How can a person claim? What are the time limits? These and other questions are answered. The learner will see what to look for on a claim form to ensure that it is complete and has the information required. Getting the applications right will save time and resources for all involved.
Verification - Once the customer has completed the claim form, they need to show that what they have declared is correct. From the their identity to their rent, the income and capital, this part shows what can be provided by the customer or sought by the officers to qualify the application.
Income and Capital - Not everyone has the same income and capital. The learner will look at the various forms of income and capital that the customer may have, then learn how to apply it to the assessment. This includes different pay-periods and possible types of capital.
Household and Applicable Amounts - The make-up of the household has an effect on the level of benefit received or, on occasion, if benefit can even be awarded. The start of day 3 shows how to establish who needs to be included and the impact this has. The Applicable Amounts part of this course teaches where to find what the personal allowances and premiums are and how they are used in the process.
Liabilities - Who should or should not be treated as liable to pay the rent? Are there situations where someone may have to pay rent but will not be able to apply? Could it be that someone does not have a tenancy agreement but could still get Housing Benefit? The learner will be able to confirm the answers to these, and other related questions, after this section of the course.
Rent - Once you have worked out who is liable to pay the rent, you then need to work out how to treat that rent. This covers who should be included when it comes to calculating the room allocations, what Local Housing Allowance (LHA) rate to use or how to work the Social Sector Size Criteria.
Benefit Cap – This is one of the biggest changes in the benefit system and it can have a big impact. We will consider what is and is not included in the benefit cap, who is excluded, how it is calculated and administered.
The rest of Day 4 is set aside to put all that has been learnt thus far into practice. Those present will take an application from start to finish, working out the entitlement using nothing more than the training, a pen, some paper and a calculator.
As the abilities and experience of the delegates may vary, this day affords the opportunity to ensure that what has been taught so far has been understood by those in attendance.
Changes in Circumstances - Changes in employment or earnings, changes in household composition or situation, changes in rental or Council Tax liability and sometimes they can all happen at once. This will equip the attendee to deal with the changes effectively.
Overpayments - From time to time things happen and overpayments arise. It is important to be able to find the cause of the overpayment and establish if it should be recoverable or not. If it is to be recovered, from whom and how it should be recovered is discussed. How it should be classified and some measures that could reduce the risk of overpayments are also covered.
Fraud Awareness - Benefit fraud costs the country millions of pounds each year and can have a negative effect on everyone. The purpose of this section is to outline some of the identifying marks and how to potentially detect or prevent fraud.
How much does the course cost?
£600.00 per person. This includes lunches and equates to a 20% saving over 5 away days. Contact us to discuss any possible multi-person discounts.
If you would like more information about this course, you can send an email to - firstname.lastname@example.org
To book this course please send your booking details to - email@example.com