Definitions used in Housing Benefit & Council Tax Support

We avoid using jargon where we can. There are some words or phrases that have a certain meaning.

This is a list of the most commonly used phrases.

Person from abroad

Due to the complexity of the regulation surrounding persons from abroad we would invite you to ring us on 01935 462462 if you have any questions.


Claimants classed as students are not normally eligible for Housing Benefit and/or Council Tax Support. The types of students listed can claim Housing Benefit and/or Council Tax Support.

  • part-time students (the claim form should be accompanied with supporting documentation from the college or university)
  • those under 21 in further education who were enrolled or accepted before the age of 19
  • those who have reached the qualifying age for state Pension Credit
  • those who are disabled
  • students in receipt of Income Support or Job Seekers Allowance (Income Based)
  • those with children
  • those with non-student partners (claims should be in the name of the partner).

Once identified as a student, a claimant is treated as one until they finish, abandon or are dismissed from the course. This includes any holiday periods during their course.

Close Relative

In Housing Benefit law, and our local Council Tax Support scheme, a close relative is defined as:

  • a parent, step-parent or parent-in-law
  • a brother or sister, half-brother or half-sister
  • a son, son-in-law, daughter, daughter-in-law, step-son, step-daughter

a partner of any of the above where a claimant lives with their landlord, who is also a close relative, they are not entitled to Housing Benefit. (To be classed as living with their landlord, they must share rooms other than a bathroom, toilet and areas of common access.)

Non Dependants

A person is treated as a non-dependent if they are not:

  • A dependent child of the claimant's family
  • Jointly responsible for rent and/or Council Tax
  • Liable to pay rent to the claimant/partner
  • In paid employment by a charitable/voluntary body to care for the claimant/partner

Joint Occupier

A joint occupier is someone, other than the claimant's partner who is jointly and severally liable with the claimant to pay Council Tax/rent for the dwelling. For  Housing Benefit and/or Council Tax Support, the charges are split between them.


An overpayment happens when Housing Benefit is paid to which there is no entitlement, or reduced entitlement. The overpayment might result either from a review of the initial determination, a reassessment due to a change of circumstances, or if the claim is being brought to an early end.

Overpayments are caused in various ways. The most common reason for overpayments occurring is a change in circumstances that reduces entitlement (e.g. a wage increase). Benefit is overpaid when the change is not actioned until after the event.


Sub Tenants are contractually liable to pay the claimant for the right to occupy part of the claimant's accommodation. Not a member of the claimant's family, a non-dependent, a joint tenant or a boarder.


A boarder is liable to pay the claimant an accommodation charge which includes the provision of some cooked or prepared meals. Income from boarders is treated differently to (sub) tenant income. They can claim Housing but not Council Tax Reduction.

Second Adult

These are non-dependants, and carers aged 18 or over, who are not disregarded for Council Tax purposes.

Young Person

A young person is defined as a dependent aged 16 and but under 20 still entitled to child benefit.

A young person is entitled to child benefit if:

  • They have reached age 16 up to the following 31st August; or
  • Aged 16 but under 20 in full time non advanced education which started before the age of 19; or
  • Aged 16 but under 20 on approved training that is not provided through a contract of employment which started before the age of 19

Extended Payments

Extended payments are payments of Housing Benefit and Council Tax Support made for the first four weeks when a claimant starts work or increases their hours or earnings, and they are no longer entitled to Income Support, Income based Jobseeker's Allowance, Severe Disablement Allowance, Incapacity Benefit or Employment Support Allowance, which they have been receiving for 26 weeks or more. Benefit during the extended payment period is paid at the rate the claimant received immediately prior to their starting work.