Decision details

Treatment of Income from War Pensions in calculation of Housing Benefit (Modified Scheme)

Decision Maker: Executive Member for Adult Services, Health and Housing

Decision status: Recommendations Approved

Is Key decision?: Yes

Is subject to call in?: Yes


To reconfirm the full disregard of War Pension income in the calculation of Housing Benefit


That the Housing Benefit War Pension Disregard Policy be approved by the Executive Director of People.


Reasons for the decision:

1.     The rules about the way in which Housing Benefit is calculated, are primarily detailed within Housing Benefit Regulations 2006 and subsequent amending statutory instruments


2.     In almost every aspect of the calculation, the legislation does not allow discretion in terms of how to treat the income of those who apply.  However, the Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit (War Pension Disregards) Regulations 2007 does confirm the right of each Local Authority to determine how much of the income considered as War Pensions, is to be disregarded (not taken into account) in the calculation after the legislated £10 disregard is applied. 


3.     Bracknell Forest Council has previously agreed that the balance of any war pension after the standard allowance of £10 is made, should be disregarded in full but this is a request for formalise and to reconfirm this decision by way of introducing a formal policy.


4.     Bracknell Forest administers the Housing Benefit on the behalf of the Department for Work & Pensions (DWP), and as such all expenditure is subject to external audit.  In the external audit completed in February 2022, it was noted that there is no record of full council having agreed the full disregard. This policy is therefore required to meet the needs of external audit and DWP and will serve to avoid the risk of financial loss, albeit minimal, to Bracknell in the form of a penalty in subsidy.

Alternative options considered:

1.     Amending the policy to disregard only part of the prescribed incomes would create a lack of consistency between the administration of Housing Benefit and Bracknell’s Local Council Tax Support scheme (CTS)


2.     Revoking the policy and making no alteration to the Housing Benefit scheme in respect of these incomes would equally create a lack of consistency between the administration of Housing Benefit and CTS.


3.     Either of these changes would also potentially bring financial hardship to those in receipt of Housing Benefit and a War Pension by reducing their entitlement. Although this could bring a financial saving to the council, it is likely that it will also create a compensating demand on the Discretionary Housing Payments Scheme, which is already severely strained and potentially create hardship for a specific group in the community.


4.     To not have an approved War Pension Disregard Policy is not recommended as there would be no clear guidance on the agreed approach for claimants and to the Reporting Accountancy undertaking the Housing Benefit Subsidy review.

Interests and Nature of Interests Declared:


Reason Key: Affects more than 1 ward;

Wards Affected: (All Wards);

Financial Impact: Cost to the authority of around £18,000 per annum

Declarations: None

Subject to Urgent Proceedings: No

Making Representations: In writing to the Executive Director: People

Other reasons / organisations consulted




Contact: Mark Barratt, Interim Assistant Director: Early Help and Communities Email: Tel: 01344 351447.

Publication date: 24/08/2022

Date of decision: 24/08/2022

Effective from: 02/09/2022

Accompanying Documents: