What are the principles of our Local Council Tax Support scheme?
Our local scheme exists to help reduce the Council Tax charge for people with low income. We aim to provide a scheme which is fair, taking into account the needs of our residents and the reducing funding from central government.
Our scheme is means tested, just like many other welfare benefits. This means that we try to take into account your circumstances in order to calculate how much Council Tax you have to pay.
Central government has set the scheme for residents who have reach the age for state pension credit. You can see if you have reached this age, or when you will reach it, at www.gov.uk/state-pension-age. Please note that your state pension credit age may not be the same as your state pension age.
Our scheme for residents who have not reach the age for state pension credit - known as working age residents - is similar; however, there are four major differences.
How is our local scheme different?
Due to the reduction in money available to fund local support schemes this means that all households below the age for state pension credit will have to pay at least the first 20% of their Council Tax bill.
Our local support scheme also implements the following major changes for working age households:
- There is no entitlement to Second Adult Rebate
- The maximum capital limit is £10,000
- The maximum period for backdated entitlement is three months.
We will continue to disregard in full income paid as military compensation payments and payments of a War Widow's or Widower's Pension.
We have a Discretionary Hardship Fund to provide extra help to those who have been affected by the changes in our scheme; see Discretionary payments for more information.
Who can claim?
You can claim Council Tax Support if you (or your partner) are liable to pay the Council Tax on a property you are occupying as your home and have less than £10,000 in joint savings (£16,000 for people of pension age), or you are in receipt of Pension Credit Guarantee Credit.
How do I apply for Council Tax Support?
To claim benefit you must complete an application form and send it to us. See Applying for benefits for more information.
When will my support start and end?
Your support will normally start on the Monday following the first indication of your wish to claim, provided your completed claim form is received within one month of this date.
If you want your support to start from an earlier date, you can write and ask us to consider backdating your claim. However, backdated support is only awarded in very exceptional circumstances. Support cannot be backdated for a period more than three months prior to your request being made.
Your support ends when entitlement stops. You will normally be paid up to the Monday following the date your circumstances changed.
How is my Council Tax Support worked out and how much will I get?
The amount you get depends on four things:
- How much income you and your partner (if you have one) have; this includes all income and not just earnings
- How much money you and your partner (if you have one) have; this could be in bank accounts, shares, ISAs etc. If you and your partner (if you have one) have (joint) savings of more than £10,000 (£16,000 for people of pension age) you will not be able to get support unless you receive Pension Credit Guarantee Credit
- The money you need to live on. This depends on your personal circumstances (for example, your age and how many children you have); this is called your applicable amount
- The amount of Council Tax you pay.
If you are on Income Support, Income-based Job Seeker's Allowance, Income-related Employment Support Allowance or Pension Credit Guarantee Credit you are automatically entitled to receive maximum support.
If you are not receiving any of the above benefits, your support is calculated by comparing your applicable amount with the amount of money you have coming in each week.
If your income is equal to or less than the applicable amount, then you will get maximum support.
If your income is more than the applicable amount then a further calculation is made: we deduct 20% of your excess income from the maximum support, and you receive the difference.
What is a non-dependant deduction?
A non-dependant is a person who normally lives with you but is not dependent on you. They are usually adult sons, daughters, other relatives or friends.
We assume that the non-dependant should be making a contribution to the household expenses and therefore a deduction is made from your weekly Council Tax Support to take this contribution into account.
The amount of the deduction depends on the non-dependant's age and income.
Council Tax Support decisions
When your claim is processed, or you have a change in circumstances, we make a decision about how much you can receive.
If you think a decision is wrong, please see Disagreeing with a decision for more information.