Council Tax Support
If you’re in a low-paid job and don’t have many savings, you could qualify for help with council tax.
Changes to Council Tax Benefit
Council Tax Benefit has been replaced by Council Tax Support. Council Tax Support (also known as
Council Tax Reduction) is the responsibility of local authorities.
This means that the system will be different depending on where you live. To find out more about your area you can contact your local council.
What’s Council Tax Support?
Council Tax Support is money off your council tax. You claim Council Tax Support from your
local council. If you qualify, the council sends you a reduced Council Tax bill or gives you a refund if you’ve already paid full council tax. The amount of help you get off depends on your income, savings, whether you’re of working age, and who you live with. Your local council sets all these limits.
Who can get Council Tax Support?
Council Tax Support is for people who are:
- On a low income (the limit is set by your local council)
- With few savings – in most cases, under £16,000 (again, set by your council)
- Living in a property they have to pay council tax for (obviously!)
If you’re on income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA), income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) or Income Support, you’ll automatically qualify for the maximum amount for your circumstances. Getting the maximum amount does not necessarily mean that you get the
full amount off the bill. If you live in England, you still have to pay something towards your bill even if
you get the maximum amount of Council Tax Support. You can find out more confirmation from your
local council. The maximum amount is set by each local council in England. If you live in Scotland or
Wales, the maximum amount means the full amount off your bill.
How to claim
To claim, contact your local council.
Appealing the council’s decision
If you disagree with the decision and want to challenge it, you can write and ask for the reasons for the decision (you must do this within one month of the date on the decision letter). You don’t have to take this step, but it may help if it is unclear why a decision was made.
Whether or not you’ve asked for a written explanation, the next step if you’re not happy is to ask them to look at the decision again. This must be done in writing and some council’s will have their
own form for this. Visit your local council’s website for information on their appeal procedure If you still disagree, you can appeal further to the Valuation Tribunal, which is independent of the
I’m studying, what help can I get with Council Tax?
You don’t have to pay any Council Tax if every adult in your home, including you, is a full-time
If you share with one other person who is not a full-time student, there will be 25% taken off the bill
and you and your flatmate are liable to pay the other 75%.
If you share with two or more people who are not full-time students you then you and your
flatmates will be responsible for paying the full bill.
The people who are not full-time students can apply for Council Tax Support, in the above cases.
Also, if you live with a partner who is not a full-time student, the partner can apply for Council Tax
Part-time students have to pay council tax. However you can apply for Council Tax Support as a part-time student.
Does my student loan affect my Council Tax Support?
If you get student finance, such as grant or a loan, this could reduce the Council Tax Support you get. Your finance officer at your university should be able to advise you further.
Where can I go for help with Council Tax Benefit?
Getting benefits is often a frustrating process. But there are lots of places you can go for help:
- Citizen’s Advice know all about the benefits system and can help you understand your rights. You can visit your local bureau to get face-to-face advice and support. You must remember to bring along details of your benefits and general financial situation.
- This benefits calculator from Turn2us shows you how much benefit you should be getting – many people don’t realise how much they’re entitled to.
- If you want to challenge a decision about your benefit, you can appeal.
Unfortunately we are unable to offer benefits advice at The Mix, but we can give emotional support and guide you to the best places for expert advice if you give us a call on 0808 808 4994
Remember to tell your benefits advisor if your circumstances change – for example, if you get a pay rise, new job or get married. If you don’t you could face a £50 fine, as well as having to pay back any extra benefit. See GOV.UK for more information.
Photo of houses and coins by Images Money
By Danny Sherwood and David Samson
Updated on 24-Oct-2017
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