Council tax reduction scheme - Important information about changes to the Council Tax Reduction Scheme

Your Council Tax bill shows you the revised amount of Council Tax Reduction (CTR) we have applied to your bill from 1st April 2020. This is a local scheme designed to help people on low incomes or most in need.

Following consultation, in October and November, the council has agreed to amend the local Council Tax Reduction Scheme for working age claimants only. If you are in receipt of Council Tax Reduction and are pensionable age, these changes do not affect you.

What has changed for working age claimants?

The Council is responding to the significant effect that the Government’s roll out of Welfare Reforms has had on claimants and the impact monthly reviews or fluctuating earnings can have on Council Tax bills and instalments. In the old scheme, just £1 change in income triggered a re-assessment of CTR and therefore a new bill and instalment plan. This has caused hardship for some claimants.

From 1st April 2020, an income-banded scheme will apply to both new and existing claims for CTR. This is a straightforward discount based on the level of eligible income you and your partner (if you have one) receive each week. Please see below for how we calculate eligible weekly income, as some incomes are disregarded.

The levels of discounts are as follows: 

Income band

Income level/household type

New amount of discount

Vulnerable

Eligible for a Severe Disability Premium or SDP transitional award

95%

1

In receipt of Maximum Universal Credit, Jobseekers Allowance, Income Support or Employment Support Allowance OR weekly income less than £80.75

88%

2

Other households with weekly income between £80.76 and £181.00

65%

 

3

Other households with weekly income between £181.01 and £240.00

45%

4

Other households with weekly income between £240.01 and £328.00

25%

 

Other households with weekly income  £328.01 or more

0

We will also have;

  • a  hardship fund to help those with severe financial needs or exceptional circumstances;
  • an appeals process for disagreements with our decisions.

How we calculate eligible weekly income

The eligible income will be the net weekly income of the claimant (and partner) after eligible disregards have been applied. The disregarded incomes have not changed from the previous scheme. Examples of the disregarded incomes are:

  • Child Benefit
  • Child Maintenance
  • War Widows, War Disablement and Armed Forces Independent Payments
  • Personal Independent payments
  • Disability Living Allowance 

Earnings disregards are:

  • Single person £5 per week
  • Couple £10 per week
  • Lone Parent £25 per week 

We will also calculate a weekly tariff income for each £250 of capital you have and add this on to your weekly net income. The capital limit remains the same at £16,000.

Changes to Non-dependent deductions 

If you have another adult in your household who is not in receipt of maximum Universal Credit, Income Support, Jobseekers Allowance or Employment Support Allowance or Pension Credit, a “non-dependant deduction” will be deducted from your weekly CTR entitlement, as it did in the old scheme. However, we have simplified this to two flat rate charges:

  • Non-dependant not working but not in receipt of any of the above benefits £4.00 per week
  • Non-dependant in work £10.00 per week

Restriction to Council Tax Brand C

There is no change to this restriction, therefore if you are entitled to CTR and your property is in band D or above, any entitlement will be restricted to the equivalent of a band C property.

New backdating rule

If you make a new claim for CTR after 1st April 2020, you may be able to get it backdated. You would need to demonstrate good cause for not claiming on an earlier date. You may be eligible to have any award backdated for up to one month, from the date of claim, or 1st April, whichever is later. Claims cannot be backdated prior to April 1st 2020.

Where to get more advice 

If you would like more advice or information about the changes:

  • Please visit our website at www.bassetlaw.gov.uk.
  • Alternatively, you can email us at customer.services@bassetlaw.gov.uk 
  • Call the benefits helpline on 01909 533710
  • If you want to talk to someone about payment of Council tax, please call 01909 533234
  • If would like to speak to one of our money advisors about arrears or if you are worried about paying your council tax, please call 01909 533744

 

 


Last Updated on Wednesday, December 18, 2019