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We have updated our online payment system - | pay your council bills online here. | November 16, 12:00 am

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        Council Tax Support

        Making a claim for Council Tax support

        Make a claim for Council Tax support

        You can complete an online form to make a claim for housing benefit. Please ensure you have read through the guidance below before making a claim. You will need to provide proof for your application 

        Can I get Council Tax Support?

        You can apply for Council Tax Support whether you own your home, rent, are unemployed or working.

        You may get Council Tax Support if you

        • live at the property
        • pay Council Tax; and
        • have a low income, or are entitled to a benefit paid by the Department for Work and Pensions or the Pension Service.

        You can’t get Council Tax Support if you

        • are not the householder, or the person responsible to pay council tax
        • are of working age and have more than £6,000 in savings
        • are of pension age and have more than £16,000 in savings, unless you receive guaranteed Pension Credit
        • are excluded from receiving public funds, due to your status in the UK

        For Council Tax Support, pension age means anyone who has reached the qualifying age for Pension Credit.

        Most asylum seekers and people sponsored to be in the UK can’t get Council Tax Support.

        Full-time students can’t usually get Council Tax Support, but may get a student Council Tax discount.

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        How to apply

        To apply, complete an application form and provide proof for your application 

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        How much Council Tax Support will I get?

        How much Council Tax Support you can get depends on:

        • your income and savings
        • the size of your family
        • if you have other adults living with you and their income
        • the amount of council tax you have to pay, and
        • if you are working age or pension age.

        Household income and the size of your family

        In general the lower your income the more your Council Tax bill can be reduced by Council Tax Support.

        We use set amounts to work out how much your household needs to live on (called your applicable amount), and work out the difference between this and your household income. If your income is greater than your applicable amount, you are expected to pay 20% of this ‘excess income’ towards your Council Tax.

        The rules for Council Tax Support changed in April 2017 and we will now only include a maximum of two children in the calculation of Council Tax Support for new applicants. This means that if you make a new application for Council Tax Support:

        • the number of dependent children that will be included in your calculation will be limited to two
        • any child born after April 2017 will not be taken into account in the calculation of your Council Tax Support if you already have two children.

        This will also apply if you stop claiming Council Tax Support and then make a new application after 1 April 2017. There are some exceptions to this including multiple births and adoption.

        We also no longer include the Family Premium in calculating Council Tax Support for new applicants. This does not affect those on Universal Credit, Income Support, income-related Employment and Support allowance or income based Jobseeker’s Allowance.

        If you have other adults living with you

        You may get less help if you have other adults (non-dependants) living with you.

        Working age people and Council Tax Support

        Council Tax Support won’t cover the whole Council Tax bill.

        All working age people must pay at least 10% of the bill, even if they get benefits or have a low income.

        If you or your partner have more than £6,000 in savings, you will not be able to get any council tax support.

        Pension age people and Council Tax Support

        For Council Tax Support, pension age means anyone who has reached the qualifying age for Pension Credit.

        If you are pension age, Council Tax Support can cover the whole of your Council Tax bill, depending on your income and household circumstances.

        Please note, if you are pension age and in receipt of a working age benefit; for example, Income Support, Jobseeker’s Allowance (income-based) or Employment and Support Allowance (income-related), you will be treated as a working age applicant and Council Tax Support won’t cover the whole Council Tax bill.

        If you have savings of more than £10,000, and take into account £1 per week for every £500 over £10,000. If you have savings of more than £16,000, you can’t normally get Council Tax Support (unless you receive the guarantee credit element of Pension Credit).

        Second adult rebate

        Second adult rebate is only available for applicants who are of pension age.

        Second adult rebate is Council Tax Support that is paid when you share your home with another adult, but the second adult in the property is on a low income.

        It is paid based on their income and can cover up to 25% of your Council Tax charge.

        The amount of second adult rebate you can get depends on

        • the Council Tax you have to pay, and
        • the combined gross income of any second adults

        You may get second adult rebate if you share your home with one or more adults who are

        • not your partner or civil partner
        • aged 18 or over
        • not paying you rent
        • not paying Council Tax themselves
        • not a joint tenant or owner with you, and
        • on a low income

        Examples of second adults include grown up children, friends and relatives.

        Your income and savings won’t affect second adult rebate. How much you can get depends on the income of the second adult(s). If there is more than one second adult in the property, their income is added together to work out this award.

        The Council Tax payer must apply for second adult rebate. To make an application you will need to fill in an application form and give full details of the second adult’s income and savings.

        If you are a full-time student and share your home with one or more adults who are on a low income, you may claim up to 100% second adult rebate.

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        When will I get my Council Tax Support?

        You should apply as soon as you think you may be entitled to help. It is important that your application form is handed in as soon as possible, if you delay you may lose out.

        We should pay your award within 14 days of getting all the information we need to work out your award. However, applications are often delayed because we are waiting for information.

        We can normally only pay your award from the Monday following the date we receive your application. We can treat your application as being made from the date you ask for a form from us if we receive your fully completed application form within one month of sending it to you.

        If entitled, we will send you a revised Council Tax bill reduced by your Council Tax Support award.

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        Information for self-employed claimants

        Self-employed people are those workers who are not employed under a contract. Typically, they can include trades such as window cleaners, certain taxi drivers, painters and decorators.

        A person can be self-employed as a sole trader or as part of a business partnership.

        Please note that directors of limited companies are not treated as being self-employed.

        If you are self-employed and you would like to apply for Council Tax Support you will need to complete an application form and provide details of your business income and outgoings.

        What you need to provide

        You need to provide details of all the income of the business as well as any other money coming into your household. This includes interest from business bank accounts, tips and royalties. Please note we do not need to see individual receipts; if we need further information about any of your business accounts we will contact you.

        You also need to provide proof of any contributions you may make into a personal or private pension.

        If you’ve been trading for less than one year

        If you have recently started trading on a self-employed basis, you will need to complete a self-employed income form to provide an estimate of the likely income and expenses for the business over the first few months trading.

        This will help us to pay your Council Tax Support sooner rather than having to wait until you have been trading for a few months.

        If you’ve been trading for more than one year

        If you have been trading for over 12 months, we will ask for a full year’s trading figures, normally in the way of a profit and loss account. If you can’t provide business accounts, please complete a self-employed income form.

        We may also ask for the most recent tax assessment form received from HM Revenues and Customs.

        How we work out how much you can get

        To work out your income for Council Tax Support purposes, we look at all the income and expenses of the business as well as any other money coming into your household. If you have been trading for less than one year, we will use this income to work out how much help you can get.

        After you have been trading for one year we use a minimum set income to work out your Council Tax Support, even if you earn less than this amount. If you earn more than the minimum income, we will use your actual earnings.

        If you work self-employed up to 16 hours per week, we assume you earn at least National Living Wage for 16 hours worked per week (16 x £7.83). If you work for 16 hours or more per week self-employed, we assume at least National Living Wage for 35 hours per week (35 x £7.83).

        The calculation will not apply for the first year from the start of the business. It will apply once you have been trading as self-employed for 12 months. However, if you have been self-employed for a year at any point in the last five years and you start a new business again, we will treat you as already being self-employed for 12 months.

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        Other adults (non-dependants) who live with you

        Someone aged 18 or over who lives with you may affect how much Council Tax Support you get because they are expected to pay towards the Council Tax.

        A non-dependant is normally any adult who lives with you and is not your partner. In some cases we take a set amount from your Council Tax Support based on their income. This is called a non-dependant deduction.

        The non-dependant deduction is taken from the maximum Council Tax Support before we work out how much help we can give you.

        Non-dependant deductions April 2018 to March 2019

        The table below shows the Council Tax Support non-dependant deduction amounts for April 2018 to March 2019.

        Non-dependant incomeDeduction per week £
        On Income Support, income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance, Universal Credit (without earnings), income-related Employment and Support Allowance or State Pension CreditNil
        Aged 18 or over and working an average of 16 hours each week or on Universal Credit with earnings (the income from Universal Credit and earnings will be combined):
        – gross income less than £202.853.90
        – gross income between £202.85 and £351.647.90
        – gross income between £351.65 and £436.899.95
        – gross income £436.90 or more11.90
        – Others aged 18 or over3.90

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        If you disagree with our decision about your Council Tax Support

        When you apply for Council Tax Support, we give you a decision in writing about your application. If you disagree with our decision, you can ask us to look at it again.

        You can’t appeal against a Council Tax Support decision without first asking us to look at the decision again.

        If you disagree with our decision about your Council Tax Support, you can

        • ask us for an explanation of the decision, or
        • ask us to look at your application again

        You must be the person who has applied for Council Tax Support to do either of these.

        Ask for an explanation of the decision

        If you don’t understand how we have worked out your Council Tax Support, or you want to know more about any part of the calculation, you can ask for an explanation. You must ask for this within one month of the date on your decision letter.

        You can use an appeal form to do this.

        We will give you a statement (called a statement of reasons) in writing to explain how your award has been worked out.

        When you get the explanation, if you disagree with our decision or think we have made a mistake, you can ask us to look at our decision again.

        Ask us to look at your application again

        If you think we have made a mistake you can ask us to look at our decision again; this is called a grievance. We will check your application thoroughly. Please use an appeal form to explain to us why you think your Council Tax Support decision is wrong.

        If, after reviewing our decision we decide it is wrong, we will put it right and send you a new decision letter. If we don’t think we have made a mistake and don’t change our decision we will write to you to let you know.

        You can then accept our decision or you can appeal.

        Appeals against Council Tax Support decisions

        An appeal against a Council Tax Support decision must be made directly to the Valuation Tribunal within two months of us writing to you about your grievance.

        You can also appeal directly to the Valuation Tribunal if we have not responded to you within two months of you writing to us about your grievance.

        The Valuation Tribunal will only consider your appeal if you have first written to us to ask for your decision to be looked at again.

        You can appeal to the Valuation Tribunal about:

        • whether you are entitled to Council Tax Support; and
        • how much Council Tax Support we have awarded you under our Council Tax Support scheme

        The Valuation Tribunal can’t hear appeals about the contents of our Council Tax Support scheme, only about the way the scheme has been applied to your individual case.

        Details of how to appeal to the Valuation Tribunal will be sent with your grievance decision letter. This information can also be found on the Valuation Tribunal website.

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        Council Tax Support scheme documents

        Council Tax Support exceptional hardship award

        If you are having difficulty paying your Council Tax you may be able to set up a payment plan with us to clear the amount you owe.

        If you’re unable to do this please contact us for advice as soon as possible.

        In the most extreme circumstances, we may be able to award extra help.

        To be considered for a short-term exceptional hardship award, you must:

        • be experiencing extreme and intolerable financial hardship
        • be getting or have applied for Council Tax Support
        • show that you have tried all other reasonable ways to try to pay your Council Tax
        • have contacted us to talk through your options.

        Apply for an exceptional hardship award

        Scheme document

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