Published On: Sun, Oct 29th, 2023

Council tax discounts see thousands of resident bills cut by 100% – check if you can claim | Personal Finance | Finance

Council tax support is a benefit to help people who are on a low income or claiming certain benefits to pay their council tax bill.

Those who have reached state pension age – currently 66 – can get council tax support to cover 100 percent of their bill.

How much council tax support someone gets depends on things like their income, who else lives with them and how much they have in savings.

Wiltshire Council has been putting together plans to update the scheme for working-age adults.

It said this would make it more generous to those in hardship and that universal credit made the current system more complicated.

The council has asked for feedback through a consultation open until November 27.

The current scheme started in 2013 and has around 15,000 working-age households on the books. In some cases, it covers 100 percent of council tax.

Redbridge Council as well as Wandsworth Council are also proposing improvements to the Council Tax Reduction (CTR) Scheme which will help thousands more residents in the borough.

The current CTR scheme allows people to get more council tax support if they receive a disability or carer’s benefit. If they receive the Guarantee Credit part of Pension Credit they may even get their council tax bill paid in full.

If people don’t get Guarantee Credit but they have a low income and less than £16,000 in savings, they may still get some help.

People may get more council tax support if they receive a disability or carer’s benefit.

Angela Ireland, Cabinet Member for Finance, said that this year the CTR scheme reduced bills to zero for almost ten thousand vulnerable households.

Wandsworth’s proposed change will reduce the impact of income fluctuations within a household, be clearer and easier to understand for residents and to protect the most vulnerable residents by reducing bills.

The proposals are part of Wandsworth Council’s overall response to the Cost of Living crisis. Alongside the proposal, the Council has frozen the main element of Council Tax this year and launched a £10 million fund, the biggest in London, committed to help residents with soaring bills.

Ms Ireland said: “We want to build on that and make sure our scheme is future-proofed to enable more people to plan ahead with their money whilst also having trust in the council that we are here to help them when it matters.

“We want to look after those most vulnerable in our community by making the process more transparent and simpler to understand, whilst providing additional support to households who are financially vulnerable.”

Currently, the amount of discount someone can get depends on their council. Each council has their own rules so people should check what the rules are in their area.

Wherever someone lives, the amount of council tax support they get depends on many factors, including:

  • their age
  • their income, including any benefits they receive
  • their savings
  • who they live with
  • how much council tax they pay.

If they’re not over state pension age, the council tax support they’re entitled to is worked out under ‘working age scheme’ ruless

Council tax discount available

As well as council tax support, there are other exemptions and discounts that might apply. Britons might be able to get money off their council tax bill if:

  • they live alone
  • they’re a carer
  • they or someone they live with has a severe mental impairment, such as dementia or a learning difficulty
  • there are adaptations in their home that make it suitable for someone with a disability who lives there
  • they have another person living with them who isn’t their partner and is on a low income
  • their property is empty – for example, they’ve gone into hospital or moved into a care home
  • where they’re living isn’t their main residence
  • there’s an issue, such as a flood, which may be covered by a discretionary discount offered by some councils.

One qualifying adult in a household means that a single-person discount applies, equivalent to 25 percent off the council tax bill.

No qualifying adults in a household result in either a discount of 50 percent or a 100 percent exemption, depending on exactly who lives in the property.

For a full list of people who count as ‘disregarded’, Britons can visit the Government website.

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