In April 2013 a new Council Tax Support Scheme was introduced which helps people pay towards their Council Tax bills.
The maximum entitlement to Council Tax Support is 80 per cent of your Council Tax if you are of working age, or 100 per cent if you are of pension credit age or fall in to a vulnerable scheme, minus any relief, exemptions and discounts.
Housing Benefit can only be paid if you pay rent on a property that you live in. However, you cannot claim if you:
- Own the property in which you live
- Pay your rent to a close relative who lives in the property with you
Generally, your entitlement to benefit will start from the Monday following receipt of your claim form so, it's best to claim straight away. Follow this link to find out how to make a claim
To work out your Housing Benefit and/or Council Tax Support, the Council will look at:
- money you and your partner have coming in, including earnings, some benefits and tax credits and other income like occupational pensions
- your savings and your partner's savings
- your circumstances, such as your age, the ages of your family, whether you or any of your family are disabled, and whether anyone who lives with you could help to pay the Council Tax.
By pensioners we mean someone who has reached the qualifying age for State Pension Credit, in other words in receipt of State Retirement Pension or Pension Credit.
Pensioners are protected under the new scheme. Up to 100 per cent of the Council Tax charge will be used in the Council Tax Support calculation.
Working age claimants
- The most support you’ll be able to get is 80 per cent of your total Council Tax charge
- If your property is in Band E, F, G or H then the most you’ll be able to claim for is the equivalent of 80 per cent of a Band D property
- The first £25 of your or your partner's earnings won’t be taken into account in the calculation of Council Tax Support
- You can no longer apply for Second Adult Rebate
- The capital cut off for Council Tax Support will be restricted to £6,000 for claimants not receiving a passported benefit.
- If you or your partner are entitled to a Severe Disability Premium up to 100 per cent of the Council Tax charge will be used in Council Tax Support calculation
- Claimants in receipt of war widows/widowers pensions will also be protected.
The maximum Housing Benefit you can get is the same as your eligible rent. This may not be the same as your full rent.
If you are the tenant of a Housing Association, such as Aspire Housing or Sanctuary Housing, then your Housing Benefit will be calculated on the rent actually charged by your landlord, less any ineligible charges.
From April 2013, the government introduced a 'size criteria' which limits how many bedrooms your family can receive benefit for.
It only affects people of working age who claim Housing Benefit, so if you (or your partner) are not claiming Housing Benefit, or are old enough to claim Pension Credit, you will not be affected.
The government introduced this measure to bring benefit calculations in the social sector into line with those already in the private sector.
For couples currently claiming Housing Benefit, both the claimant and their partner need to be under the Pension Credit qualifying age to be treated as working age and subject to the size criteria.
However, if you are a tenant of a private landlord, in most cases your Housing Benefit will be calculated under the Local Housing Allowance scheme and will be based on the amount of bedrooms you require regardless of how many are in the property. Therefore, you may have something to pay towards your rent even if you receive a low income. Follow this link to find out more about Local Housing Allowance
All income is assessed on a weekly basis.
Most types of income like State Retirement Pension, occupational pensions, earned income, contribution-based Employment and Support Allowance/Jobseekers Allowance are all included in the benefit assessment.
If you or your partner have "earned income" (that is wages, salary or profits from a business), deductions are made for Tax, National Insurance and half of any pension contributions made.
Income Support, income-based Jobseeker's Allowance, Employment and Support Allowance (income-related element) and Guaranteed Credit are all classed as Passported Benefits. Therefore, you will be entitled to the maximum help available depending on your age.
Certain categories of income, such as Disability Living Allowance or Attendance Allowance, are "disregarded" in whole or in part.
Rules for Council Tax Support
Working Age Claimants - If you or your partner have capital above £6,000 then you will not qualify for help towards your Council Tax. Any capital below £6,000 is disregarded.
Pension Age Claimants - If you or your partner have capital between £10,000 and £16,000, the Government Regulations require that we assume a notional income of £1 per week for every £500 (or part £500) between £10,000 and £16,000. This will be shown as "Capital Income" on the Benefit Decision letter. Any capital below £10,000 is disregarded.
Rules for Housing Benefit
Working Age Claimants - If you or your partner have capital between £6,000 and £16,000, the Government regulations require that we assume a notional income of £1 per week for every £250 (or part £250) over £6,000. This will be shown as "Capital Income" on the Benefit Decision letter. Any capital below £6,000 is disregarded.
Pension Age Claimants - by pensioners we mean someone who has reached the qualifying age for State Pension Credit, in other words in receipt of State Retirement Pension or Pension Credit. If you or your partner have capital between £10,000 and £16,000, the Government Regulations require that we assume a notional income of £1 per week for every £500 (or part £500) over £10,000. This will be shown as "Capital Income" on the Benefit Decision letter. Any capital below £10,000 is disregarded.
Applicable amounts are the assumed living costs of various categories of people for the purposes of the Housing Benefit and Council Tax Support Schemes. These amounts are specified in Government Regulations. They consist of personal allowances related to age and marital status, and various premiums for special circumstances such as disability, or a family. All allowances and premiums to which you are entitled will be shown separately on the Benefit Decision letter.
All persons over 18 years of age living with you as part of your family are assumed to make a contribution to your housing costs, and therefore a deduction, known as a Non-Dependant Deduction, is made from the maximum entitlement to Housing Benefit and Council Tax Support in respect of each of those persons.
The non-dependant's income is used to determine the level of deduction made from your benefit. Failure to provide details will result in the highest level of deduction. The lowest level of deduction is made in respect of non-dependants in receipt of State benefits.
The deductions for Council Tax Support from 1 April 2018 are:
|For each non-dependent:
||Deduction per week from benefit:
|Aged 18 or over gross income less than £202.85 per week or not in remunerative work
||£3.90 on a 52 week basis
|Aged 18 or over and in remunerative work and
gross income between £202.85 & £351.64 per week
|£7.90 on a 52 week basis
|Aged 18 or over and in remunerative work and
gross income between £351.65 & £436.89 per week
£9.95 on a 52 week basis
|Aged 18 or over and in remunerative work and
gross income more than £436.90 per week
|£11.90 on a 52 week basis
The deductions for Housing Benefit from 1 April 2018 are:-
|Aged 18 or over, not in remunerative work
or aged 25 or over and receiving Income Support, income-based Jobseeker's Allowance or Employment and Support Allowance
|Aged 18 or over and in remunerative work with gross weekly income of less than £139.00
|Aged 18 or over and in remunerative work with gross weekly income of £139.00 to £203.99
|Aged 18 or over and in remunerative work with gross weekly income of £204.00 to £264.99
|Aged 18 or over and in remunerative work with gross weekly income of £265.00 to £353.99
|Aged 18 or over and in remunerative work with gross weekly income of £354.00 to £438.99
|Aged 18 or over and in remunerative work with gross weekly income of more than £439
There is no deduction for non-dependants under 18, and those on Youth Training, or those on Income Support, Jobseeker's Allowance (income-based), Employment and Support Allowance (assessment phase aged under 25) or in receipt of a Pension Credit and not in remunerative work. No deductions are made in respect of non-dependants if you or your partner is registered blind, in receipt of Attendance Allowance or the Care Component of Disability Living Allowance.
A comparison is carried out between your net income and applicable amount, less any non-dependant deductions, resulting in your Housing Benefit and Council Tax Support award.
If your assessed income is greater than your applicable amount, then 20 per cent of the excess is deducted from your maximum entitlement to Council Tax Support and 65 per cent of the excess is deducted from your maximum entitlement to Housing Benefit (after any non-dependant deductions as above).
If your assessed income is less than your applicable amount, or you are on Income Support, Jobseeker's Allowance (income based) or Guarantee Pension Credit you are entitled to maximum eligible help towards your rent and Council Tax, less any non-dependant deductions.
Pensioner Age Claims - a claim covers any period in the three months before the day the claim is actually received but only back to the day of reaching pension credit age, or the day of becoming liable for rent and/or Council Tax if these are later.
Working Age Claims - a claim can only be backdated for one calendar month from the receipt date of the written request.
In all cases, you must show continuous 'good cause' for the delay in applying for benefit.
We may ask you to provide further evidence to support your backdating request, for example a doctor's letter.
A backdating request form, which can be printed off and returned to the Council, can be found in the Useful Documents section.
Second Adult Rebate
Second Adult Rebate is only for claimants who have reached state pension credit age. It is designed to help Council Tax payers, who have another adult or adults living with them, who cannot be expected to make a contribution to the Council Tax charge because their income is low.
Normally, anybody who claims Council Tax Support who has reached state pension age will be automatically assessed for Second Adult Rebate if they are eligible, and will be granted whichever type of benefit gives the better result.
Last updated 16 July 2018