Council Tax Reduction

Claiming council tax reduction

If you claim any of the following, the Department for Work and Pensions will normally tell us and you don't need to claim separately:

  • income-based Jobseeker's Allowance
  • income Support,
  • income related employment and support allowance, or;
  • pension credit

If you claim housing benefit, you will normally complete one combined application form, whether it is via the Department for Work and Pensions or direct from the council. If you don't claim housing benefit, you should complete an online council tax reduction claim form:


This form is also available from our offices. Please contact the Benefit Team on 01243 534509 for a paper form. Alternatively, you can make a claim over the phone via the telephone claim line on 01243 534612.

What is Council Tax Reduction?

Council Tax Reduction helps people on low incomes with the cost of their council tax and is paid by the local council. It is a means tested discount that reduces your council tax bill. It is not a benefit.

It has replaced the national Council Tax Benefit scheme with a local scheme devised and administered by the council. If you are of pensionable age, the government still sets the rules we use, but for working age claimants each council can now set its own rules. How much reduction you will get depends on your household circumstances.

Each year the council has to decide how much money it is going to make available for its scheme, so there is no guarantee that what you get this year will be the same in the future.

How is it paid?

Council tax reduction is always paid by crediting your council tax bill with the amount you will get for the rest of the year. If there are changes to this figure in the future, you will get a new bill with revised instalments.

How soon will I be paid?

Your account should be credited in 14 days if we have all the relevant information.

Information you should provide

You may have to show original documents of the following:

  • Proof of identity for you and your partner
  • Proof of national insurance number for you and your partner
  • Full details of all income you and your partner receive
  • Details of all savings and investments you and your partner may have
  • Name, dates of birth and income details of others living in the household

How is my reduction worked out?

If you are in receipt of income support, income-based Jobseeker's Allowance, income-related employment, support allowance or guaranteed pension credit, you will normally get maximum council tax reduction minus any deductions for non-dependants (see Non-dependant deductions).

If you are working or receive any other type of benefit, including tax credits, the amount of council tax reduction you get will be based on your income and capital, and if you have a partner, their income and capital will also be taken into account.

Your council tax reduction is worked out by comparing your total net weekly income with your applicable amount. This is based on the allowances set by the government, to take account of your individual or family's needs. If your income is less than, or the same as your applicable amount, you will get the full amount of eligible council tax reduction minus any non-dependant deductions.

If your income is more than your applicable amount then your council tax reduction will be reduced by 20p for each £1 that your income is over your applicable amount and by any non-dependant deductions.

How much council tax reduction can I claim?

Council Tax Reduction is based on 100% of your council tax liability, minus any discounts you have been awarded. You can only claim help for a property where you live, named as your main home.

Further deductions are made for any other adults living with you and for any extra amounts you might have to pay like fines and penalties. No help can be given for payments of arrears. The minimum amount of reduction paid is £1.00 per week. This means that if your entitlement to a reduction is calculated at less than £1.00 per week your award will be nil.

If you have savings or capital over £16,000 you will not be entitled to council tax reduction, unless you or your partner is in receipt of Guaranteed Pension Credit. Some capital is ignored including the first £6000. For people who have reached the qualifying age for Pension Credit, the first £10,000 of capital held is ignored.

Using net income; we calculate what is left after tax. National Insurance and half your pension contribution is taken out. Before your reduction is worked out we allow you certain disregards from your wages.

  • Single Claimants, £5.00
  • Couples, £10.00
  • Disabled Claimants and Carers, £20.00
  • Lone Parent, £25.00

In addition, there is an earnings disregard of £17.10 if you or your partner is working over 30 hours each week, or over 16 hours for certain people.

We also look at other types of income including most state benefits, tax credits, and occupational or private pensions. We also assume an income from any savings, investments or capital that you or your partner may have - over £6,000 for people of working age and over £10,000 for people of pensionable age.

Certain types of income, although they need to be declared, are not taken into account in the calculation of your council tax reduction. These include:

  • Attendance Allowance
  • Child Benefit
  • Child maintenance you receive
  • Disability Living Allowance (care and mobility components)
  • War Widows Pension
  • War Disablement Pension
  • Voluntary Payments

If you pay for childcare to a registered child minder, an approved provider such as a local authority holiday scheme, or nursery, we may allow you up to £175 per week for one child, or £300 per week for two or more children in approved childcare.

Why do I still have to pay council tax?

This could be because:

  • Your council tax includes something which you cannot claim for, e.g. arrears or costs.
  • Your income or capital (savings) is too high.
  • If your capital is more than £16,000 you will not be entitled to a reduction, unless you or your partner are in receipt of Guaranteed Pension Credit.
  • You have one or more non dependants living with you.

What is a non-dependant deduction?

A non-dependant is someone aged over 18 living in your property who is not your partner, spouse or living with you on a commercial basis, such as a lodger.

If you have one or more non dependants living in your property, depending on their financial circumstances a deduction will be made from any entitlement you have to council tax reduction.

The rates for 2017/2018 are shown below:

Non Dependants aged 18+ and in work
Gross Income Nil to £196.94£3.80
Gross Income £196.95 to £341.39£7.65
Gross Income £341.40 to £424.19£9.65
Gross Income £424.20 +£11.55

 

Non Dependants aged 18+ not in work
Not working and not in receipt of out of work benefits£3.80
In receipt of Employment and Support Allowance (Income Related)£0.00
In receipt of Income Support£0.00
In receipt of Jobseekers Allowance (Income Based)£0.00
In receipt of Universal Credit£0.00
Pensioner£0.00
Student£0.00
Member of Armed Forces on manoeuvers£0.00

 

When does my claim start from?

Council tax reduction will usually be awarded from the day your claim has been received at the office. If your claim is received during the week in which you moved into the property it will be awarded from the day you move in and become liable for council tax.

Council tax reduction can be awarded from when you first asked about claiming, provided a completed claim form is received by the council within a month of that date.

If, due to exceptional circumstances, you were unable to claim at the correct time, it may be possible to backdate your reduction. From 1 April 2017 your claim can only be backdated to 1 month from the day on which the request is received. If you think this may apply to you:

  • Put your request in writing
  • Provide details of the date you wish to claim from and the reason why you did not claim earlier.

What if my circumstances change?

If there is a change in your income, capital or household circumstances, you must notify us immediately, and within 21 days of the change occurring or you may incur a penalty. You can do this by letter, by e-mail, by telephone or you can visit our offices.

Alternatively you can use the online form:


You can also download a change in circumstances form from our website. Any change in circumstances will affect the award of council tax reduction from the day the change occurred.

It is an offence to fail to report a change in circumstances, which may lead to the issuing of a sanction if a large overpayment has occurred. This could include a fine, a caution or even a prosecution.

 What are Extended Payments

You can get an extended payment if you were unemployed and receiving either income support, income-based jobseeker's allowance, incapacity benefit, severe disablement allowance or employment and support allowance continuously for at least 26 weeks and this stopped because either you or your partner started work or have increased your hours of work, and this is expected to last for 5 weeks or more.

How long is the Extended Payment Period For?

The extended payment period will be for four weeks from the day after your income support, income-based jobseekers allowance, severe disablement allowance, incapacity benefit or employment and support allowance has stopped as long as you continue to have a liability to pay council tax. You will get the same amount of council tax reduction as you did before you started work.

 What if I disagree with my Entitlement ?

What if I disagree with my entitlement? If you disagree you should notify us in writing. You also have a separate right of appeal to a  Valuation Tribunal if you are not happy with the outcome of your grievance.