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Council tax benefit - are you eligible? Part 2

Posted 26 September 2015 by Christine Walsh

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Learn why council tax is a priority bill and whether you’re entitled to benefits.

Welcome to part 2 of our council tax benefit blog. Here you'll find details of how the reduction is worked out, what happens when you're working and how being a pensioner changes things. So, without further ado... 

How is the help worked out? 

If you’re eligible for a council tax reduction/support, how much you’re entitled to will depend on your situation – whether you are working or not.

If you’re working

Council tax reduction can be worked out in two ways – as a percentage of what you would ordinarily be paying, or as a set amount decided on by your council. If you meet certain criteria, the discount could be the total amount of the bill, so you could pay nothing, although this is unusual if you are working. Check here to see how your local council’s scheme works.

There’s no set amount for council tax reduction, as each individual council now has control over how   it’s worked out and who gets what. However, as a general guide, you’d l have to be earning less than £16,000 per year to be considered for the reduction.

Use this link on the Government’s website to apply for a reduction in your council tax bill.

If you’re a pensioner

To be considered a pensioner, you must be of state pension age and neither you nor your partner can claim any kind of job related benefit, like income support, job seekers allowance or universal credit.

To check the state pension age and whether you’d be considered a pensioner, use this handy calculator.

Even taking the new rules into account the Government doesn’t want pensioners to be hit too hard by the changes. So if you’re a pensioner the way your entitlement is worked is generally the same across all councils. This means that if you’re a pensioner and on a low income, with no money available to put towards your council tax, there shouldn’t be much change to your payments.  

If you get the guarantee part of Pension Credit, then no matter what you earn and what capital you have, you won’t have to pay anything towards council tax and will continue to get the full reduction.

 

So that’s a good look at the sort of help that is available through council tax reduction. It’s really important that you look into any benefits you think you might be entitled to, as they could mean the difference between being able to cope each month and sinking into debt.  Next time, we’ll have a look at what steps you need to take if you already have council tax arrears, but don’t see any way of paying what you owe. 

 

 

by Christine Walsh

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