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Benefits Guides

Benefits Guides

You are here: Benefits Guides  |  Council Tax Benefit

Council Tax Benefit

NOTE: This benefit has been abolished by the Tory party in most parts of the UK from April 2013.†You may now find you have to pay something towards your Council Tax even if your on means tested benefits, although in Scotland it will continue for the time being.

What is Council Tax?

Council Tax is paid by your local Council to help people on low incomes pay their Council Tax. You do not have to be getting any other benefits to qualify for help; it does not matter if you already get a discount for living alone. Savings over £16,000 usually mean you will not be able to get Council Tax Benefit, although this savings limit does not apply to anyone getting Pension Credit Guarantee.

Savings over £6,000 (£10,000 for over people over a womans Pension Age previously 60)†) will usually affect how much Council Tax Benefit you can get (£13,500 for some kinds of residential accommodation).

If you are a full-time student you will not usually have to pay Council Tax. If your partner is a student you may be able to get a 25% Council Tax Discount.

Second Adult Rebate is to help if you share your home with one adult or more who cannot pay towards the Council Tax. The person who shares your home must not be your partner. You may be able to get Second Adult Rebate even if you do not normally get Council Tax Benefit. If you already get Council Tax Benefit you will not need to claim Second Adult Rebate. Second Adult Rebate will be based on the other person's circumstances. Your income and savings will not affect Second Adult Rebate.

If you are entitled to Council Tax Benefit and Second Adult Rebate, you will get the one which gives you most money.

The most Council Tax Benefit you can get is the full Council Tax you have to pay. There are special rules for students.

Working Out Council Tax Benefit?

To work out your Council Tax Benefit, the Council will look at:

* Money you and your partner have coming in, including earnings, some benefits and Tax credits and things like occupational pensions

* Your savings and your partner's savings

* Your circumstances, such as your age, the ages and size of your family, whether you or any of your family are disabled.


Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How is Council Tax worked out?

A: The Council Tax system assumes that an average household has two adults and that between then they will be able to pay the Council Tax bill. A person living alone automatically qualifies (when claimed) for a 25% discount. When your Council looks at your household, only certain visible people are counted, if you fall into one of the groups of people who are classed as invisible it means that you could be paying less.

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Q: Who counts as an invisible person?

A: Carers, if they are living with and care for, a disabled person over 18 who is not their wife, husband, cohabitee, or child under 18. The disabled person must receive the higher rate Attendance Allowance or the high rate care component of Disability Living Allowance and the carer must be providing care for 35 hours on average weekly. The carer does not have to have Carers Allowance to be invisible. More than one carer can be invisible. Others classed as invisible includes full-time students, apprentices, trainees, student nurses, severely mentally impaired, prisoner's or people detained under the mental health act.

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Q: How do I find out if I qualify for any discounts?

A: List anyone over 18 who live in your property, then cross out anyone who would be classed as invisible for Council Tax purposes. If you are left with two names or more you do not qualify, one name you could get 25% discount, if all are invisible you should be paying only half the full amount due.

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Q: The person I care for is disabled can I get any discount?

A: Under the disability reduction scheme, your home could be reduced to the band below. If the property is the main residence of at least one disabled person and you have an additional bathroom or kitchen which meets his or her needs, or a room specially set aside for them, example downstairs room converted into a bedroom, or a person living in the property who uses a wheelchair. If you are already in the lowest band "A" then you cannot go any lower, but you can now claim an extra cash discount for band "A" properties that meet any of the above qualifying conditions

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Q: What is Council Tax benefit?

A: This is a rebate for people on low incomes. Most people on Income Support, Jobseekers Allowance Income Based, Employment Support Allowance Income Related†or Pension Credit Guarantee†will qualify for full Council Tax benefit and would not pay. (Except water and sewerage charge Scotland). If you are not on Income Support etc you may still qualify for help, depending on your overall financial situation. If you qualify and have other adults (non-dependants) living with you, your benefit due could be reduced. If you get Carers Allowance or would get it but for having another benefit of the same or greater value, you could get an extra amount (the carer premium) in your Council Tax benefit applicable amount so pay less.

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Q: I have moved temporary into someone?s house to look after them. My house is now empty. Do I still have to pay full Council Tax on my home?

A: If you staying with someone to look after him or her and your property is empty, you do not have to pay Council Tax on your empty property. If someone is staying with you so you can look after him or her and their property is now empty they do not have to pay Council Tax on their empty property.

Case study

Billy gets Carers Allowance† for looking after his 19-year-old physically disabled daughter, Alison. She receives the highest rate care component of Disability Living Allowance. Billy's wife Yvonne works full-time, but cares for their daughter in the evenings and at weekends for over 35 hours. Nobody else lives with them. Billy should get 25% discount, (when claimed), as both he and his wife, due to caring would be invisible. This would only leave Alison visible in the household. If Alison had severe learning difficulties, they could get a 50% discount, as all would then be invisible.

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