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What Help Can I Get to Pay my Council Tax?

What Help Can I Get to Pay my Council Tax?

Download a copy of the What Help Can I Get to Pay my Council Tax? leaflet 201.92 KB PDF File 

What help can I get to pay my Council Tax?

There are two types of Council Tax Benefit.

  • Council Tax Benefit
  • Second Adult Rebate

This leaflet tells you how to claim them.

Which can I claim?

Council Tax Benefit

You can claim Council Tax Benefit if you are:

For example, you might only get a retirement pension or be getting other social security benefits, like Incapacity Benefit Link to External Website.

But, you cannot get Council Tax Benefit in the following circumstances.

  • You, or you and your partner between you, have more than £16,000 in savings (a partner is someone you are married to, or someone you live with as if you are married to them).

    The only exception to the £16,000 rule is if you, or your partner, get the guaranteed part of Pension Credit Link to External Website.

  • You are a student. But there are some exceptions. Ring us for more advice.

Second Adult Rebate

Second Adult Rebate is another way to help you pay less Council Tax.

It is not based on the money you have, but on the money other people who live with you have.

These people are called ‘non-dependants’.

A non-dependant could be someone like a relative or a friend.

You may be able to get Second Adult Rebate if there are other people living in your home who are on a low income or Income Support Link to External Website.

But, you cannot claim it if you are married or have a partner.

Please note:

If you qualify for both, we will give you the one that reduces your Council Tax the most.

To be classed as a second adult, the non-dependant must not be:

  • legally responsible for paying the Council Tax;
  • a joint owner or tenant with you;
  • your married or unmarried partner; or
  • living with someone who is a joint tenant or owner-occupier with you.

You will need to make a claim for Second Adult Rebate, unless you have already claimed Council Tax Benefit.

We will take account of the income of the second adult when deciding whether you can get Second Adult Rebate.

The maximum amount that can be awarded is 25% of the Council Tax bill.

How do I claim?

 

If you claim Income Support, income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance, Employment Support Allowance or Pension Credit

Jobcentre Plus Link to External Website or The Pension Service Link to External Website will give you form HCTB1, HCTB1(PC) or HCTB1(PCA) to fill in to claim Council Tax Benefit.

You should fill in the form and send it back to us straightaway so that we can work out your benefit.

If you are on a low income

You can claim by filling in one of our claim forms and giving us the proof we need to assess your claim.

You can get the claim form from us – see the back of this leaflet for details.

Please note

  • If you have difficulty making a claim because you are elderly or disabled, we may be able to visit you at home.

Please contact us direct for help.

What proof do I need to give you?

 

If you get Income Support, Employment Support Allowance, income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance or Pension Credit

We need proof of your and your partner’s National Insurance number Link to External Website, along with proof of the benefits you receive. We may also ask you to provide proof of identity for both of you.

Our form tells you what you need to provide, but if you’re not sure you can always contact us for help.

If you are on a low income

We need proof of your and your partner’s National Insurance number Link to External Website, and we may also ask you to provide proof of identity for both of you.

We also need to see proof of the following.

  • Social security benefits

This means things like:

  • Incapacity Benefit Link to External Website;
  • State Retirement Pension Link to External Website; and
  • Child Benefit Link to External Website.
  • Retirement pensions
  • Wages
  • If you work for an employer, we usually need to see your last five payslips if you are paid every week.

    If you are paid every month, we usually need to see your last two payslips.

    Sometimes, we will ask your employer to fill in a certificate of earnings form.

  • If you are self-employed, we need to see your recent accounts. If you cannot provide them, get in touch with us for more advice.

These are just a few examples.

We really need to know about all the different kinds of income you get.

If you’re not sure, tell us anyway.

If you are on a low income

We also need to see proof of all your bank accounts, along with proof of any savings or investments you have.

If you’re not sure, tell us.

What if I haven’t got all the proof you need?

You should send your claim form in anyway.

Don’t delay sending it in if the proof we ask for isn’t available at the moment.

You can send the information in later, but we cannot work out your benefit without it.

What should I do about my Council Tax bill while I’m waiting for you to work out my Council Tax Benefit?

You should try to pay the instalments.

But, if you are not able to pay, please contact your Council Tax office for advice.

What happens if there are other people living with me?

If you have friends, relatives or anyone over 18 living in your home, you may get less Council Tax Benefit.

These people are called ‘non-dependants’.

We may take an amount out of your benefit for each non-dependant who lives in your home.

Non-dependants do not include:

  • your partner;
  • a child you get Child Benefit Link to External Website for;
  • people under 18;
  • people in full-time education; or
  • people on youth training schemes.

We will not take any money out of your benefit for non-dependants if:

How much Council Tax Benefit can I get?

You may be able to get Council Tax Benefit for the full amount of Council Tax that you have to pay but this depends on your income and whether you have other people living in your house.

How is my Council Tax Benefit worked out?

  • If you get Income Support Link to External Website, income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance Link to External Website or the guaranteed part of Pension Credit Link to External Website
    You will get the full amount of your Council Tax as benefit after we have taken off deductions for your non-dependants.
  • In all other cases
    We work out your Council Tax Benefit by comparing the money you get each week with your ‘applicable amount’.

Your applicable amount is what the Government says you and your family need to live on each week.

The applicable amount will be higher for some people – for example, if you are disabled or if you are a one-parent family.

When we have worked out what money you get each week, if it’s less than, or the same as, the applicable amount, you will get the full amount of Council Tax Benefit.

If this happens, you should claim Income Support Link to External Website, Employment Support Allowance Link to External Website,Jobseeker’s Allowance Link to External Website or Pension Credit Link to External Website as you may get more help.

What money do you count when you work out my benefit?

We count any money you have coming in.

This includes things like:

  • social security benefits;
  • works pension; and
  • wages.
  • We count the money you earn from work after money has been taken out for:

We do not count the first:

  • £5 of the money you earn each week, if you are single;
  • £10 of the money you earn each week, if you are a couple;
  • £20 of the money you earn each week, if you are disabled; or
  • £25 of the money you earn each week, if you are a single parent.

We have a leaflet called ‘Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit for people who work’ – pick up a copy for more information.

We also do not count part of your childcare costs.

We also ignore things like:

These are just a few examples.

For more information contact us.

What happens if I have savings or investments?

That depends on how much you have.

Government rules say that if you and your partner (if you have one) have savings or investments of more than £16,000, you cannot get Council Tax Benefit.

The only exception to this is if you, or your partner, get the guaranteed part of Pension Credit Link to External Website.

  • If you, or your partner, are under 60 and have £6,000 or less, it will not affect your claim.
  • If you, or your partner, are under 60 and have between £6,000 and £16,000, it will affect how much Council Tax Benefit you will get.

For every £250 (or part of £250) you have over £6,000, we add £1 to the money we count each week when working out your benefit.

This is called ‘tariff income’.

  • If you, or your partner, are over 60 and have £6,000 (£10,000 from October 2009) or less, it will not affect your claim.
  • If you, or your partner, are over 60, we will only use tariff income between £6,000 (£10,000 from October 2009) and £16,000.

For every £500 (or part of £500) you have over £6,000, we add £1 to the money we count each week when working out your benefit.

How long will it take you to work out my claim?

That depends on how quickly you send in all the information and how busy we are when you make your claim.

We will send you a letter telling you how we have worked out your Council Tax Benefit or Second Adult Rebate.

Please check the information in this letter very carefully. If you think there is anything wrong, you must tell us straightaway.

When will my benefit start?

If you qualify, your benefit will usually start from the Monday after we get your claim form.

But if you think your benefit should start earlier, you need to write to us to tell us:

  • the date you think your benefit should start; and
  • the reason why you did not claim earlier.

If you get benefit from an earlier date, it is called ‘backdating’.

You must show that you had a good reason for not claiming earlier.

How will you pay me?

We will pay your Council Tax Benefit straight to your Council Tax account.

You will get a bill which shows the amount you have to pay after we have awarded the benefit.

What should I do if anything changes when I’m getting benefit?

You should tell us straightaway in writing if your circumstances change.

It might affect how much you get, and if you don’t tell us you may lose benefit.

If you don’t tell us about a change and we pay you too much benefit, you may have to pay it back.

You must tell us about the following changes.

Changes to the money you get

Please tell us if:

you start or stop getting Income Support Link to External Website, income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance Link to External Website, Pension Credit Link to External Website, or income related Employment Support Allowance Link to External Website;

  • you start or stop getting any tax credits Link to External Website;
  • the money you or your partner gets increases or decreases;
  • the money any non-dependants get increases or decreases; or
  • there are any other changes in the money that people in your home get. For example, if someone starts getting Disability Living Allowance Link to External Website.

These are just a few examples. If you’re not sure, just check with us.

Changes in your home

Please tell us if:

  • you change your address;
  • the number of people in your home changes (for example, someone has a baby or someone dies);
  • a partner comes to live with you; or
  • a partner leaves.

These are just a few examples. If you’re not sure, just check with us.

Absences from home

Please tell us if you or your partner:

  • go into hospital; or
  • leave the property for longer than 13 weeks.

These are just two examples. If you’re not sure, just check with us.

Other changes we need to know about

Please tell us if:

  • you, or your partner, become a student or stop being a student; or
  • the amount of savings or investments you have changes.

You do not have to tell us about changes in age, for example, if one of your children becomes 11, as we will have this information already.

If you are not sure whether any changes affect your benefit, tell us anyway.

What happens if you give me too much money?

If we give you too much Council Tax Benefit or Second Adult Rebate, it is called an ‘excess benefit’.

If there is an excess benefit, we will send you a letter which tells you:

  • why we gave you too much benefit;
  • how much the excess benefit is;
  • if you have to pay back the amount; and
  • how you can appeal if you think this is wrong.

In most cases we will send you a revised Council Tax bill, and you will usually have to pay more Council Tax.

What can I do if I don’t agree with your decision?

If you don’t agree with our decision, you can ask us to look at it again. Our letters tell you what your rights are.

You could also pick up our leaflet called ‘What to do if you disagree with a Housing Benefit or Council Tax Benefit decision’ which gives you more detailed information.

Where can I get help?

You can always phone us for help and advice.

Or, you could contact your local citizens advice bureau Link to External Website or Welfare Rights Service.

What if I want to comment on your service?

You should get in touch with us. We would like to know what you think about this leaflet or about the service we provide to you.

If you want more information

If you have any questions you can phone our Housing Benefit Section. The office is open: Monday to Wednesday from 8.30am to 5.00pm Thursday from 8.30am to 4.30pm Friday from 8.30am to 4.00pm.

Phone 0161 342 3708 or call in and talk to someone at one of our customer service centres.

Contact Information
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Contact by Post

Exchequer and Support Services
Tameside MBC
Council Offices
Wellington Road
Ashton under Lyne
OL6 6DL
Contact by Telephone
0161 342 3708
Contact by Fax
0161 342 2676/2012

Page last updated: 20 February 2014