6. Support with council tax
As part of the government’s welfare reforms, the national scheme for Council tax benefit (a benefit to help with council tax for people on a low income) in England and Wales was abolished in April 2013. It was replaced with a local scheme called the Council tax support scheme. Each local authority has to run a scheme that provides support for people on a low income to pay their council tax. This scheme will vary from one local authority to another.
The financial support available to help with paying council tax will depend on a range of factors. These may include:
- which benefits the person receives
- the age of the people living in the property
- their income and savings
- who lives with them.
People of pension age can get up to 100% of their council tax supported in this way, if their income is low enough. People of working age can get a rebate of between 70-100%, depending on the local authority. Many older people, especially owner-occupiers, fail to claim this support and are missing out on what can be quite a large amount of help.
More support may be available if someone receives a disability benefit or carer’s benefit. The local council should offer information and advice about the local council tax support scheme and the availability of Discretionary housing payments to help people who claim housing benefit. For more information see www.counciltaxsupport.org/schemes
Whatever the local scheme in place for means-tested council tax support, the discounts, disregards and exemptions mentioned in this factsheet will be available and are not means-tested.
Council tax support and Universal credit Universal credit is a new benefit which is replacing many benefits for anyone who is under the age at which they qualify for Pension credit. For more information see Benefits.
Council tax support will not be part of the Universal credit system. However, local authorities may be able to use information from a person’s Universal credit claim to help them decide how much support they will provide with a person’s council tax.