Council Tax Benefit

Who Qualifies for Council Tax Benefit?

Any Council Tax Rebate awarded is paid by the 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, such as disability living allowance, job seekers allowance.  Even if you already get the living alone discount   you may still be entitled to a further reduction in your council tax.

If you have savings over £6,000 this will usually affect how much Council Tax Benefit you can get (£13,500 for some kinds of residential accommodation).  If you have savings of £16,000 you will probably not be entitled to get any council tax benefit.  This savings limit does not apply to anyone getting Pension Credit (Guarantee).

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 may be awarded 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 the 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.

Under the disability reduction scheme, your home could be reduced to the band below, if you care for a disabled person in the property.  If the property is the main residence of at least one disabled person and you have an additional bathroom or kitchen to meet his/her needs, or there is a room specially set aside for them, for example when a downstairs room has been converted into a bedroom, or a person living in the property uses a wheelchair. However, if your property is already in the lowest band “A” then you may be able to claim an extra cash discount for band “A” properties that meet any of the qualifying conditions listed.

If you move into someone else’s house to look after them, and there is no one in your house (your house 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 /her and their property is empty they do not have to pay Council Tax on their empty property.

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.

The Council Tax system assumes an average household has two adults and that between them 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.

To work out if you qualify for any discounts make a list of anyone over 18 years of age who lives in your property.  Cross out anyone who counts as an invisible person. If you are left with two names or more you may not qualify, this will depend on the total household income.  If all the names left are counted as invisible persons you should only be paying half of the total amount due.

What counts as an Invisible Person?

Carers, if they are living with and care for, a disabled person who is not their wife, husband, cohabitee, or child under 18.

The disabled person must be receiving the higher rate attendance allowance or the high rate component of Disability Living Allowance and the carer must be providing care for at least 35 hours per week.

A carer does not have to have be claiming and or be receiving 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.

Do I Qualify?

If you are unsure if you qualify for council tax benefits, you should contact your local council tax office and ask for a claim form or speak to one of the staff who should be able to advise you or your rights.