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Local Council Tax Support FAQs

Local Council Tax Support FAQs

No. As at present, pensioner entitlement will be based on a means test  and/or receipt of a qualifying benefit (pension credit guarantee credit).

There will be regulations setting out which classes of pensioner must be  included in a local authority’s scheme, and the amount of reduction pensioners within those classes will receive. The intention is that the schemes, so far as relating to vulnerable pensioners, will operate in a way very similar to what is in place now in relation to council tax benefit. People reaching pension-credit age in future will be able to apply under the new scheme – it will not be limited to those already in receipt of support.

If you are of working age and you claim Council Tax Support, then yes,  you will have to pay something towards your Council Tax unless you are in one of the protected groups that we propose to protect, War Disablement Pensioners/War Widows and the disabled. People claiming Council Tax Benefit now who receive 100% Council Tax Benefit, will have to pay approximately 10% of their Council Tax bill from April 2013. This includes people on Income Support, Job Seeker’s Allowance, Employment and Support Allowance and Disability Living Allowance. Our new scheme proposes that everybody pays something unless protected.

Funding for Council Tax Support will be  10% less than what we currently receive to pay Council Tax Benefit to all claimants - including pensioners. All of the funding shortfall can only be passed on to working age claimants (not pension age claimants who are protected from the change) which makes up about 51% of total claimants. 

If the funding shortfall could be passed to all claimants, each claim could be reduced by 10% but as less than half of our claimants (approximately 4,189) will see a reduction, the figure is closer to 14%.

Under the Pensions Act 2011 women’s State Pension age will increase more quickly to 65 between April 2016 and November 2018. From December 2018 the State Pension age for both men and women will start to increase to reach 66 in October 2020.

These changes affect you if you’re:

  • a woman born on or after 6 April 1953
  • a man born on or after 6 December 1953

To work out your state pension age you can use the state pension calculator on the DirectGov website.

Yes it will affect you.  It is expected that most working-age claimants getting Council Tax Support will have to pay something towards their Council Tax even if they are getting full benefit.  You may have to pay at least 10% of your Council Tax. 

You might not have to pay this if you are in one of our protected groups such as a War Disablement Pensioner, War Widow(er), a carer or disabled. 

Your feedback on the new scheme is anonymous and it will not affect your current claim for Council Tax Benefit.  We will not collect your name and address unless you provide it but we do need to collect some information about your age, ethnic origin, disabilities to help us ensure we have a good cross-section of views from our residents. Please take time to read our proposals and provide us with your honest feedback - all feedback given will be taken into account when making any final decisions on the new scheme.

It will clearly be in billing authorities’ interests to design schemes which support work incentives, to ensure more people are encouraged to move into work and demand for support is reduced.

Billing authorities have a range of responsibilities in relation to vulnerable groups. Other than pensioners (who cannot reasonably go to work), the Government has not prescribed exactly how councils should draw up their local support schemes.

If you would like a copy of this leaflet in large, clear print, audio, braille or in another language, please email customer.services@west-lindsey.gov.uk

Or you can visit us at:
West Lindsey District Council, Guildhall, Marshall’s Yard, Gainsborough, Lincolnshire DN21 2NA.

Please note, documents requested for transcription are sent out within 10 working days.

No, it will not replace Council Tax Support.  One of the reasons why Council Tax Support is being implemented was because the Government could not find a way to put Council Tax Support into Universal Credit and they also wanted to localise the support for Council Tax rather than it being controlled and managed from central government. 

Universal Credit will be treated in the same way as the predecessor benefits it replaces under the new Council Tax Support scheme when we calculate entitlement.  The precise rules to do this are being developed as more information about Universal Credit becomes known.

For men born before 6 December 1953, the current State Pension age is 65.

For women born after 5 April 1950 but before 6 December 1953, their State Pension age is between 60 and 65.

This is expected to be part of the localised Council Tax Support scheme.

Why does the council have to save £1.1 million in 2013/14? When the Government hands over the funding for the Council Tax Support scheme it will be a fixed cash-limited grant and it will be reduced by 10% of the estimated amount we would have spent under Council Tax Benefit, meaning we will have to save approximately £1.1 million to be able to fund the new scheme next year.  Further savings may be required over the next few years to fund the scheme.

In order to reduce expenditure on Council Tax Support we have considered a range of options including these.  The savings offered by undertaking these changes means we don’t have to reduce entitlement to the most vulnerable and these changes affect those who have money available to them to help pay the Council Tax.  Council Tax Support is being directed to those who are most vulnerable or the poorest in the community.

All current working age Council Tax Benefit claimants will be affected by these changes and might see the amount of support they get from April 2013 will be reduced.  Although pensioners will move onto the new support scheme, they will be protected and will not have their amount of support reduced under the new scheme.

Council tax is a charge which is usually paid by the people living in the property. The full tax assumes that there are at least two adults living in the property. If there is only one occupant in the home, they may be eligible for a 25% discount. The tax is also paid by the property owner where the property is unoccupied and no relief is applicable. There are exemptions and discounts for properties that are empty or occupied by certain organisations or people.

Council Tax is a local tax on domestic properties. It is set by the Council based on a property’s valuation band.  Each home is placed in one of eight valuation bands based on its value at 1st April 1991.

The Council is responsible for collecting Council Tax and this money helps fund local public services, including refuse collection, social services, roads, environmental health and education.

Council Tax Support is a local Council Tax Discount which has replaced Council Tax Benefit from 1 April 2013 and is shown as a reduction on your Council Tax bill.  It is means tested to help you pay your Council Tax and means the amount you get depends on things like:

  • Your income
  • Your savings and investments
  • The amount of your Council Tax
  • Other people who live with you

No. The default scheme takes effect only if an authority fails to approve a scheme on or before 31 January 2013. If the billing authority approves a scheme on or before 31 January 2013, it is not the default scheme (even if it is similar to it).

A pensioner, for the purposes of localised Council Tax Support schemes, is someone who has reached the qualifying age for state pension credit. The qualifying age for state pension credit is women’s pensionable age – for both men and women – currently just over 61.

These changes took place 1 April 2013.

Our consultation ends on 12 December 2012 and we will then review our proposed scheme based on the feedback we receive.  Our final scheme will be adopted by 31 January 2013 so that it can start from April 2013.

The Government has published a funding consultation in which it sets out a distribution of funding based on shares of previous expenditure and shares of council tax, and proposed arrangements for those authorities who may face the greatest pressures. This includes provisional allocations.

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