If you’re on a low income, you may be able to claim Council Tax Support to help you pay your Council Tax bill.
Council Tax Support reduces your Council Tax bill in the same way other discounts (like single person discount) reduce your bill.
Who can claim
To claim Council Tax Support you need to:
- be the person responsible for paying the Council Tax bill (rented property or your own home)
- be on a low income, whether it's from paid work, benefits or pension
- have (including your partner) less than £10,000 in savings if you're working age, or less than £16,000 if you're pensionable age (unless you receive the Guarantee Credit part of Pension Credit)
Discount for working age people
In April 2020 the way Council Tax Support is calculated changed if you're of working age. The scheme is now more generous and easier to apply for.
The table below shows how much discount you'll receive based on the number of people in your household and the total income you have coming in on a weekly basis.
People on Universal Credit would normally have seen the greatest amount of changes to their Council Tax payments month-on-month. Under the new scheme your discount won’t change unless you have a change in your total income that takes you into a new band.
The income bands from 1 April 2023 to 31 March 2024 are set out in the table below.
|Band||CTS level||Passported||Single||Couple||Family (1 child)||Family (2+ children)|
|1||92.80%||Relevant benefit||£0 - £85.99||£0 - £133.99||£0 - £211.99||£0 - £289.99|
|2||83.10%||Not applicable||£86 - £126.99||£134 - £174.99||£212 - £252.99||£290 - £330.99|
|3||61.40%||Not applicable||£127 - £167.99||£175 - £215.99||£253 - £293.99||£331 - £371.99|
|4||37.25%||Not applicable||£168 - £208.99||£216 - £256.99||£294 - £334.99||£372 - £412.99|
View the Council Tax Support income band details for previous years.
Features of the scheme for working age people
- The maximum amount of discount to be awarded has increased to 92.80%, meaning that you'll have less to pay towards your Council Tax than under the previous scheme.
- The scheme is based on income bands, meaning that small changes to your income will not change the amount of discount you've been awarded.
- Disability benefits, child benefit and child maintenance are not included in your total income, but we do need to know about them.
- If you pay child care costs, some or all of the costs will be deducted from your total income meaning you may fall into a lower income band.
- War pensions are not included in the total of your income.
- If you have more than £10,000 in capital you're automatically not entitled to CTS.
- There will no longer be a deduction made for adults other than you and your partner living in your household. This was previously known as a non-dependent deduction.
- For people who are self-employed we'll calculate your income from either year-end accounts or day books (if you don't have year-end accounts). If you've been trading for more than 12 months and your earnings are less than the national living wage rate at 35 hours, or 16 hours for a single parent, we'll use an assumed income of 35 or 16 hours at the national living wage rate. This is known as the minimum income floor. This will not apply to single parents with children under the age of 5.
Please see our Council Tax Support policy for full details of the scheme. To request a copy of this document in a different format please call us on (01226) 787787 and choose option 3.
Discount for pensionable age people
The government tells us how we must work out the discount for people of pensionable age. This is different to working age people.
You can check your state pension age on GOV.UK.
The maximum amount of help you can receive is 100% discount off your Council Tax bill.
How to apply
You can apply for Council Tax Support by filling in an online form. Please make sure you fill in the correct form depending on whether you're working age or pensionable age.
Working age people
You can apply for Council Tax Support below. You’ll need to have the following information to hand before you start the form:
- details of the income and benefits received by each person in your home
- the total balances for all your capital and accounts (including stocks, shares, Premium Bonds, and accounts: eg any savings, Post Office, building society or current accounts), for you and your partner
When you submit your application you'll be told immediately of the level of Council Tax Support you'll be entitled to. If we need any additional information from you we'll tell you this at the end of the form or contact you separately.
Pensionable age people
You can apply for Housing Benefit and/or Council Tax Support below. Before you fill in the form, use our Council Tax Support calculator to check whether you qualify and how much you might be entitled to. The details you put in the calculator will automatically populate your claim form.
Make sure you've got the following information to hand before you start the form:
- details of the income and benefits received by each person in your home (if you don’t have payslips or you’ve recently changed jobs, ask your employer to fill in our online certificate of earnings form)
- the total balances for all your accounts (including any savings, Post Office or current accounts), for you and your partner
You may also need to fill in one of the following forms if any of these circumstances apply to you:
- if you’re self-employed, please fill in our self-employed earnings form
- if you’ve returned to live in the UK within the last two years, you must fill in our habitual residence form to prove that you’re entitled to make a claim for benefit
- if you or your partner, or any children you’re claiming for, own another property or land, either in the UK or abroad, you’ll need to fill in our online property and land valuation form
At the end of the form it'll tell you what evidence we need to support your claim.
Continuing a saved application
If you've previously started and saved an application form for Council Tax Support, you can continue your existing application by selecting the relevant application button above, entering the 12 digit reference number you were given when you saved the form, and selecting 'Continue'.
If you need more information about applying for Council Tax Support you can contact us on 01226 787787 and press option 3. Lines are open Monday to Friday 9am to 4pm. You can also find other ways to contact us here.
Sending your evidence
If we've asked you to provide copy documents you can upload these below. You must provide your evidence within one calendar month from the date you applied for support.
Once we receive your information, we’ll work out how much you’re entitled to and contact you to let you know. This usually takes up to ten working days.
Select 'Send evidence' below to upload copy documents and choose the 'Start new form' option.
Acting as an appointee
If you've been appointed to deal with a person’s financial affairs on their behalf, you need to fill in the form below to become their appointee for Housing Benefit or Council Tax.
How we pay your Council Tax Support
Any support you're awarded will be deducted from your Council Tax bill and we'll send you a new bill showing your new payment plan.
Your support will usually start on the Monday after we receive your application, or the day you told us you wanted to make a claim. In some instances, we can backdate your claim.
Appealing against our decision
If you think we’ve made a mistake with your claim, you can appeal against our decision using the form below.
Sign up to My Bentax to view your Council Tax details online.
What to do if you're finding it difficult to pay your Council Tax bill
If you've been awarded Council Tax Support and you're still finding it difficult to pay your Council Tax bill, you can apply for additional relief using the form below. Any further relief will only be awarded if it's considered you're suffering extreme financial hardship. You'll need to provide three months bank statements to confirm the amounts you provide on the form.
Find out more in our discretionary relief policy.
Change of circumstances
If you move house or there are any other changes to your circumstances, you can tell us using one of the forms on our change in circumstances page.
Council Tax Support fraud
Council Tax Support fraud includes:
- failing to declare all of your income, including earnings and private pensions
- failing to declare all of your savings, including all bank/building society accounts and ISAs
- failing to declare that you own another property or land
- failing to declare a partner or other adults who live with you
- failing to report any change in circumstances that might affect an existing claim
If you make false claims or don’t tell us straight away about changes to your circumstances, you’ll have to repay any overpaid support. You may also be prosecuted. In less serious cases, you may receive a formal caution or a fine instead of prosecution.
Tell us if you know someone who's committing Council Tax Support fraud. All you need to do is fill in our online benefit fraud form or email email@example.com.