Changes to Council Tax Benefit
In April 2013 Council Tax Benefit was replaced by local support schemes set up by councils to help those on a low income pay their Council Tax. This is called the Council Tax Reduction Scheme.
The Government expects councils to save 10% of previous spending on Council Tax Benefit. In Milton Keynes we held a public consultation to ask people how we should do this. As a result, all people of working age who receive benefits are now expected to pay something towards their Council Tax.
What has changed?
The main change is that, excluding pensioners and certain war pensioners, households previously receiving up to 100% Council Tax Benefit have to pay at least 20% of their Council Tax. On average, this means an extra £14 a month, although your own Council Tax Bill explains exactly how much you have to pay.
- People earning who are on a low income are able to earn more before the help they get with their Council Tax is affected.
- People with savings of more than £6,000 will not normally be entitled to support unless they are receiving Income Support, Job Seekers’ Allowance (Income Based) or Employment and Support Allowance (Income Related).
- The second adult rebate has ended, so you will not get additional help because someone with a low income has moved in to your home and your single person discount has been removed. People who live alone can still claim a single person discount.
Getting Extra Help
We appreciate that this change may not be easy to cope with. Some options could be:
- Try to find some paid work to increase your income.
- Seek advice on ways to manage money and debt. The National Debtline can offer free and confidential advice on 0808 808 4000 or contact the Money Advice Service on 0300 500 5000
- Make sure you are claiming all the benefits to which you are entitled.
- Get in touch with the Citizen’s Advice Bureau for independent advice call 08444 111444.
- If you are currently unemployed and need support looking for work then drop into one of the Council’s Neighbourhood Job Clubs based in community centres, libraries and Parish Offices, or book a one to one advice session with one of our trained advisors. For more information call 01908 556765.
- People facing severe financial pressure or who are going through a personal crisis may be entitled to assistance from a discretionary fund to pay their Council Tax. More information about the Welfare Reform will be helpful too.
The Council Tax Reduction Scheme pages give more information about the current scheme and how to claim.
Last Updated: 6 April 2020