Council Tax Benefit is changing
Changes to Council Tax Benefit
The Government is abolishing the current Council Tax Benefit scheme from 1 April 2013 and all councils must replace it with a local Council Tax Support scheme. Councils will have a reduction in government funding of 10% compared with the current level of Council Tax Benefit subsidy. Barnet Council has tried to spread the burden of this cut as fairly as possible and so there are also changes to Council Tax discounts and exemptions.
After consultation with residents, the Council has approved its own local Council Tax Support scheme. The key changes from the existing Council Tax Benefit scheme are
- Pensioners will continue to be treated as they are under the current Council Tax Benefit scheme and will generally not pay any more than at present
- Everyone of working age will have to pay a minimum contribution of 8.5% of their Council Tax liability unless they are in a protected group. (War pensioners, war widow(er)s and people who receive Armed Forces compensation scheme payments will not have to pay the minimum contribution).
- Non-dependant charges for working age customers will be increased slightly and there will be fewer bands
- Second Adult Rebates will be abolished for working age customers. This was a form of Council Tax Benefit designed to help taxpayers who lost the single person discount because someone (not their partner or a lodger) was living with them but the second adult’s income was low. The income and savings of the taxpayer were not taken into account.
How this will affect you
The Council Tax for 2013/14 will be set in March and so exact figures will not be known until then. The amount of Council Tax that you will have to pay will be shown on your Council Tax bill which you should receive by 28 March. We will not be able to provide precise figures on individual liabilities until this time.
As an indication of the impact of the new Council Tax Support scheme, people of working age who currently receive Council Tax Benefit will and who live in a band D property would pay £2.31 per week if Council Tax stays the same as this year.
Those with Non –Dependants or who previously received Second Adult rebate will have to pay more.
If you currently enjoy a discount or exemption from Council Tax because your property is empty or is a second home you will have to pay your full liability from 1 April.
The full definition of the new scheme can be read here. Key details are:
- Single persons discount will continue to apply, so the additional amounts above will be reduced by 25% if you receive this discount
- Pension age is the age where you can claim State Pension Credit. You can tell if you are of pension credit age by checking the website https://www.gov.uk/calculate-state-pension
- Where you have a weekly income greater than the amount that the government calculates as your basic living requirement, we will continue to reduce your entitlement to Council Tax Support by 20 pence in every pound by which your income exceeds your basic living costs
- We will continue to disregard Disability Living Allowance and Child Benefit in calculating your income
- People with savings over £16,000 will not be entitled to Council Tax Support unless they receive the Guarantee credit of State Pension Credit and savings between £6,000 (£10,000 for those of Pension Credit age) and £16,000 will continue to count towards your income.
How to apply for the local Council Tax Support Scheme
If you already receive Council tax Benefit or apply for it before 1 April 2013 you will not need to make a separate application. Your Council Tax Support will be calculated and awarded to you based on your Council Tax Benefit claim.
From 1 April you will need to submit an application for Council Tax Support which will be available from 1 April 2013. For more information about applying for benefit see our page.
What to do next
Many people will have to pay Council Tax who have not previously had to pay. We can help by setting up a direct debit payment. Direct debits are the most convenient way to pay and we will always tell you how much we will take and give you notice of any changes to the payments.
We will send you a direct debit form with your Council Tax bill in March, but for more information regarding direct debits see the section Make life easier, pay by Direct Debit on our Council tax page or call 020 8359 2608