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Changes to Council Tax Reduction

The government has removed Council Tax Benefit, and replaced it with a new system, called ‘Council Tax Reduction’. The government has reduced the budget for this new system, which means that every working age resident will now have to pay some Council Tax.

These changes will only affect those households currently receiving Council Tax Benefit. Pensioners are protected from the changes and will not see a change in their benefit entitlement.

If you are concerned about your new Council Tax bill, and would like some advice on how and where you can make payments, you need to contact your local council’s benefits team.

Details of the Buckinghamshire Council scheme are as follows: 

The scheme for Pensioners is set by the Governement rather than the Buckinghamshire Council. 

Everyone is expected to pay at least 20% towards their Council Tax unless they are pensioners or counted as vulnerable.  Please see below for a list of vulnerable people. If you have capital (Savings etc..) of £16,000 or more you cannot get help from this scheme.  The help you receive will also be less if you have capital between £6000 and £16,000.  The help you get from this scheme may also reduce if you have any adults living with you who are not your partner.  These are called Non Dependants and your help will often reduce by £5 per week for each Non Dependant.  Any help you receive will normally start from the date you applied for it, it cannot be backdated.  If you are suffering from significant hardship there is a discretionary fund that we can sometimes use to give you extra help. If you receive any help from this scheme you must tell us of any changes in your circumstances and should do this within one month of the change occuring to avoid a further penalty.

The following groups are defined as vulnerable and are protected from reductions in benefit as mentioned above. 

  • The claimant or partner or any dependant is in receipt of an enhanced disability premium within either Council Tax Support or within any means tested benefit.
  • The claimant or partner is in receipt of a severe disability premium within either Council Tax Support or within any means tested benefit
  • The claimant or partner is in receipt of a support component within either Council Tax Support or within their Employment Support Allowance
  • The claimant or partner or any dependant is in receipt of Disability Living Allowance or equivalent within Personal Independence Payment at any rate
  • The claimant or partner is in receipt of a War disablement Pension or a War Widow/Widower's pension, or any similar payment from another country
  • The claimant or partner is in receipt of an Armed Forces Independence Payment
  • The claimant is a lone parent who is responsible for and resides with a dependant who is aged under 5 years.

The Overall Benefit Cap

The government has also brought in new measures to cap the total benefit a household can receive. This means that a couple/single parent can no longer receive more than £422.31 per week in total from Universal Credit, Child Tax Credits, Housing Benefit, JSA/ESA/Income Support, Carer’s Allowance, and some other benefits. A single person can only be in receipt of £296.35 per week from the same benefits.

Claimants receiving PIP/Disability Living Allowance, Working Tax Credits, Attendance Allowance or the support component of Employment and Support Allowance will not be subject to the cap.

If a household exceeds the amount of benefit the government has set out they can receive, a deduction will be taken from their Housing Benefit, to bring them under the weekly limit.

Please visit https://www.gov.uk/benefit-cap for further details.

Click here to download an information leaflet.

 

Debt and Money Advice - Advice and help to manage your money and some useful links
 
Housing Benefit - Information on Housing Benefit


Here are some useful websites to visit:
 
www.myadvicegateway.org
 
www.nationaldebtline.co.uk
                         
www.stepchange.org
                                
www.moneyadviceservice.org.uk
               
www.citizensadvice.org.uk
     
www.payplan.com
                                       
www.adviceguide.org.uk/england
 
www.shelter.org.uk