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Council Tax Reduction Scheme (CTRS)

A Summary

The Council Tax Reduction Scheme (CTRS) is available to help those who are on, a low income, Income Support, Jobseekers Allowance, Employment Support Allowance or Universal Credit  and need assistance with paying their council tax.

CTRS is worked out differently for pensioners and those of working age.

If you are of working age, from April 1st 2016 the maximum amount of help you will get is 80% of your bill.

It doesn’t matter whether you own your home or rent it.

CTRS can be awarded on top of any discounts or exemptions (eg single person’s discount).

From April 1st 2016, you cannot normally get CTRS if you (and your partner if you have one) have more than £12,000 in savings (unless you get Pension Credit Guarantee).

Apply for Council Tax Reduction Scheme

or contact Customer Services on 01562 732928 for more details on how to apply.

In Detail

Yes, if:

  • you are on Income Support, Job Seekers Allowance, Employment Support Allowance (ESA) or Universal Credit
  • you are on a low income (this includes people who are self employed)

No, if:

  • you, or you and your partner between you, have more than £16,000 in savings (unless you are in receipt of pension credit guarantee).

A partner is someone you are married to, or someone you live with as if you are married to them.


The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) provide information on state benefits.

By completing an online Housing/Council Tax Reduction Scheme application form. Alternatively you can contact Customer Services on 01562 732928 for more details on how to apply.

You will need to give us some documents when you claim:

Download a checklist for Council Tax Reduction Scheme applications.

The Government decided to protect pensioners (people who are eligible to apply for Pension Credit) when Council Tax Benefit was abolished so, if you are a pensioner your maximum entitlement will be 100% of your bill.

Pensioners will continue to be able to claim for Second Adult Rebate. If you qualify for both Second Adult Rebate and Council Tax Reduction Scheme, we will give you the one which will reduce your council tax the most.

Council Tax Reduction Scheme for pensioners will be assessed in accordance with the Council Tax Reduction (Prescribed Requirement) (England) Regulations 2012 and any amendments of the said regulations

From April 2016, if you are of working age (whether you work or not) the maximum discount you can get is 80% of your bill. This means you will still need to pay some Council Tax, how much will depend on the money you have coming in.

Once we have worked out your Council Tax Reduction we will send you a letter and a new bill. You must check your notification letter very carefully to make sure we have used the correct details. If you find any mistakes let us know straight away.

Council Tax Reduction Scheme is due to change for working age claimaints on 1st April 2016. Read a summary of the changes.

You must send proof of the money you earn so we can work out your Council Tax Reduction Scheme.

If you work for an Employer...

Please ask your employer to fill in the certificate of earned income form online or download a copy to give to them.

 

If you are Self Employed...

If you are self employed please send us your recent accounts. If you cannot do this, get in touch with us for more details.


If you cannot send the information now...

Do not delay submitting your claim form if the proof we ask for is not available at the moment, but, you must send this information as soon as possible. We cannot work out your discount without it.

How long it takes to work out your claim depends on:

  • how quickly you send in all the information
  • how busy we are when you make your claim

We will send you a letter telling you how we worked out your Council Tax Reduction Scheme. Please check the information in this letter very carefully, if there is anything you think is wrong, you MUST tell us straight away. 

Your benefit usually starts from the Monday after we get your claim form.

If you think you might be able to get Universal Credit, income support or job seekers allowance (income based) please apply to the DWP.

If you are a pensioner and you think your benefit should start earlier, you can say so on the form.

Please write down:

  • the date you think your discount should start
  • the reason why you did not claim earlier

If you get discount from an earlier date, it is called backdating. Your benefit can be backdated by up to 3 months if you have a good reason for not claiming earlier.

Working age customers are not entitled to backdated discounts and your discount will start from the Monday after we receive your claim.

We will pay your Council Tax Reduction Scheme straight to your Council Tax account. You will get a bill showing any amount you have to pay after any discount has been awarded.

You can ask us to spread your bill payments over 12 months instead of 10.   

If you are a pensioner you may be able to get Council Tax Reduction Scheme for the full amount of Council Tax that you have to pay. This will depend on your income and whether you have other people living in your house.

From April 2016, If you are of working age, you may be able to get Council Tax reduction of 80% of your Council Tax that you have to pay, which means that all working age customers who are awarded Council Tax Reduction will still be required to pay a minimum of 20% of their annual Council Tax bill.

The amount you may get will depend on your income and whether you have other people living in your house.

If you have friends, relatives or anyone over 18 living in your home, you may get less Council Tax Reduction Scheme. These people are called non-dependants. An amount may be taken out of your discount for each non-dependant who lives in your home.

Non-dependant people do not include:

  • your partner
  • a child you get child benefit for
  • people under 18 years old
  • people in full-time education
  • people on youth training schemes

You will need to provide proof if anyone living with you falls under any of these categories.

You need to tell us about everyone that lives with you on your application form.

Working age claimants:

If you get income support, income based job seekers allowance or income related Employment Support Allowance (ESA) you will get 80% of your Council Tax as a discount after any non-dependant deductions have been taken off.

If you do not get income support, job seekers allowance (income-based) or income related Employment Support Allowance (ESA) we work out your Council Tax Reduction Scheme by comparing the money you get each week with your 'applicable amount/living allowance'. Your applicable amount/living allowance is what the government say you and your family need to live on each week.
The applicable amount/living allowance will be higher for some people - for example, if you are disabled or you are a one parent family.
If the money you get each week is less than, or the same as the applicable amount/living allowance, you will get 80% of your Council Tax as a reduction. If this happens you should claim income support or job seekers allowance as you may get more help from the Department for Work and Pensions. 

It is most important that you make arrangement to pay the Council Tax owed by you to avoid any recovery action and incurring costs because of the recovery action.

We count the money you earn from work after money has been taken out for:

  • tax and national insurance
  • half of any money you pay into a pension fund

We also count any other money you have coming in. This includes most state benefits, works pensions and income from savings or capital you may have.

We do not count:

  • Disability living allowance
  • Attendance allowance
  • Mobility allowance
  • War widows pension
  • War disablement pension

But we need to know if you get any of these, as you may get more Council Tax Reduction Scheme.

Government rules say that if you are a pensioner (and your partner if you are a couple) have savings or capital of more than £16,000, you cannot get Council Tax Reduction Scheme (unless you are in receipt of pension credit guarantee). If you have £10,000 or less, it will not affect your claim. If you have between £10,000 and £16,000, it affects how much Council Tax Reduction Scheme you will get. For every £500 (or part of £500) you have over £10,000 we add £1.00 to the money we count each week when working out your Council Tax Reduction Scheme.

The Council Tax Reduction Scheme for working age has applied a similar rule. If you have £6,000 or less, it will not affect your claim. If you are working age and have between £6,000 and £12,000, it affects how much Council Tax Reduction Scheme you will get. For every £200 (or part of £200) you have over £6000, we add £1.00 to the money we count each week when working out your Council Tax Reduction Scheme. If you have over £12,000 in savings or capital you cannot get Council Tax Reduction Scheme.

We do not count any actual interest you get from savings and capital.

You can appeal if you think your Council Tax Reduction Scheme is incorrect.

If you are a pensioner, you may be entitled to claim Second Adult Rebate if you have non-dependants living with you who are on low income. Second Adult Rebate is no longer available to working age people except in the case where the dwelling is occupied by a full time student and there is one or more second adults who are in receipt of income support, state pension credit, an income-related employment support allowance or income based jobseekers allowance. 

Yes, the next section is very important, please read it very carefully.


If anything happens which might affect how much Council Tax Reduction Scheme you get, you must tell us immediately. If you don't tell us about a change, and we pay you too much Council Tax Reduction Scheme, you may have to pay it back.

 

Report a change of circumstances if you are in receipt of Housing Benefit or Council Tax Reduction Scheme


You must tell us about the following changes:

Changes to the money you get -please tell us if:

  • you start or stop getting income support, job seekers allowance (income based) or income related Employment Support Allowance (ESA)
  • you start or stop getting working tax credit and/or child tax credit
  • the money you or your partner gets increases or decreases
  • the money non-dependants get increases or decreases
  • there are any other changes in the money people in your home get. For example, someone starts getting disability living allowance

Changes in your home -please tell us if:

  • you change your address
  • the number of people in your home changes - for example, someone has a baby
  • a partner comes to live with you
  • a partner leaves

Other changes -please tell us if:

  • you, or your partner, go into hospital for more than 6 weeks
  • you, or your partner, become a student, or stop being a student
  • the amount of savings or capital you have changes

You do not have to tell us about changes in age (for example, if one your children becomes 11 years old), as we will have this information already.

Report a change of circumstances if you are in receipt of Housing Benefit or Council Tax Reduction Scheme


If we give you too much Council Tax Reduction Scheme or Second Adult Rebate, we will send you a letter. When we give you too much Council Tax Reduction Scheme, we call it an 'overpayment'.

The letter we send you will tell you:

  • why we gave you too much Council Tax Reduction Scheme 
  • how much the overpayment is
  • if you have to pay back the amount
  • how you can appeal if you think this is wrong

In most cases we will send you a revised Council Tax bill, and you will usually have to pay more Council Tax.

From time to time we may send you a review form. If you want to carry on claiming Council Tax Reduction Scheme, fill in the form and return it to us as soon as you can.

If you do not send us the form, your discount scheme will stop. We will send you a revised Council Tax bill. This will usually mean you will have to pay more Council Tax.

All this information is for guidance only. It does not cover all the rules for all the Council Tax Reduction Scheme for every situation, nor does it provide a full interpretation of the rules. It should not be treated as a complete and authoritative statement of the law.



Wyre Forest District Council