From 1 April 2013, the government abolished the national Council Tax Benefits system and asked councils to introduce a local Council Tax support scheme to replace it. The government also reduced funding for this by around 10%.
Our Council Tax Support is a means-tested benefit that helps people on a low income pay their Council Tax. It is administered by local Councils using rules set nationally and locally. Claimants have their Council Tax bill reduced by the amount of their support.
Horsham and Mid Sussex councils have adopted their own schemes.
Pensioners are protected and will continue to receive the same level of support they do now. A pensioner, for the purposes of localised council tax support schemes, is someone who has reached the qualifying age for state pension credit. The qualifying age for state pension credit is women’s pensionable age – for both men and women – currently just over 62.
Unable to work
The scheme will protect those whom the Department for Work and Pensions considers are unable to work or do not need to be available to work. These are disabled people and their carers, those who receive disability living allowance, attendance allowance, ESA support disability or the severe disability element of Working Tax Credit, and lone parents with pre-school children
Council Tax Support will be restricted to a maximum of Council Tax band D liability
anyone whose property is in a council tax band higher than D will have their support calculated using band D amount
all Working Age non- protected Council tax payers will have to pay at least 10% of their Council tax liability
there is a £10K capital limit which replaces the previous £16K limit. This means anyone with capital in excess of £10K who is not in a protected group will not qualify for Council Tax Support
there is no Second Adult Rebate for anyone below state pension credit age
All Working Age people who claim Council Tax Support will be affected by these changes and are likely to see their support change.
Although pensioners will move onto the new scheme, they are protected and will have their support calculated the same way that they did under the Council Tax Support default scheme
Anyone liable for Council Tax can apply for the new scheme and entitlement to support will be calculated in a similar way as it is under the Council Tax Support Default Scheme.
People who are currently receiving Council Tax Support will have their eligibility for the new scheme assessed without having to reapply to the council.
It is likely that many Working Age people who qualify for Council Tax Support will have to pay more than they did for the year 2013/14.
Pensioners who currently qualify for Council Tax Support are protected.
If you currently receive Council Tax Support you will not have to reapply under the new scheme. You will automatically be reassessed using the new rules.
There will no longer be a right of appeal to a Social Security Appeal tribunal. Appeals will now be heard by a Valuation tribunal, although there is no right of appeal against the principles of the Council Tax Support Scheme.
The authority strongly encourages you to seek advice (Citizens Advice Bureau or The Money Advice Service, for example) and/or speak with the Revenues Team to make an arrangement to pay the Council Tax due.
The authority has a responsibility to all Council Tax payers in the District to collect Council Tax due.
Payments may be made by up to 12 instalments in any one tax year. If you wish to pay by instalments, you should contact the Revenues Team (tel: 01444 477564, email: firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange this.