Council Tax support How do I claim?What is Council Tax Support?How does it work?What are the main differences for people of working age under Council Tax Support:How is Council Tax Support worked out?Council Tax Support (CTS) changes from April 2019Council Tax Support (CTS) changes from April 2018Council Tax Support (CTS) changes from April 2017 How do I claim?Back to top If you want to make a new claim for Council Tax Support then simply fill in an online claim form. View a copy of the local Council Tax Support Scheme regulations. What is Council Tax Support?Back to top Council Tax Support provides help for people on low incomes with their Council Tax bill. How does it work?Back to top There are two sets of rules depending on your age: If you or your partner have reached the state pension qualifying age then the level of support you receive is decided by central Government and is based on things such as: your family circumstances the money you have coming in any benefits you get any savings you have the amount of your Council Tax bill If you are of working age then the level of support you receive is decided locally and based on the following: What are the main differences for people of working age under Council Tax Support:Back to top The maximum award payable is equivalent to a band D property charge. Child Benefit (for children aged 5 years or older) is treated as income when working out entitlement. Awards are only paid from the date of application and not from an earlier (backdated) period. The rate at which benefit is withdrawn (known as the income taper) has increased from 20% to 30%. The deductions made for other adults (aged 18 or above) living in a property, such as a grown up son or daughter, has increased by 20% and a new deduction is payable for other adults who receive benefit. The minimum level of award is set at £5 per week, so no awards are paid under this amount. There is no Second Adult Rebate provision (this was an alternative scheme which some working age people could claim based upon the income of another adult living in a property). Protection Working age people who receive the middle or higher rate of Disability Living Allowance (or personal Independance payments) will be protected from these changes with the exceptions of the removal of second adult rebate and the backdating provision, which apply to all working age people. If you are of working age and are finding it difficult to pay your Council Tax then you may be eligible for a discretionary payment. Work Incentives Under Council Tax Support there are additional work incentives. When someone finds work and meets certain criteria, Council Tax Support will continue to be paid for 8 weeks to help with the transition into work. There will also be higher disregards for child care costs, helping working families with children. How is Council Tax Support worked out?Back to top To work out how much Council Tax Support you are entitled to, we look at things such as: your family circumstances the money you have coming in any benefits you get any savings you have the amount of your Council Tax bill Council Tax Support is not only for people out of work. Many people in work miss out every year so don’t be one of them. To find out if you can claim Council Tax Support visit our benefits calculator. Council Tax Support (CTS) changes from April 2019Back to top Following consultation the Council has now decided to make some changes to the CTS scheme. The changes are as follows: (a) the minimum award of £5 per week introduced in April 2013 has been removed. (b) the weekly non-dependant deduction where the adult is 18-24 years old and in receipt of benefits/out of work/on apprenticeships introduced in April 2013 has been removed (c) Any Universal Credit (UC) notification from the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) as a claim for CTS Council Tax Support (CTS) changes from April 2018Back to top Following consultation the Council has now decided to make some changes to the CTS scheme. The changes are as follows: Care Leavers The Council has responsibility as the corporate parent for a number of Care Leavers up to their 25th birthday. To ensure that the Council provides financial support as these young adults make the transition from care to independent living the Council will ensure that Care Leavers will receive full CTS to meet their Council Tax liability Universal Credit (UC) The Council’s CTS scheme does not have provision for backdating the start of a claim. However the Council have decided that for those in receipt of Universal Credit the start date of the claim for UC shall also be the start date of the claim for CTS to ensure that both benefits are aligned. This will ensure that vulnerable customers will not be placed into hardship and arrears with a liability for Council Tax before CTS is claimed and credited to their account. Company Directors From April 2017 the Council amended its CTS scheme for those self-employed to align the calculation with UC and treat those trading for more than 12 months as receiving the minimum wage for the numbers of hours worked. The Council have now decided to extend this calculation for those who have appointed themselves as a Director of their own Company. Council Tax Support (CTS) changes from April 2017Back to top Trafford’s CTS scheme was implemented in April 2013. Although the CTS scheme has worked as originally intended it is no longer in line with other national benefits including Housing Benefit (HB), Universal Credit (UC) and Child Tax Credits (CTC). A number of welfare reform changes have been implemented nationally since April 2013 and this trend is expected to continue. Following consultation the Council has now decided to make some changes to the CTS scheme to bring it in line with national changes. The changes are as follows: Removal of the Family Premium for new claims The family premium is part of how we assess the ‘needs’ of any applicant. Family premium is normally awarded in addition to other premiums when there is at least one dependent child residing in the house. Removing the family premium will mean a family would have less premiums. From May 2016 Central Government removed the family premium for new claims for HB. Limit the number of dependent children within the calculation for CTS to a maximum of two for new claims with no additional allowances for existing claims that already have two or more children where new children are born into the household Within the current scheme, customers who have children are awarded a dependant’s addition per child within their applicable amount that used to calculate the “needs” of the applicant and there is no limit to the dependant additions that can be awarded. From April 2017 Central Government will be limiting dependant’s additions on new claims to other benefits, including HB and CTC, to a maximum of two. The same restrictions will apply to existing claims where there are already at least two dependant children and no further additions will be made for new children. Self Employed Income UC has a minimum income for those who are self- employed and have been trading for more than twelve months, this minimum income is based on the National Living Wage (or National Minimum wage if you are under 25) for the numbers of hours worked. The Council have decided that CTS will be assessed in the same manner for those who have been self- employed for more than twelve months. Temporary Absence The period for which a person can be temporarily absent from home and still receive CTS is currently 13 weeks. To align with HB this will be reduced to 4 weeks. Entitlement to CTS The Council has confirmed that those who are not entitled to claim other national welfare benefits should not be able to claim CTS.