Council Tax Support
Why You Need To Read This
As part of the Government’s welfare reforms the national scheme of Council Tax Benefit was abolished from 1 April 2013 and it is has been replaced with local reduction schemes. The Council, in consultation with our Council Taxpayers, designed a new local reduction scheme for East Devon called ‘Council Tax Support’.
At the same time the Government has also cut funding, which meant East Devon District Council had to make some difficult decisions on who should pay extra Council Tax to make up this money. Following public consultation all working age customers have to pay something towards their council tax.
For customers who have reached the age to claim State Pension Credit the Government has set out a national scheme. This means that these customers continue to receive the same level of Council Tax Support as they received under the Council Tax Benefit scheme, and are not be affected by these changes.
What Do We Mean By Working Age?
By working age we mean anyone aged between 16 and State Pension Credit age.
What Is Council Tax Support?
East Devon District Council’s Council Tax Support scheme has kept many of the elements of the national Council Tax Benefit scheme with 5 main changes. These changes are:
- An 80% limit on Council Tax Support. This means that all working age customers have to pay at least 20% of their Council Tax bill.
- A savings limit of £8,000. This means that if you and your partner in total have savings and other investments over £8,000 you cannot claim Council Tax Support.
- Limiting Council Tax Support to a Band D Council Tax charge. This means that if you claim Council Tax Support and live in a Band E, F, G or H property the maximum Council Tax Support you can receive is 80% of a Band D charge for the parish that you live in.
- Abolishing Second Adult Rebate. Second Adult Rebate for Council Tax Benefit was awarded when a second adult living in your home has a low income.
- Setting up an Exceptional Hardship Fund. The Exceptional Hardship Fund has been set up to help to limit the impact of the Council Tax Support scheme for our most financially vulnerable customers. Please view the Exceptional Hardship Fund policy (126KB Portable Document Format - 04 December 2012 - PDF Help).
Also available to download are:
- The Equality Analysis for the Council Tax Support scheme (171KB Portable Document Format - 10 April 2013 - PDF Help)
- Our vulnerability and incentivising work statement (172KB Portable Document Format - 04 December 2012 - PDF Help).
Listening To Your Views
From 6 August 2012 to 1 October 2012 we consulted with Council Taxpayers, Voluntary and Community Groups and Local Welfare and Advice Agencies on our draft scheme. All of the information was available online and we also sent out over 4,000 paper questionnaires to customers receiving Council Tax Benefit. In addition we held 10 roadshow events across East Devon to get your views on what the scheme should look like.
We received 1,126 completed questionnaires in response to our draft scheme. The results from this feedback have been taken into account when finalising our scheme and it has helped us to decide on how to reduce the impact our scheme will have on our customers.
Letting us know about changes
It is still really important for you to contact the Benefits Team and let them know if any of your circumstances change which might affect your Council Tax Support claim. Examples of these changes are:
- You move home or someone else moves into or out of your home
- You or your partner’s wages change
- You or your partner’s benefits change or end
- You or your partner’s Tax Credits change
- You or your partner’s savings change
- You or your partner stops getting Child Benefit for a child
- The income of a non-dependant who lives with you changes
If you delay telling us about a change you may be getting too much Council Tax Support which you will have to repay or you may miss out on extra Council Tax Support. If you do not tell the Benefits Team within 21 days of the change happening you may also receive a £70 penalty.
What if I have problems paying
If you feel you will struggle to pay your council tax then there are many ways we may be able to help such as:
- Rearranging you council tax payments
- Making sure you are claiming the right benefits and discounts.
- Looking at ways to reduce other bills, for example gas, electric, telephone, Budgeting advice and sorting out debt problems
- Claiming an exceptional hardship fund payment
Don’t wait until you get your bill, contact us now if you think you will have difficulty paying.
- Rearranging your Council Tax payments
We can spread your payments over 12 months or change the payment date to suit when you get paid
- .Making sure you are claiming the right benefits and discounts
We can check to make sure you are claiming all the right benefits, such as; working tax credits and you have been given the right discounts on your council tax bill.
- Reducing other bills, budgeting and debt advice
We work in partnership with Homemaker and CAB who are free independent debt advice agencies. Both these organisations can provide practical help and advice on how you can maximise your income, deal with your debts or give help with budgeting.
If you would like to be referred you need to contact us first or you can contact the following direct yourself:
Gov.uk gives you access to all government services and information including jobs, benefits and money advice - www.gov.uk
The Money Advice Service has a handy budget planner - www.moneyadvice.org.uk
The National Debtline has a free confidential helpline – call them on 0808 808 4000 between 9am – 9pm Monday to Friday and 9.30am – 1.00pm on Saturday, or visit their website at www.nationaldebtline.co.uk or access their help online at www.mymoneysteps.org
Contact your local Citizens Advice Bureau visit their website at www.citizensadvice.org.uk or contact a local office near to you:
Axminster Area – Axminster Alternative Job Club, Methodist Church Hall, Lyme Road, Axminster EX13 5AZ Telephone 08444 111 444.
Exmouth Area – East Devon Citizens Advice Bureau, Town Hall, St Andrews Road, Exmouth EX8 1AW. Telephone 08444 111 444.
Honiton Area – East Devon Citizens Advice Bureau, Honiton Library and Information Centre, 48-50 New Street, Honiton EX14 1BS. Telephone 08444 111 444.
Lyme Regis Area – Unit 1A, St Michaels Business Centre, Lyme Regis DT7 3DB. Telephone 01297 445325.
Seaton Area – East Devon Citizens Advice Bureau, 23 Fore Street, Seaton EX12 2LE.
Sidmouth Area – East Devon Citizens Advice Bureau; The Community Partnership, Mill Street, Sidmouth EX10 8DF. Telephone 08444 111 444.
- Claiming an Exceptional Hardship Fund Payment
East Devon District Council has set up a fund to offer short-term help to customers getting Council Tax Support who are most severely affected by these changes. If an application is made and is successful there will usually be a one-off payment towards your Council Tax. For more information please contact The Customer Services Team on 01395 517446 or download the Exceptional Hardship Fund policy (126KB Portable Document Format - 04 December 2012 - PDF Help).. Please download and complete an Exceptional Hardship Fund application form. (171KB Portable Document Format - 10 April 2013 - PDF Help)
Changes to Council Tax discounts & exemptions
The Government announced changes to Council Tax discounts and exemptions in respect of second homes and certain empty properties. For more information about changes in Coucil Tax discounts & exemptions, please visit the Changes to Council Tax discounts & exemptions page.
How to contact us
Phone: 01395 517446 (Monday to Friday 8.30am - 5pm)
- Council Offices, Knowle Sidmouth EX10 8HL (Monday – Friday 8.30am – 5pm)
- Exmouth Town Hall (Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday 9am – 4.30pm)
- Come and see us at one of our regular surgeries in Honiton or by appointment in Axminster or Seaton (please call 01395 517446 for details of opening times and to book an appointment)
Write: Benefits, East Devon District Council, Knowle, Sidmouth EX10 8HL
Email : firstname.lastname@example.org
Page last updated on 22 November 2013