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Council Tax Support

The government previously provided around £5.5m to help Torridge's poorest council tax payers pay their bills. This year they are slashing this amount by about 12 per cent. This means that the new scheme, which will affect almost 3,000 people in the Torridge area, will require them to now pay a larger share of their council tax bill. Over half of these people will be paying something towards their bills for the first time.

The new scheme has been designed to spread the impact of the cuts as fairly as possible and to encourage people into work.

As pensioners are protected from the change, low-paid working-age residents who currently claim council tax benefit are set to face the brunt of the cuts.

The Council has written to all people affected and has encouraged customers to make contact if they have concerns as to how they will be able to pay their council tax.  The Council will endeavour to consider mutually acceptable payment plans to achieve this.

Exceptional Hardship Policy/Fund

You will note below that part of the new scheme is a fund to assist tax payers who could find themselves in exceptional hardship without further assistance. The fund has limited capacity and is generally available to people who already receive council tax support - but need additional top up.

The principles behind the fund is to help people over a short term crisis when their income does not meet reasonable expenses. Please see the Exceptional Hardship Policy for more information. If you would like to apply for such an award; please phone the council on 01237 428700 and speak to a benefit advisor who will talk this through with you.

Torridge District Council's Council Tax Support Scheme

Local Council Tax Support Scheme for Working Age People

The Council Tax Support Scheme for Torridge is based on the previous Council Tax Benefit Scheme with five changes and associated principles detailed below:

1. Everyone should pay something

All claimants will be required to pay a contribution to their council tax - This will be achieved by reducing everyone's Council Tax liability to 75% before any council tax support is awarded.

For example a household receiving full Council Tax Benefit under the old scheme of £19.96 per week for a Band A property in Bideford would get a discount of £14.97 per week under the new Council Tax Support scheme (75% of £19.96).  This household will now pay £4.99 per week towards their Council Tax bill

2. Those living in larger properties should not receive greater levels of support than those occupying smaller properties

Council Tax Support will be restricted to a Band D council tax liability (before the 75% liability restriction is applied). This would mean that households in higher banded properties would have their support reduced to the council tax liability level as if they occupied a band D property.

For example a household receiving full Council Tax Benefit under the old scheme of £36.59 per week for a Band E property in Bideford would now get a discount of £22.46 per week under the new Council Tax Support scheme.  This household will now pay £14.13 per week towards their Council Tax bill.  This is worked out at the maximum rate of £29.94 per week for a band D property which is then limited to 75% equalling £22.46 per week.

3. Those with relatively high savings or capital should pay toward their council tax

A  £6,000 savings or capital limit has been introduced for the new scheme compared to £16,000 currently set for council tax benefit.  This means that no Council Tax Support will be paid to households with more than £6,000 in savings

4. Withdrawal of Second Adult Rebate Allowance

Second Adult Rebate has been abolished in the new scheme .  This is where an allowance is provided when one member of a household is working and receiving low income while the liable person is not entitled to any rebate because their income is too high.

5. Provide additional support for exceptional cases through an Exceptional Hardship Fund

The Council recognises the importance of protecting our most vulnerable customers and also the impact these changes will have. We have created an Exceptional Hardship Fund to ensure that we protect and support those most in need. The Exceptional Hardship Fund is intended to help in cases of extreme financial hardship. The Council has also created and Exceptional Hardship Policy to be used as a working document when assessing eligibility for funding.

Definition of working and pensioner age group for CTS

The Section 13A Policy (Council Tax Support Scheme) description is as follows:

Working Age Policy applies to a person who:

  • Has not attained the qualifying age for state pension credit; or
  • Has attained the qualifying age for state pension credit if he, and his partner, is a person on income support, on an income based JSA, or on an income-related employment and support allowance. 
     

The Pension Age Policy applies to a person who:

  • Has attained the qualifying age for state pension credit; and
  • Is not, or if he has a partner, his partner is not a person on income support, on an income based JSA, or on an income-related employment and support allowance.
  • Backdating your claim

    If there has been a reason which stopped or delayed you applying for housing benefit and/or council tax support you can ask for your claim to be 'backdated' so that it starts from an earlier date.