Council tax

Council Tax Support

If you're on a low income, you may be entitled to help paying your council tax. This discount on your council tax bill is known as Council Tax Support. It replaced Council Tax Benefit on 1 April 2013.

Who is entitled to Council Tax Support?

You may be entitled to support if you are on a low income or are receiving benefits (such as Jobseekers Allowance, or Income Support).

How is Council Tax Support worked out?

To work out how much Council Tax Support you are entitled to, we compare your 'income' with the amount of money that the government considers to be the minimum amount that you need to live on. This takes into account the size of your family, your age and any extra needs you may have. We make extra allowances for disability, being a carer and having children.

Income is any money you have coming in, so includes earnings from a job if you are in work. It also includes any other benefits you are entitled to such as Jobseekers Allowance, Income Support, or a pension if you are over 65. We also make adjustments for any savings, investments and the value of any property or land you own. The more income you have the less support you will be entitled to.

If other adults live in the property the amount of Council Tax Support is likely to be reduced further as they are expected to contribute.

Changes to the scheme from 15 Janaury 2017

Temporary absence abroad
From 15 January 2017 the rules about getting Council Tax Support if you go abroad have changed to bring them in line with the changes in the Housing Benefit rules.

You can be absent from your home outside of Great Britain for any reason, for up to four weeks and you will continue to receive Council Tax Support.

If you are going to be absent for over four weeks you will no longer be entitled to any Council Tax Support from the day that you leave your home. 

We may be able to continue to award Council Tax Support for up to eight weeks if the absence from home outside of Great Britain is because of the death of your partner, a child or young person for whom you or your partner are responsible, you or your partner's close relative or a close relative of a child your young person for whom you or your partner are responsible for.

We must be satisfied that it would be unreasonable to expect you to return within the first four weeks.

We may be able to pay up to 26 weeks if:

  • your absence abroad is to receive medical treatment

  • you are accompanying a partner or child for medical treatment abroad

  • you are resident abroad in hospital as a patient

  • you, your partner or defendant child is undergoing medical treatment or medically approved convalescence in accommodation abroad, other than residential accommodation

  • you are a mariner or continental shelf worker, for example someone who works on an oil rig

  • you are a member of the armed forces posted overseas

  • your absence is because you fear violence in your home, or violence by a person who was formerly a member of your family

Changes to the scheme from 1 April 2017

Restrictions on amounts for Children and Qualifying Young persons
From 1 April 2017 a limit to the number of personal allowances which can be included in the applicable amount for Council Tax Support in respect of children and qualifying young people will be introduced. These changes are in line with Child Tax Credit restrictions announced in the Summer Budget of 2015 which in turn affect the applicable amounts for Housing Benefit.

For all new entitlements to Council Tax Support arising on or after 1 April 2017, the personal allowance for children and qualifying young people will be restricted to no more than two children. 

If you are already in receipt of Council Tax Support before 1 April 2017 this change will not affect you until you have a change of circumstances where a new child or qualifying young person becomes part of your family on or after 1 April 2017 and they are not included in the assessment for Child Tax Credit.

The restriction only applies to the personal allowances for the children and qualifying young people to be included in the applicable amounts for Council Tax Support. If there are more than two children as part of an existing decision for Child Tax Credits, the restriction will not apply and the Council Support decision will follow the Child Tax Credit award. As a general rule, there will be no cases where the applicable amount is more or less than the Child Tax Credit award.

For further information about the restriction to two children in Child Tax Credit, Universal Credit and Housing Benefit please visit the DWP webpage.

Changes to non-dependant deductions

Find out about changes to the deductions taken for people living with you who are 18 years or older (non-dependants).

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