Council Tax Support
What was Council Tax benefit?
Council Tax benefit was a mean tested benefit to help people on low incomes pay their Council Tax, it was administered by us but completely funded by central government.
It changed on 1st April 2013, from then on it was named Council Tax Support.
What is Council Tax Support?
Council Tax Support is a means tested discount which also helps people on low incomes pay their Council Tax. It is administered by us using rules that we have set ourselves and is only partly funded by the government.
The Council Tax benefits system was abolished by central government. We then introduced our own scheme based on needs and priorities specific to Lincoln residents, these discounts started on 1st April 2013.
As the amount of funding we now get from government has reduced we have had to make some difficult decisions about who will get help with paying their Council Tax and how much help they will get. Some groups of people have been protected from these changes and will not have to pay more, but others do. We consulted on the proposed reductions and changes with those affected over a five week period. The changes were introduced on 10th January 2017. We will review the scheme each year, and any new rules will be set by 31st January to start from 1st April.
Changes to Council Tax Support
A new scheme has been introduced for Council Tax Support discounts and reductions (agreed by the council on 17th January 2019):
- For working age customers the Capital limit is £8000, anyone who has capital in excess of this amount will not be entitled to Council Tax Support
- Introduction of additional 50% premium to empty properties over 2 years
- Care leavers council tax exemption – 100% for those aged between 18 and 21st birthday and 50% for those up to their 22nd Birthday
- Unoccupied discount 100% for the first month
The scheme was originally amended in 2017 as follows:
- Backdating is being restricted to one month
- Temporary absence from home rule (four weeks) to replicate Housing Benefit legislation
- Reduce maximum capital allowance to £10,000 (those on passported benefit remain at £16,000)
- Council Tax Support award is restricted to Band B
- Minimum scheme award of £2.00 per week
- Second homes discount will reduce from 10% to 0%
- Empty and unfurnished property discount will change from 100% for the first month, to 50% each month for the first two months
The scheme was further amended for 2018-2019:
- Protection for the following vulnerable customers
- Pensioners (providing they, or their partner, are not receiving income support, JSA(IB), or Universal Credit)
- Receiving a War Pension/War Widows Pension
- Disability Premium qualification (inclusive of enhanced and severe disability premiums)
- A child in the household who qualifies for a disabled child premium
- Qualification of a disabled earnings disregard
- Qualification for a Carer Premium/underlying entitlement to Carers Allowance
- All Employment Support Allowance types
- Increase in Exceptional Hardship fund from £10,000 to £20,000
- Second Home discount reduce to 0% (currently 10%)
- Empty and unfurnished amended to 50% for two months (currently 100% for one month)