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Council Tax Reduction Scheme

For 2015/16 and 2016/17 the Welsh Government made new Council Tax Reduction Scheme| (CTRS) regulations which replicate the existing 2013/14 regulations with again the same discretions available to the Council.

 

The new scheme still allows up to 100% Council Tax Support to tax payers, depending on their financial and household circumstances. The changes| are mainly technical giving the Council 3 specific discretions to decide upon which the Council has previously consulted with its residents about. 

 

After consultation the Council decided to:

  • Keep the extended payment period at the standard rate of 4 weeks;
  • Extend the backdating of Council Tax Reduction claims beyond the standard three months, to a maximum of six months.
  • Disregard all of the income received in respect of War Disablement Pension and War Widows Pension when calculating entitlement to Council Tax Reduction

The Council Tax Reduction Prescribed Scheme Regulations 2014/15 can provide further information on all aspects of the scheme including the areas of local discretion.

 

  • Council Tax Reduction Scheme (CTRS) 2014/2015

    For 2014/15 the Welsh Government made new Council Tax Reduction Scheme| (CTRS) regulations which replicate the existing 2013/14 regulations with again the same discretions available to the Council.

    The new scheme still allows up to 100% Council Tax Support to tax payers, depending on their financial and household circumstances.

     

    The changes| are mainly technical giving the Council 3 specific discretions to decide upon which the Council has previously consulted with its residents about. After consultation the Council decided to:

     - Keep the extended payment period at the standard rate of 4 weeks

     - Disregard all of the income received in respect of War Disablement Pension and War Widows Pension when calculating entitlement to Council Tax Reduction

     - Extend the backdating of Council Tax Reduction claims beyond the standard three months, to a maximum of six months.

    The Council Tax Reduction Prescribed Scheme Regulations 2014/15 can provide further information on all aspects of the scheme including the areas of local discretion.

     
  • Council Tax Reduction Scheme (CTRS) 2013/2014 

    The Council Tax Reduction Scheme replaced Council Tax Benefit on the 1st April 2013 with a National Scheme that was introduced by the Welsh Government with some limited discretions available to the Council. The 2013/14 scheme came to an end on the 31st March 2014

    The scheme gave up to 100% Council Tax Support to tax payers, depending on their financial and household circumstances.

    The Scheme is |mainly technical and gave the Council 3 specific discretions to decide upon which the Council consulted with its residents about. After consultation the Council decided to:

     - Keep the extended payment period at the standard rate of 4 weeks

     - Disregard all of the income received in respect of War Disablement Pension and War Widows Pension when calculating entitlement to Council Tax Reduction

     - Extend the backdating of Council Tax Reduction claims beyond the standard three months, to a maximum of six months.

    The Council Tax Reduction Prescribed Scheme Regulations 2013/14 can provide further information on all aspects of the scheme including the areas of local discretion.

     

 

Extended Payments

In prescribed circumstances, an award of council tax support will be extended for a period of up to four weeks where entitlement to certain qualifying benefits ends due to:

  • starting employment either employed or self-employed
  • a claimant increasing working hours to 16 hours or more
  • a partner increasing working hours to 24 hours or more
  • increasing earnings to an amount that ends entitlement to Income Support/Job Seekers Allowance (Income Based)/Employment Support Allowance (Income Related) or (Income Based)/Severe Disablement Allowance / Employment Support Allowance (Contribution Based)

 

The aim is to help incentivise long-term unemployed, sick or disabled people to take up work, earn more income or work more hours. To qualify for extended payments:

  • The claimant must expect their job or increased hours to last at least five weeks
  • The claimant or their partner has been entitled to Employment and Support Allowance – Income related (ESA [IR]), Jobseekers Allowance – Income Based (JSA [IB]), Jobseekers Allowance – Contribution Based (JSA [C]) or Income Support continuously for at least 26 weeks (or any combination of these)

Immediately prior to starting work the customer or partner must have been on ESA (IR), JSA (IB) or Income Support.

The claimant or partner has been entitled to Employment and Support Allowance (contribution-based), Incapacity Benefit or Severe Disablement Allowance and again their job or increased hours is expected to last for five weeks or more and they have been entitled to the above benefit continuously for 26 weeks.

 

In both cases their benefit must cease due to the result of them starting work or increasing their hours.

 

The Council will continue to allow extended payments up to a maximum of four weeks because this incentivises people to work or take on extra hours of work and any claimant moving into employment is likely to receive their first payment from their new employer within this timescale.

War Pension Disregard

The council currently disregards the whole amount of War Widow and War Disablement pensions when calculating income for Housing and Council Tax benefit.

 

The Council will continue to disregard War Widow and War Disablement pensions in assessing income for Council Tax Support

 

Backdated Benefit

The current rules for backdating of a working age customer are:

  • The claimant must make a request in writing
  • The customer must show continuous good cause for his or her failure to make an earlier claim
  • The claim cannot be backdated more than six months before the date of the written request.

 

'Good cause’ has been explained by tribunals and courts. The main principles are:‘ It includes any fact that would have probably cause a reasonable person to act as the claimant did’, but they are expected to take reasonable steps to ascertain what their rights may be.

 

Case Law establishes that good cause normally falls into four categories:

  • The claimant was so ill (physically or mentally) or otherwise unable to act that they could not claim and could not ask someone to do it for them.
  • Someone the claimant should have been able to rely on (such as the Local Authority, the DWP, an advice agency and possibly others) advised them they could not get HB/CTB when in fact they could.
  • There were good reasons for the claimant not believing they could claim, amounting to more that just not thinking or caring
  • Some external factor prevented the claimant from making a claim (e.g. failure of the postal service , imprisonment)

 

The Council will continue to allow backdated benefit for a period up to 26 weeks. 

 

 

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