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UK: Removal of maximum council tax award (April 2020) for those on benefits

Discussion in 'Work, Finances and Disability Insurance' started by InitialConditions, Mar 25, 2020 at 4:05 PM.

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  1. InitialConditions

    InitialConditions Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    I've just checked my council tax bill and it is significantly lower than last year's.

    This is because the Tory government brought in a ceiling on the value of any council tax award (dependent on benefits etc.). If I recall correctly, this ceiling has been removed for the next financial year. However, some of these award ceilings are set by the councils, so it may be different for each council.

    Some good news for once.
     
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2020 at 4:23 PM
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  2. Kitty

    Kitty Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Oh, that's good news! Mine's gone up, but only by £1 a month, so I can hardly complain. I live on a little social housing development in Band B, though, so I doubt I'd have been hit by a ceiling anyway.

    I do have to pay the bedroom tax for the tiny spare room where I keep my wheelchairs and other mobility equipment, but I chose that rather than take a one-bedroom bungalow with nowhere to put it. Hopefully they'll still stop charging it when you reach state pension, when I get to that point in a few years!
     
  3. InitialConditions

    InitialConditions Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    The ceiling is for the council tax award (also known as council tax reduction), not the actual council tax bill. They took around £400 off last year due to my income levels and claiming UC. This year they have taken off about £700.
     
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  4. Kitty

    Kitty Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Ah, okay – I can't make head nor tail of the award letters they send me! The recent one says they've awarded me a reduction of £989, but nothing about what the actual charge is for the year. A month later I get an email telling me what my monthly direct debit is, but not whether it's over 10 months or 12. They like to keep you guessing!
     
  5. Simbindi

    Simbindi Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    You are entitled to a room for an overnight carer if you get the care element of PIP and need 'regular' overnight care. Regular does not mean every night, it has a very flexible interpretation. So you can appeal the additional bedroom tax charge if you fit in this category. The council is unlikely to challenge any request for an additional bedroom allowance if the claimant is in receipt of the care element of PIP at the enhanced rate (as this was equivalent to the highest rate of DLA given if overnight care was needed).

    Edit: You don't have to be in receipt of PIP to get this additional bedroom allowance, but if you are it is accepted as proof of need for an overnight carer.

    Edit: You can also appeal the bedroom tax based on the size of the spare room. I appealed mine on this basis and my house was reclassified from a 3 to a 2 bed house for bedroom tax purposes.
     
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2020 at 3:09 PM
  6. Simbindi

    Simbindi Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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  7. Simbindi

    Simbindi Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Here is a useful link to understanding the bedroom tax and judging whether you can appeal:

    https://www.carersuk.org/help-and-advice/financial-support/help-with-benefits/bedroom-tax

    Edit: You can appeal the bedroom tax at any time, not just within a month of getting the council's decision letter. However, you need to give a good reason (which can be disability, lack of awareness etc.) but if you are successful in the appeal it will only be backdated to the date you appeal.

    An appeal template and guidance can be found here:

    https://scotland.shelter.org.uk/__d...ing_your_bedroom_tax_decision_GLC_toolkit.pdf
     
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2020 at 4:54 PM
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  8. Kitty

    Kitty Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Thank you – I do get this, but don't need overnight care. (I'm also autistic, and would shift flipping mountains if it meant I didn't have to have anyone else in the house! :laugh:)

    It definitely meets the size standard for a spare room, as the houses on our independent living scheme were only built two years ago to up-to-date specs. Our local authority prefers not to offer one-bedroom properties to people who use powered wheelchairs or scooters, though they did say I could have one if I really wanted. They also have a hardship fund for anyone struggling to pay the bedroom tax, but to be honest, I can cover it from my PIP; I'm just annoyed that disabled people who genuinely need storage space for their mobility equipment should have to pay it.
     
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  9. Simbindi

    Simbindi Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    I've been meaning to create a thread on this in the money and benefits section of the forum but haven't got around to it. Your post prompted me that this information may help people reduce their outgoings.
     
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  10. Simbindi

    Simbindi Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    You seem to have an exceptional local authority - mine doesn't give two hoots about disabled people and getting help is like getting blood out of a stone (but more stressful...).
     
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  11. Kitty

    Kitty Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    They're pretty good, although it can be just as stressful when part of the system doesn't work quite as it should. My local councillors were brilliant when I had to stop work, sell my house (in which I didn't have much equity), and move into social housing, though.

    Our council tax is relatively high, as they took a political decision to charge more and offer good services; my old house was in Band A, and I paid slightly more than my sister in a Band D house in another authority. I didn't mind when I was working, though, I'd rather pay it and have support available for people who need it. A lot of it has been stripped down now because of central government cuts, but they do their best!
     
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