With more than 12 million pensioners faced with rising costs of living in the UK, any financial support would be helpful for them; especially f they are on a low income. This is why we aim to learn whether pensioners can get help with council tax. We will also explore the eligibility criteria for council reduction mainly for pensioners as well as alternatives that they can consider if they are not eligible for it.

Can Pensioners Get Help With Council Tax?

Yes, pensioners can and do get help with council tax in the UK. However, to be eligible for council tax reduction, they must qualify based on the below criteria:

  • low income and savings
  • receiving benefits

Some other situations that are irrespective of whether the applicant is a pensioner or a non-pensioner yet qualify an individual for council tax reduction include the following:

  • they live alone
  • they are a carer 
  • the applicant or a household member has a severe mental impairment (this includes dementia or a learning difficulty)
  • there are adaptations in your home for a disabled household member
  • the resident has gone into hospital or moved into a care home
  • the property in question isn’t the applicant’s main residence

The amount of council tax support (in other words, a reduction or discount on your annual council tax bill) that one can expect to receive from the authorities depends on the following key factors:

  • the benefits they receive
  • their age
  • their income
  • their savings
  • the number of people in their household
  • the amount of Council Tax they pay

Pensioners who claim a disability or carer’s benefit are likely to receive a higher discount on their Council tax bill. On the other hand, if a pensioner is claiming the Guarantee Credit part of Pension Credit, their council tax bill will be completely waived off. 

Despite this, an estimated number of 4.5 million households will not be able to claim the £150 council tax rebate announced by the UK Government in May 2022.

How Can Pensioners Claim Council Tax Support?

Each council runs its own Council Tax Reduction Scheme. Therefore, to claim this reduction, you will have to contact your local council office to apply for Council Tax Reduction.

The council will assess your income and savings as well as those of your partner to calculate how much council tax reduction applies to your case. 

In addition to this, your savings and property (also referred to as capital) will also be assessed by the council these must be valued at less than £16,000. However, if you get the Guarantee Credit part of Pension Credit, you can have savings of more than £16,000 and yet claim council tax reduction.

Based on the current London Living Wage of £10.85 per hour, individuals earning between £86.80 and £173.59 will be considered on a relatively low income and be considered eligible for a 50 per cent discount on their council tax bill. Meanwhile, individuals earning less than £86.80 per week will be considered as earning a low income and will therefore become eligible for a 100 per cent council tax reduction.

Does Change Of Circumstances Affect Council Tax Support For Pensioners?

Yes, there are certain changes of circumstances in a pensioner’s life that will definitely affect their eligibility for council tax reduction, and increase or sometimes decrease the rate of discount that they receive. These changes include the following:

  • if they have a change of residence
  • a household member moves in or leaves their house
  • the claimant or their partner changes their employment status with part-time work or self-employment 
  • a change in the claimant or their partner’s income, savings or benefits  
  • leaving your home temporarily

What Should A Pensioner Do If They Can’t Get Council Tax Reduction?

If a pensioner does not qualify for council tax reduction (this is mainly due to not being on a low income or having more than £16,000 in capital), they can apply for a ‘second adult rebate’; also called ‘alternative maximum CTR’. 

However, to qualify for a second adult rebate, the second adult (or adults) living with the claimant mustn’t be responsible for paying council tax. Additionally, the second adult must fulfil the below criteria:

  • they are at least 18 years old 
  • they are not your partner
  • they don’t pay you to rent
  • they don’t have a tenancy agreement with your landlord
  • they don’t have partial ownership of your property
  • they are on low income or get benefits

If the second adult claims the following benefits, you can get a 25% discount on your council tax bill:

  • Income Support
  • Pension Credit
  • income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA)
  • income-related Employment And Support Allowance (ESA)

Conclusion:

The discussion in this blog post explains in detail the eligibility criteria for pensioners to qualify for a council tax discount on their annual bill. However, if someone does not meet the eligibility criteria of being on a low income or claiming benefits to claim council tax reduction, they can check if they can apply for a second adult rebate. 

FAQs: Can Pensioners Get Help With Council Tax?

What benefits can you claim when retired?

After retirement, you are eligible for Pension Credit, and reduced heating costs. health benefits. travel and TV discounts. benefits for war widows or widowers.

What benefits qualify for council tax reduction?

You may receive a 100 per cent discount on your council tax bills if you are receiving a disability premium or disabled child premium, employment support allowance, carer’s premium

a war disablement pension, war widows pension or war widower’s pension.

Will I get Housing Benefit when I retire?

Housing Benefit applies to those individuals who are unable to pay their house rent due to disability, living on benefits, low income or unemployment. However, if you’ve reached the state pension age, you may also apply for it.

What is the maximum Housing Benefit for a pensioner?

If you are a pensioner on a low income, you may qualify for 100 per cent of the eligible rent while on Housing Benefit.

Does age affect council tax?

Age does not have a direct impact on the rate of council tax bills or qualify an individual for any reduction in the same. However, there are certain criteria with regards to individuals living conditions or the value of one’s property that may affect council tax.

References:

Check if you can pay less council tax – Citizens Advice

Council Tax Support | Claiming Benefits | Age UK

‘Very unfair!’ Outrage as millions of pensioners miss out on £150 council tax rebate

How much of a Council Tax Reduction will I receive?

Housing Benefit and Council Tax Support for pensioners.

Check if you can get a second adult rebate on your council tax – Citizens Advice

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