This blog answers the question “How To Apply For A Council Tax Reduction?” It looks at the specific conditions that need to be met in order to be granted a reduction in council tax. The different benefit schemes available are discussed in detail.

How To Apply For A Council Tax Reduction?

You can apply for a council tax reduction online on the gov.uk website by entering your postal code. You will then be redirected to your council website. Here you will need to search for the type of council tax reduction which applies to your case.

For instance, the Liverpool Council Website mentions the following types of council tax reduction for taxpayers:

  • The Single Person Discount
  • The tax reduction for care providers ( Carer’s Discount)
  • The Council Tax reduction for living with or being an SMI (Severely Mentally Impaired) resident.
  • The Apprenticeship Discount
  • Council Tax reduction for living with prisoners (people who have been detained and are serving an active prison sentence)
  • A Council tax reduction for living in an annexe
  • A Council tax reduction for living with patients (who are currently admitted to hospital).

For Hackney Council, the following council tax discounts are mentioned on the website:

  • Full-time student council tax reduction (for living with a full-time student or being one)
  • The Disability Band Reduction Scheme (which moves the council tax band of the property to the next lowest band)
  • A council tax reduction for living in an annexe
  • A council tax exemption for unfurnished and unoccupied property (lasting upto 30 days)

How Do I Apply For Pension Credit?

You can apply online for State Pension Credit here You can also apply by phone at the Pension Credit hotline: 0800 99 1234 (from Monday to Friday, between 8am and 6 pm)

You can apply by post by printing and filling out the pension credit claim form. Next you need to send the claim form to the Pension Service at this address:

Pension Service B,

Post Handling Site B.

Wolverhampton,

WV99 1AN

State Pension Credit provides you with extra financial support if you have little or no income. Your level of income and savings is first assessed before you are approved for getting State Pension Credit. You may also claim State Pension Credit if you have your own home.

Pension Credit is made up of two parts, which are Savings Credit and Guarantee Credit. Pension Credit consists of:

  • A weekly payment of £182.60 
  • A weekly payment of £278.70 for you and your partner

The full new state pension is £185.15 a week. You will have to claim this new state pension instead of the full basic state pension (£141.85 a week) if you were born after 6th April 1951 (6th April 1953 for women).

The extra payments added to pension credit, given your situation, are known as Guaranteed Credit.

If you are receiving any of the following benefits you could get an additional payment of £69.70 a week (for proof of your disability condition):

  • The Armed Forces Independence Payment
  • The Attendance Allowance
  • The Adult Disability Payment (daily living component)
  • The Care Component of the Disability Living Allowance (at the highest or middle rate)
  • The Personal Independence Payment (Daily Living Component)

If you are a care provider for another adult you can claim an extra £38.85 a week. As proof of this you will need to be getting the Carer’s Allowance or have claimed the Carer’s Allowance but are unable to receive its payments because you are also on another benefit which pays a higher amount.

You will get £56.35 a week if you are responsible to look after a child or young person living in your household.

If a child or young person living with you are disabled, you may also be eligible for an extra payment (added to £56.35 a week) of :

  • £30.58 if they are on the Disability Living Allowance, Personal Independence Payment or Adult Disability Payment
  • £95.48 if they have been certified as severely sight impaired (blind) by an eye specialist. The same condition applies if the child or young person is receiving the Disability Living Allowance(at the highest rate), the Child Disability Payment (at the highest rate), the Personal Independence Payment or the Adult Disability Payments enhanced daily living component .

Savings Credit consists of a maximum payment of 14.48 a week (16.20 a week, if you’re applying with your partner). You can claim savings credit even if you are not eligible for Guaranteed Credit.

The requirements that need to be met to be met for Savings Credit include:

  • Having reached the state pension age (65 for men and 66 for women) before 6th April 2016
  • Having accumulated some savings for retirement living such as a pension.

I am living on my own, am I entitled to a discount?

The council tax bill requires at least 2 adults to be living on a property

So according to this principle such applicants who are single are entitled to a 25% tax discount and those who also fall into the following categories are entitled to a 50% Tax Discount :

  • A single parent living with your children (who don’t count for tax purposes as they are under 18)
  • Someone working under a  government training scheme or an apprenticeship scheme
  • A full-time student
  • A Nursing School Student
  • Foreign Language translators registered with the British Council 
  • Anyone who is seriously mentally handicapped 
  • Anyone staying in accommodations such as these: The Salvation Army, The Marylebone Project
  • Someone in prison
  • A person living in a bail or probation hostel
  • A person who is living in a hospital for an indefinite period of time or undergoing treatment there for a number of years
  • A foreign envoy

All of these above-mentioned people need to be living alone as well 

You can also get a discount for living with any of these people :

  • People who have Alzheimer’s and Parkinsons’ disease
  • Military Members from a country other than the UK 
  • People pursuing full-time jobs in property premises( they should be residents for at least 35 hours a week)
  • Monks and Nuns; which applies to other monks or nuns living with them in the monastery who can get upto a 50% tax discount. They are naturally counted as single persons

Do I qualify for a council tax reduction if the non-dependants living with me are a couple?

Council Tax only considers one of these non-dependants in the tax discount, this is the higher deduction (and doesn’t count the other partner)

If both partners are working, council tax adds both of their incomes and calculates your tax reduction based on this sum

By partner or couple, council tax means:

  • Someone, you’re married to (who can also be of the same sex)
  • A civil partner
  • Someone you live with as a civil partner
  • Someone you live with as if you are married to them.

What level of council tax reduction is available for severely mentally impaired people?

Council tax reduction for living with severely mentally impaired (SMI) occupants ranges from a 25%-100% discount on your council tax bill. To be eligible to receive this council tax reduction you will need to provide the following information:

  • A certificate from a certified medical professional saying that the person is severely mentally impaired.
  • Prove that you are qualified for receiving certain disability benefits such as Incapacity Benefit (Short term or long term), Employment and Support Allowance, Attendance Allowance, Disability Living Allowance ( highest or middle rate care component), Personal Independence Payment ( daily living component), Working Tax Credit (Disability Element), Armed Forces Independence Payment, Income Support (with a disability premium) or the Constant Attendance Allowance.

Under the Local Government Finance Act 1992 a person is identified as severely mentally impaired if he or she has suffered long-lasting damage to social or intelligence-related cognitive functions. Such long-lasting mental conditions include:

  • Schizophrenia
  • Alzheimers
  • Dementia

There are 3 types of conditions for getting the severely mentally impaired council tax reduction.

In the first condition if you are living with just one person who is severely mentally impaired and :

  • He or she is the only legal-age adult in the household
  • Other residents of the household can be disregarded

You will be able to claim a 25% discount on your (annual) council tax bill.

In the second condition, if you yourself are severely mentally impaired and other occupants of your property can be “disregarded”, you will be able to claim a 50% discount on your council tax bill.

For being disregarded as occupants of a household in this case you must be one of the following:

  • Aged under 18 years
  • Be registered as a foreign ambassador or a diplomat
  • Foreign language translators registered with the British Council
  • A nursing school student
  • Receiving funding from the Education and Skills funding agency (under 25 years of age)
  • A part of certain specific apprenticeship schemes
  • A care provider for someone other than your spouse or civil partner

In the third condition, you are yourself severely mentally impaired and:

  • All the other adults living on your property are also declared as severely mentally impaired
  • You live alone on your property

In the 3rd mentioned Severely Mentally Impaired situation you are eligible to claim a 100% reduction on your council tax bill.

What is the Armed Forces Tax Rebate?

Members of the British Armed Forces are entitled to a council tax refund for covering military expenses such as the following:

  • Travel expenses for overseas postings
  • Military training before and after mobilisation for duty
  • Expenses to obtain enhancing qualifications such as career courses
  • Expenses on necessary food items.
  • Expenses incurred when posted on temporary military duty
  • Training costs of military courses attended at universities

What information do I need to provide to claim the Armed Forces Tax Rebate?

To claim a refund (Armed Forces Tax Rebate) on your tax from HMRC you need to provide the following information:

  • The names of all the bases you have been deployed at 
  • Your monthly salary receipts
  • Other supporting evidence to your claim of performing these expenses on job-related activities
  • Information about your income and accommodation situation which preferably backs your claim for this refund. It lets HMRC know that you don’t have enough money leftover to bear your personal military expenses.

Can British Armed Forces Personnel claim a council tax refund for their meals?

Yes, British Armed Forces personnel can claim a council tax refund to spend on their meals. Meal expenses are allowed when army members are deployed to a temporary base. Some requirements to keep in mind if you plan to claim this tax rebate include :

  • Keeping receipts of the expenses you incur on meals. For each time you eat at your Mess you need to store and compile records of your bills carefully. It would be quite haphazard and difficult to claim a tax refund on something you don’t have quantifiable evidence of.
  • You can also get copies of your food expense receipts from your administration department
  • For members of the Armed Forces on the Hungry Soldiers Scheme, food expenses are deducted as arrears from their salary.
  • You must consult Rift Tax Refunds for council tax refunds on food expenses for Armed forces personnel

Conclusion

This blog post addressed the question “How To Apply For A Council Tax Reduction?” You must first qualify for the council tax reduction you have applied for and provide evidence of your income and spending before your case can be approved. The kinds of council tax discounts available in your council need to be examined before making your choice.

Please feel free to comment on the content or ask any questions in the comments section below :

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs): How To Apply For A Council Tax Reduction?

Can I be sent to prison for being unable to pay my council tax?

For council taxpayers living in England, after sending Bailiffs to your property for recovering unpaid council tax, your council can apply to the magistrates court to send you to prison. Given that this situation is possible it rarely happens because the court must be thoroughly convinced that you have deliberately concealed your financial situation until the last moment

What is the Disabled Band Reduction Scheme?

The Disabled Band Reduction Scheme moves your property to the next lower council tax band. The Disabled Band Reduction Scheme is designed for homeowners who have a larger property than they would have had if a disabled person wasn’t living with them.

What are reasonable adjustments for workers with disabilities?

Employers have to make adjustments to their working conditions to ensure that workers with mental incapacitation or physical disabilities are not overlooked when being considered for employment. They also must make sure that such workers are not left far behind when performing their work (in terms of productivity).

Such adjustments include:

  • Changes to the recruitment process which ensures that such disabled workers can fill in their personal information forms on a computer ( if the norm is otherwise) and also to permit them to complete a written assessment by using a computer. Other changes can be made to allow wheelchair users to give their job interview on the first floor of the building.
  • Allowing an applicant with a social anxiety disorder to be provided with their personal separate desk instead of “hot desking”. Other similar adjustments may also need to be made to prevent the applicant’s results being influenced by their social disorders.
  • Allowing workers who have acquired a disability to make a phased return to work. This back to work schedule may include flexible work hours or timings and work conditions which account best for their handicap.
  • Changing disabled workers office equipment, such as chairs, keyboards, desks or just simply adding a modification to these items.
  • Providing employees with more training opportunities, recreation events and facilities, 
  • Changes to the disabled employee’s workplace which might include a guide dog for a blind person, a different or specially designed office chair for a wheelchair user and a virtual assistant which types spoken words for someone who suffers from loss of hand function.

Citations

Severe Disablement Allowance

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