Council Tax Benefit
If you're in a low paid job and don't have many savings, you could qualify for help with paying your council tax bills.
Changes to council tax benefit
Council tax benefit in England will become the responsibility of local councils from April 2013. To find out what you can claim, contact your local council.
What is council tax benefit?
Council tax benefit (or rebate) pays part or all of your council tax. To qualify you have to be on a low income and have savings below a certain limit. The maximum benefit you could get is 100% of your council tax bill, although you may receive less. Your local council pays it, although you will only receive a payment if you've already paid your council tax bill. If you haven't, you'll simply get a discount off your current bill. It doesn't matter if you get other benefits or if you already get a discount for living alone.
Who can get council tax benefit?
Your local authority will make the decision about whether or not you qualify based on your personal circumstances.
Remember to tell your benefits advisor if your circumstances change - for example if you get a pay rise, new job or get married. If you don't you could face a £50 fine as well as having to pay back any extra benefit. See GOV.UK for more information.
The rules around whether or not students have to pay council tax are complicated. If you live in halls of residence or in a shared house where everyone else is a full-time student, you shouldn't get a council tax bill. If there are other non-students in the house, you should get a reduction depending on the number of students who are there.
Students should get a Council Tax exemption certificate when they enrol at their university. They must also phone their council and let them know that they are exempt from paying.
You may be able to fill in a short form known as a 'rapid reclaim' if you've made a claim for Income Support, Incapacity Benefit or income-based Jobseeker's Allowance within the last 26 weeks, which should mean your claim is processed quicker.
You must also be claiming the same benefit again and your circumstances must not have changed since your last claim.
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