Draft Council Tax Support Scheme Consultation. The consultation period has now ended. The results are available to view in our Consultation Diary.
You can make a claim for financial help towards your council tax if you are on a low income and have to pay council tax. Up until the 31 March 2013 you will need to make a claim for Council Tax Benefit. From the 31 March 2013 Council Tax Benefit is replaced by Council Tax Reduction scheme. If you already claim Council Tax benefit you will not need to make a new claim as we will use the details about you income that we already hold.
If you are making a claim after 1 April 2013 you will need to make a claim for Council Tax Reduction. Please see our Council Tax Reduction Scheme for more details.
These are some quick links to frequently asked questions.
- I am over pension age. Are there any different rules for me?
- What is a change in circumstance?
- Can I claim Financial help towards Council Tax?
- How is Financial help towards Council Tax worked out?
- How can I apply for Financial help towards Council Tax ?
- What do I need to provide with my claim form?
- When will Financial help towards Council Tax start?
- How is my Financial help paid?
- What can I do if I don't agree with the amount I am awarded?
- Is there any other help I can claim for?
- What should I do if there is a change in my circumstances?
- I get Financial help towards my Council Tax and am starting work. Are there any different rules that apply to me?
- I am moving within Wealden's area. Do I have to reapply for Financial help towards Council Tax?
- When will my award be reviewed?
Yes, if you or your partner are liable for Council Tax. By partner, we mean someone to whom you are married or you and your partner are an unmarried couple.
Council Tax Benefit (up until the 31 March 2013) and Council Tax Reduction is based on the money you (and your partner) have coming in, your savings, the number and ages of people in your household and how much Council Tax you pay.
Deductions are made from your income for income tax, National Insurance and half of any pension you pay into.
If you pay for childcare (from a registered childcare provider), this can be disregarded up to a maximum amount, depending on the number of children being cared for. Some state benefits are disregarded in full.
If you have more than £16,000 in savings, you will not qualify for benefit unless you are over pension age and you receive Guarantee Pension Credit. The property you live in does not count as savings.
You can find out how much you could claim by using our Entitlement Calculator (external link).
Students do not usually qualify for financial help towards council tax but there are exceptions. Contact the Benefits Service for more information.
You will need to complete an application form and provide documentation to support your claim.
Or contact us directly using the contact details listed below, or any of the following:
- Citizen's Advice Bureau in Hailsham, Uckfield, Crowborough or Tunbridge Wells
- InfoPoint, 1 Market Square, Hailsham
- Anchor Staying Put, 32/33 Vicarage Fields, Hailsham
- Pevensey Bay and District Information and Caring Centre, Sea Road, Pevensey Bay
- Carrillon Cottage, High Street, Wadhurst
- Heathfield Parish Council, 92 High Street, Heathfield
- Forest Row Parish Council, The Forest Row Community Centre, Hartfield Road, Forest Row
- Maresfield Parish Council, Parish Office, Churchfields, Nutley
- East Hoathly with Halland Parish Council, c/o The Post Office, 2 High St.,East Hoathly.
You will need to provide proof of your and your partner's income and savings. You will also have to provide one form of identity for yourself and your partner. You will also have to provide proof of your National Insurance Number(s). Anything you send us should be an original document.
If you are self-employed and don't have certified accounts, you can download an Income from Self Employment form (pdf) which you can complete and send back to us with your application form.
When you have made your claim, we will write to you if we need more information.
Awards will usually start from the Monday after we receive your application or the date that you first contact us to say you want to claim.
There are circumstances when we may 'backdate' your award.
If you would like us to consider a request for award to be backdated, you need to show that there was a good reason as to why you did not apply earlier.
This is an example of a "good reason" to backdate an award: You were seriously ill at the time you should have claimed and you claimed as soon as you were better. There was no-one else to help you claim.
This is an example that is not a "good reason" to backdate an award: You did not claim because you did not think you would qualify.
We will deal with each case individually and when we let you know our decision, we will tell you what to do if you disagree with it. There is a section in the application form for you to complete if you would like us to consider backdating your award.
Financial help towards Council Tax is awarded in advance and is credited to your council tax account. If an award puts your account in credit, we will usually refund this money to you.
Firstly, if you think we have worked out your benefit incorrectly or you disagree with the figures we have used, you can ask us to look at your claim again. When we tell you how much benefit you are awarded, we will give you more information about how to do this.
If you still disagree with your award prior to 31 March 2013, you can appeal against our decision and this will be heard by an independent tribunal called The Tribunals Service (external link).
You can also request that your award is backdated if you disagree with the date we have made the award from. There are strict guidelines about this and you will need to show that you have good cause as to why you did not apply earlier.
If, after you have been awarded benefit, you are finding it difficult to meet your rent or council tax payments prior to 31 March 2013, you can apply for a Discretionary Housing Payment (pdf). You will have to provide details of your income and all of your outgoings together with any information that you think would be relevant, for example details about any health problems you have. If you would like more information about Discretionary Housing Payments please look at our Discretionary Housing Payments Policy (word).
You must contact the Benefits Service and tell us about the change. We may ask for more information or proof of the change in order that your award is worked out correctly. Any delay in notifying us could result in too much being awarded, which means you may have less time to pay the Council Tax that you owe.
You can tell us about a change in your circumstance by completing our Change in Your Circumstances form.
I get Financial help towards Council Tax and am starting work. Are there any different rules that apply to me?
If you come off Income Support, income-based Jobseekers Allowance or Guarantee Pension Credit you no longer have to reapply for Housing Benefit or Financial help towards Council Tax. Instead, we will reassess your award based on your new earnings.
You will have to write to us and send us proof of these earnings (5 weekly payslips or 2 monthly payslips) together with proof of any Tax Credits that you have claimed. If you don't have any proof of your earnings you can ask your employer to write to tell us how much you will be earning. You can find out more about Tax Credits on the Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (external link).
You will also need to tell us if there have been any other changes in your circumstances.
No. You only need to tell us the date that you moved into your new home and about any changes to your income, savings or the people who live with you. We may send you a short form.
In the past we had to review your claim at least once a year but we don't have to do that now. Instead each year we will choose some claims to review. These will be those claims where there is most likely to have been a change in circumstances.
This means that it is even more important for you to tell us when something has changed as we cannot promise to review your claim each year.