Summary of changes from 1 April 2017
This page lists the changes to the Council Tax Support Scheme from 1 April 2017. The full details of our scheme are also published on our website.
The changes will affect the amount of help that working age people can get towards their council tax. The changes will not affect people of pension age.
The minimum amount that applicants will need to pay towards their council tax charge will increase from 18.5% to 20%
Currently the local scheme adopted by this Council calculates the support an applicant is entitled to and then, if they are working age, reduces their entitlement by 18.5%. From 1st April 2017, this amount is increasing to 20%.
There will be a minimum level of income for self-employed applicants after two years of self-employment
There will be a minimum level of income used for self-employed applicants after two years of self-employment. The minimum level of income will be the same as the National Living wage for 35 hours worked per week. If you earn more than this we will use your actual earned income. The two exemptions to this are lone parents with at least one child under 5 years old and/or where carer's allowance is being received.
This means that if you have been receiving council tax support as a self-employed person for two years or more, we will use a minimum level of income to work out how much council tax support you can get from 1 April 2017, even if you earn less than this level of income.
The Family Premium will be removed from the council tax support calculation
The Family Premium reflects the extra needs that an applicant with children has (currently assumed to be £17.45 a week). It has previously been used to work out how much housing benefit and council tax support someone can get.
From April 2017, we will no longer include the Family Premium in calculating council tax support for new applicants. This is in line with changes already made to housing benefit.
This means that if you are an applicant who has previously received the Family Premium and you stop claiming council tax support, then make a new application on or after 1 April 2017; the Family Premium will not be included in your new calculation for council tax support.
Backdating of new claims will be limited to one month
Currently, applications for council tax support can be backdated for up to six months where a working age applicant shows they could not apply at an earlier time. From 1 April 2017, we will reduce the period that council tax support can be backdated to one month for working age applicants. This is in line with changes already made to housing benefit.
This means that if you make a new application for council tax support on or after 1 April 2017 and you show that you couldn't apply at an earlier time; your application will only be backdated for a maximum of one month.
The amount of time someone can be away from Great Britain and continue to get council tax support will be reduced to four weeks
The length of time for which you can continue to get council tax support whilst away from home depends on the reason why you are away. Under the current scheme, applicants can be temporarily away from their homes without it affecting their council tax support. From 1 April 2017, if a person is away from Great Britain for a period of more than four weeks, their council tax support will stop (there will be some exceptions to this). This is in line with changes already made to housing benefit.
This means that from 1 April 2017, it is likely that your council tax support will stop if you are away from Great Britain for more than four weeks.
The work-related component of Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) will be removed from the council tax support calculation
From April 2017 all new applicants of Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) who fall within the Work Related Activity Group will no longer receive the component in either their ESA or within the calculation of their council tax support. This is in line with changes to housing benefit.
This means that if you are a new council tax support applicant and you get Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) with the work-related component, we will not use this component to work out your council tax support from April 2017.
The number of dependent children included in the calculation for Council Tax Support will be limited to two
Under the current scheme, the number of children an applicant has is taken into account when working out how much help they can get.
From April 2017, the rules for council tax support are changing and any children born after April 2017, where the customer already has two or more children, will not be taken into account in the calculation of their council tax support. This is in line with changes to housing benefit.
There will be exceptions where there are multiple births after 1 April 2017 (and the household is not already at their maximum of two children within the calculation) or adopted children or where households merge.
This means that if you make a new application for council tax support after 1 April 2017, the number of dependent children that will be included in your calculation will be limited to two. This will also apply if you stop claiming council tax support and then make a new application after 1 April 2017.