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From 1 April 2013, the government made changes to the administration of Council Tax Benefit as part of its welfare reforms. Local councils are now fully responsible for setting and administering the new Council Tax Reduction Schemes. The Council Tax Reduction Scheme in Preston is called Council Tax Support.
Everyone who was previously awarded Council Tax Benefit has been moved onto the new scheme. All working age people have to pay a minimum of 20% towards their Council Tax bill. The government states that pensioners must be protected; this means they will not have to pay more.
Anyone who has to pay Council Tax can apply. However Council Tax Support is there to help people on low income to pay their Council Tax bill. It is assessed by looking at your:
You will not be entitled to Council Tax Support if:
Once the above has been looked at it will be decided how much, if any, your Council Tax bill will be reduced by. If you are of working age you will pay at least 20% of your Council Tax bill. If you are entitled to Council Tax Support this figure will show as a deduction on your Council Tax bill.
Find out more from our page on How your benefit is calculated. You can find out if you may entitled by using our Benefits calculator.
In order to make a claim you need to fill out an application form. Listed below are the various different ways in which you can complete an application form.
You can download the benefit application form from the documents section on this page. You can complete the form online but please note that you will need to print off and sign the form before you send it to us. Once you have completed and signed your application form please return it to the address at the bottom of the page.
You can also request a form to be posted to you by completing the Housing Benefit and Council Tax Support form request.
We need certain information and evidence from you to process your claim as quickly as possible. See our page on Information and evidence needed for Housing and Council Tax Support claims to find out more.
Your application will be processed as soon as possible. You can help to speed up your application by making sure you supply all the right information. To find out what you will need to supply see our page on Information and evidence needed for Housing and Council Tax Support claims.
Yes – you can ask for your Council Tax Support claim to be backdated but it is not guaranteed. The decision is made based on information you provide and your personal circumstances. See the Backdated benefit page for more information. If you do want to make a request this must be in writing or by completing the 'backdate request form' which can be found on the above page.
You can also discuss your backdate request by telephoning the Contact Centre on 01772 906903.
After your claim has been assessed you will receive a letter explaining the information we have used to work out the amount of Council Tax Support. If you think the information used is incorrect you can speak to one of our Customer Service Advisors by telephoning 01772 906903, or you can make an appointment to see an advisor at the Contact Centre.
You can appeal to us against the amount of Council Tax you have to pay for either of the reasons below
See the Benefit appeals page for more information.
If you have any changes to your income or savings, members within the household or move address you must inform us promptly of this so that your claim can be updated and the correct Council Tax Support amount awarded.
See the Change in circumstances page for more information.
You must contact us straight away. We may be able to reduce your instalments and give you longer to pay. In certain circumstances we could make arrangements for you to pay your instalments weekly or fortnightly.
An Exceptional hardship fund has been set up by us for those in need of assistance with paying their Council Tax. The fund is intended to help in cases of extreme hardship only. We recognise the importance of protecting our most vulnerable customers and the impact these changes will have and will attempt to protect and support those most in need.
Other discounts and exemptions are not affected by this scheme. See the full list of exemptions and discounts on our Council tax discounts exemptions and reductions page.
If you need any help or advice you can speak to one of our Customer Service Advisors by telephoning 01772 906903, or you can make an appointment to see an advisor at the Contact Centre.
In addition to this our Welfare Benefits and Debt Advice team provide a free and confidential drop in or appointment service offering in-depth advice on welfare benefits and debt.
If you require help with something in this section, please contact us.
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