Local Council Tax Support - Entitlement

Frequently Asked Questions for this Service

Question: What evidence do I need to provide with my application for Local Council Tax Support?

Answer: If you complete your application on-line you will be provided with a checklist at the end of the application process informing you of any evidence that is required. If you download and complete a manual application form a checklist is included at the end of the application form. In general we may need to see evidence of identity, evidence of capital, savings and investments for both you and your partner if you have one, and proof of your rent. - Related Link

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Question: Under the Council Tax Support Scheme will I be worse off if I return to work?

Answer: Local Council Tax support is means tested and the amount you receive will depend on your income, savings and household. Council Tax Support has a number of work incentives built into the scheme to try to ensure that entering work pays.



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Question: Why has backdating been reduced to 1 month under the Council Tax Support Scheme?

Answer: From April 2016 Central Government will be reducing the period for backdating Housing benefit claims to 4 weeks. The Council Tax Reduction Scheme will therefore align with the changes made to Housing benefit from April 2016.

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Question: Why have I been overpaid benefit and what is the amount owing?

Answer: An overpayment is an amount of benefit which has been paid to you but to which there is no entitlement under the relevant rules. Overpayment of benefit can occur both in Housing Benefit and Local Council Tax Support.

Overpayments can occur due to many different factors. A typical reason is when your income increases for a past period which then reduces the level of Benefit awarded.

It is important that change in circumstances are reported as soon as possible and no longer than one calendar month to avoid any unnecessary overpayment occurring.

A letter detailing the period of overpayment, the amount overpaid and the reason for the overpayment will have been provided to you to explain this. The letter also provides you with your dispute and appeal rights. - Related Link

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Question: When will my new claim or change in circumstance be processed?

Answer: On receipt of all the required information and evidence being provided to the office to support your claim, a benefit decision should be made within 14 days.

The quicker information is provided by the claimant, the sooner the benefit can be considered.

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Question: Why have I received a visit request asking me to contact the office to rearrange the visit?

Answer: The Benefits Service are required to review benefit claims periodically. This may involve a visit to a claimants address to run through and check that information held on their benefit claim remains correct.

Where a visit is unsuccessful and the visit cannot be re-arranged, this could lead to the benefit being suspended, which may affect a persons ability to pay their rent and or Council Tax.

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Question: Where can I get assistance with completing an on-line benefit application?

Answer: Initially we would ask you to seek assistance from a relative, friend, neighbour, landlord or support worker if you have one. Assistance may also be provided by some welfare agencies by prior appointment.

Where this is not possible, you may need to visit Newport or Ryde Help Centre where some guidance can be provided with the use of the self-service application form. - Related Link

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Question: Can you explain the benefit decision notice calculation sheet that I have received?

Answer: The notice letters that you have received usually contain a decision notice and a statement of reason. This must be checked to ensure that the information used in the assessment is correct and any discrepancies notified to the office.

The contents of the letter will confirm the amount of benefit awarded, the start date, the financial details, any capital, non-dependant deductions, appropriate rent level and or council tax liability used to make an assessment and the 'applicable amount' (to reflect the basic living needs of the claimant and family as set by the government).

The regulations used to determine a benefit award can be quite complex and varied depending on an individuals circumstances. If you are unsure or require clarification on how an award has been made, in the first instance you may need to speak to the Benefit team who will try to assist you.

Information about the calculation of Housing Benefits and Local Council Tax Support is available from the web link below. - Related Link

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Question: How will the removal of the family premium affect my claim for Local Council Tax Support?

Answer: The family premium is part of the calculation of a claim, and is awarded when a claimant has at least one child or dependant in their property.

This premium is no longer included in the assessment of a claim and you may have seen a reduction in the amount of support you received. This change will not affect claimants on Universal Credit, Income Support, Employment and Support Allowance (income-related) or Jobseekers Allowance (Income-based).

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Question: Why has the family premium been removed?

Answer: The removal of the Family Premium from May 2016 will bring the Council Tax reduction scheme in line with the changes in Housing Benefit announced by Central Government. New claims to Housing Benefit and Local Council Tax Support will no longer include the family premium in the calculation.

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Question: I have over £6,000 in savings will I be entitled to Local Council Tax Support?

Answer: If you or your partner has over £6,000 in savings you will not be entitled to Local Council Tax Support unless you are in receipt of Pension Credits (Guaranteed Credit), however you may still be entitled to Housing Benefit if you have under £16,000 in savings.

This change only affects working age claimants who are not in receipt of Income Support, Jobseekers Allowance (income-based) and Employment Support Allowance (income-related).

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Question: Is Second Adult Rebate the same as single person discount?

Answer: No.
A single person discount applies to a council tax payer if there is only one occupant in the home, they will be eligible for a discount.

Second Adult Rebate is only available to pensionable age customers and is awarded when the claimant has a second adult in his or her home who is on a low income. You will need to apply for Second Adult Rebate by clicking the link below for an assessment to be made.
- Related Link

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Question: I am moving address soon, what do I do?

Answer: You will need to inform the Benefits Service as soon as possible. You can contact the service to inform them of your new address by emailing housing.benefit@iow.gov.uk however you will also need to complete the change of address form available on the web link below. You will also be required to supply proof of your tenancy agreement for your new address if you wish to claim further Housing Benefit.

- Related Link

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Question: I have been overpaid benefit, how can I repay this?

Answer:
Overpayments of Local Council Tax Support are transferred onto your Council Tax account and will then be included in your future instalments.

You can make payment using a debit card by visiting the council's 'Do it online' web page or by phoning the payment line on 0845 045 0076.



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Question: I have Local Council Tax Support pending, do I have to pay my rent and/or Council Tax bill?

Answer: Yes, you will need to continue to pay your rent and/or Council Tax bill as there is no guarantee that benefit will be awarded. If you have concerns over your ability to pay, it is important that you discuss with your landlord and council tax department as soon as possible. - Related Link

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Question: My circumstances have not changed so why do I now have to pay Council Tax?

Answer: Blanket protection has been replaced by a new targeted support scheme; therefore some customers now receive less council tax support.

The targeted Exceptional Hardship Scheme has been introduced to provide support to those who need it the most. Claimants will need to complete an “Exceptional Hardship Form” and applications will be assessed on individual circumstances and a customer’s ability to pay their council Tax. - Related Link

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Question: Can I appeal against the amount of Local Council Tax Support I have been given?

Answer: If you think the decision is wrong, please visit the related link to find details on how to dispute and appeal against the Local Council Tax Support decision.



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Question: I am self-employed, how will the changes to the Council Tax Reduction Scheme affect me?

Answer: If you are self-employed a minimum income floor has been introduced to align Council Tax support and Universal Credit. The minimum income floor is in line with the UK minimum living wage of 35 hours per week totalling £274.05 per week. This would not apply for a start-up period of one year from the date of the start of the business. Therefore if you are self-employed and continue to run a business where your income is below the minimum living wage level the council will assume you earn £274.05 per week regardless of the amount of hours you usually work.

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Question: Will there be a scheme similar to the Discretionary Housing Payment (DHP) fund available if I am unable to afford the amount I now have to pay?

Answer: An Exceptional Hardship Fund (EHF) has been created by the Council to assist applicants for Council Tax Reduction who
are facing ‘exceptional hardship’. The fund has been created to provide further assistance where an applicant is in
receipt of Council Tax Reduction but the level of support being paid by the Council does not meet their full Council Tax
liability.


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Question: Who is protected from the changes and why?

Answer: Claimants of pensionable age are protected as vulnerable under the Government's default scheme. The changes to Local Council Tax Support for 2018 will align the LCTS scheme with national welfare reform changes to Housing Benefit.

Please see the Local Council Tax Support Consultation for 2018.
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Question: What is the Local Council Tax Support scheme?

Answer: The Local Council Tax support scheme compares the income of a claimant to a level of need for them and any family. However, the starting point for the calculation of any help is normally based on 70 per cent of the liability for those of working age and 100 per cent if of pensionable age. Anyone on a low income including those on DWP benefits can apply to see if they qualify. For those with a liability of Band D or above the starting point for the calculation will be based on 70% of the liability for a Band C property in that area.

Those of working age with over £6,000 in savings will not normally be entitled unless they are on Income Support, Jobseekers Allowance (Income based), Employment and Support Allowance (Income Related)

Those of pensionable age with over £16,000 in savings are not normally entitled unless they are on Pension Credit guarantee credit.

Please see the Local Council Tax Support Scheme. - Related Link

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Question: Why have I been charged a penalty of £70?

Answer: Penalties of up to £70 may be imposed by the authority where changes are notified outside of the 21 day period to notify the authority of a change in circumstances.
To report a change in circumstances please email the Benefits Service at housing.benefit@iow.gov.uk or write to the Revenues and Benefits Services, PO Box 238, Newport, PO30 9FP.



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Question: If someone moves in with me and they are over 18 years of age, will this affect my claim?

Answer: In most cases yes this will have an affect on your claim. Depending on who this is and the relationship to the claimant, it could increase the number of bedrooms required for your needs, your personal allowances or a non-dependant deduction may be applied.

The Benefits office will require the full name of the person moving in, their date of birth, income, and their relationship to you. These details will need to be advised immediately in writing to ensure the correct level of benefit is awarded and to avoid any overpayment of benefit that will need to be repaid. Please email the Benefit Service at housing.benefit@iow.gov.uk or write to Revenues and Benefits Services, PO BOX 238, Newport, PO30 9FP .

Please see below link for further information - Related Link

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Question: Will Universal Credit affect me if I am of Pension Credit age?

Answer: If you are of pension credit age and do not have a partner OR you and your partner are both of pension credit age, you are not required to claim Universal Credit.

If you are working age and your partner is of pension credit age, you will need to check with the Department of Works and Pensions to see if you are eligible to claim Universal Credit.

If you are unsure when you will reach pension credit age you can check this online via the related link.
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Question: What is Universal Credit?

Answer: Universal Credit is a new benefit for working age customers that brings together six of the existing “legacy benefits” to simplify the benefits system and help ensure people are better off in work. Universal Credit is paid as a single monthly payment direct to the customer.

The six “legacy” benefits are Income Support, Jobseekers Allowance, Employment and Support Allowance, Working and Child Tax Credit and Housing Benefit. This does not include Local Council Tax Support – if you wish to make a claim for this, please apply online by clicking on the link below:

Once your local Jobcentre is under Full Service, you will have to apply for Universal Credit unless you fall into an exception (see ‘Who is excluded from claiming Universal Credit) and will be awarded by the Department of Works and Pensions. If you are working age (under pension credit age), depending on your circumstances, you will not be able to claim one of the six “legacy benefits” listed above and instead will need to apply for Universal Credit.
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Question: I have had a change in my circumstances, what do I do?

Answer: If you are currently receiving Housing Benefit and/or Local Council Tax Support and the circumstances for yourself or anyone else living with you change, you must tell the councils Benefit Office immediately as it may affect the amount of benefit you are entitled to. You can report a change in your circumstance through our Customer Porter, or by writing to the Revenues and Benefits Services, PO BOX 238, Newport, PO30 9FP.

You must tell them within one month of the change and you must provide proof of the change.

You may be required to complete a change in circumstance application form which can be found on our website following the link below.
- Related Link

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Question: How do I claim Housing Benefit and or Local Council Tax Support?

Answer: If you are exempt from Universal Credit you can apply for Housing Benefit to help with the payment of your Rent. You will need to make a claim for Local Council Tax Support regardless of whether you receive Universal Credit.

You can make a claim for Housing Benefit or Local Council Tax Support through our Customer Portal from the link below.

- Related Link

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Question: What do I do if I have completed my application for Local Council Tax Support but do not have all the evidence I have been asked to supply?

Answer: If you cannot send the evidence we need straightaway, please ensure that you submit the online application form immediately and let us know you will be sending some evidence later. If you do not submit the form straightaway, you might lose money. We can start to process your claim, but we will not be able to pay you any benefit until we have all the evidence.

Ideally we would encourage claimants to provide any supporting evidence within 24 - 48 hours of submitting their claim to avoid any delays in assessing their benefit award and making payment. Where this is not possible you will need to contact the Benefit Service to advise them and to seek further advice.

Please see link below for a list of documents you may be required to supply to support your claim. - Related Link

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Question: How do I get help with my Council Tax if I receive Universal Credit?

Answer: Help towards your Council Tax, called Local Council Tax Support is still awarded by the Isle of Wight Council.

You will need to make an online application for Local Council Tax Support using the related link, alongside your application for Universal Credit.
Please make your claim at the earliest possible point. - Related Link

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Question: When will I be affected by Universal Credit?

Answer: Universal Credit is now in full service on the Isle of Wight. Therefore, if you are making a new claim or if you have a change in your circumstances that mean you would need to make a new claim to one of the six “legacy” benefits (Income Support, Jobseekers Allowance, Employment and Support Allowance, Working and Child Tax Credit and Housing Benefit) you will instead need to claim Universal Credit (unless you are excluded from claiming Universal Credit). For more information please see the Governments website link below.
- Related Link

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Question: How do I apply for Universal Credit?

Answer: You need to claim Universal Credit through the Department for Works & Pension online application. If you have been advised that you are not eligible to claim for Universal Credit at this time, you will need to make a new claim for Housing Benefit at www.iow.gov.uk/housingbenefitonline/ - Related Link

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Question: Am I entitled to Housing Benefit and or Local Council Tax Support?

Answer: Universal Credit is a new type of financial support provided by the Department for Work and Pensions, for people of working age who are looking for work or on a low income. Most people will no longer need to claim Housing Benefit because they can claim Universal Credit. Before you make your claim for Universal Credit, please check if any of the exceptions mean that you should still claim Housing Benefit from the link below. If you are exempt from Universal Credit you can apply for Housing Benefit to help with the payment of your Rent. You will need to make a claim for Local Council Tax Support regardless of whether you receive Universal Credit. The amount of benefit/support you may be entitled to is calculated by looking at how much money you have coming in, your personal circumstances, how much rent and/or Council Tax you have to pay, and the amount of savings you have. For Housing Benefit if you have more than £16,000 in savings we cannot usually pay you any benefit. For Local Council Tax Support if you have more than £6,000 in savings we cannot usually pay you any benefit.

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Question: Who is excluded from claiming Universal Credit?

Answer: You cannot make a new claim to Housing Benefit unless you meet one of the following conditions –

• If you are a resident in supported exempt accommodation or you have been placed in temporary accommodation by the Isle of Wight Council's Homelessness team you must inform Universal
Credit of this and make a claim for Housing Benefit with Isle of Wight Council.
• If you have reached State Pension Credit age.
• You are part of a couple where one of you has reached State Pension Credit age .
• You are receiving Contribution-based Jobseeker's Allowance with no Universal Credit top up.
• You are receiving Contribution-related Employment and Support Allowance with no Universal Credit top up.
• If you are receiving the severe disability premium as part of your Jobseekers Allowance income-based, Employment and Support income-related or Income Support - Related Link

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Question: Why is the Council consulting on changes to the scheme?

Answer: The Council is consulting on proposed changes to the scheme due to the impact Universal Credit is having on the recovery of council tax. The Department for Work and Pensions send the Council Universal Credit entitlement updates on a monthly basis. This means that entitlement to Local Council Tax Support could change council tax instalments each month, making it difficult for customers to budget on a fixed income.

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Question: What is the Council proposing for the LCTS consultation 2020/21?

Answer: The Council is proposing three different options to change the current LCTS scheme. This would involve moving to a simplified scheme, making it easier to administer and easier for customers to understand.
Details of the proposals can be found in the consultation document at the following link below: - Related Link

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Question: How can I take part in the LCTS consultation 2020/21?

Answer: The link to the consultation document and survey can be found on our website link below If you require a paper survey, please contact the Benefits office on 01983 823950 who will issue one by post. The consultation is running from 10 June 2019 to 5 August 2019. - Related Link

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Question: How can I pay my council tax?

Answer: There are a number of ways in which you can pay your council tax.

• Direct Debit is the easiest method of payment; you can set or amend a Direct Debit on your account via the Citizens Access Portal. There is now an option to pay over 12 months instead of 10 (dependent on when in the financial year the request is received). To request this you can complete an on-line form via iwight.com, or complete a notification on the Citizens Portal.
• You can take your bill to any Paypoint outlet or Post Office, where the barcode on the bill can be scanned and the necessary payment made.
• You can also pay on line at iwight.com, or via the 24 hour telephone automated payment system on 0345 0450076. The payment line is open seven days a week
Please Note : There is no additional charge for using the 0845 number. Only your (landline or mobile) network service provider charges may apply - Related Link

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