Council Tax Reduction

Help for those on a lower incomes or claiming welfare benefits  

We understand this is a difficult and unusual time, and we're committed to supporting you. We've put together help for you. It's available if your income has stopped or reduced, or you're having trouble paying council tax this year.

If you currently receive housing benefit and/or local council tax reduction

If you do not currently receive housing benefit and/or local council tax reduction:

  1. Check whether you are entitled to universal credit on the government's website, and if so make an online claim
  2. Check if you maybe entitled to other welfare benefits including Council Tax Reduction via the government website
  3. Check if you could be eligible for our Local Council Tax Reduction Scheme and make a claim.
  4. If you are not eligible for universal credit you can claim both housing benefit and council tax reduction from the council using a single application form.

If you're worried about money, check the advice and support we have available.

Council Tax reduction

This is a Household Means Tested support scheme, supporting residents on welfare benefits or a low income. For more information visit the Council Tax reduction scheme page. 

Council Tax Cost of Living Relief Fund

If you live in Tower Hamlets and have a household income that is less than £49,500 you might be eligible for the Council Tax Cost of Living Relief Fund.

Council Tax Reduction claims

Claiming through the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP)

If you make a claim for one of the following benefits you can claim council tax benefit at the same time through the Department for Work and Pensions:

  • Income Support
  • Employment and Support Allowance
  • Jobseeker's Allowance
  • Pension Credit
  • Universal Credit

By claiming at the same time you may not have to provide the same information to different offices and can avoid completing a claim form. 

You can use a single application form to apply for both Council Tax Benefit and Council Tax Reduction.

Your Council Tax Reduction will be reduced if you have other Adults living with you

There will be important changes for people getting Council Tax Reduction who have adults, other than their partner, living with them. Adults who live with a person claiming Housing or Council Tax Benefit are known as “non dependants”.

Deductions are usually made from a claimant’s Local Council Tax Reduction if non dependants live with them.

Separate deductions are applied to both Housing and Council Tax Benefit. The amount deducted depends on the non dependant’s income.

The non dependant deductions to be currently applied to Council Tax Benefit are available in the table

Changes to Council Tax Reduction
Non-dependants circumstancesWorking age claimants from April 2022

Aged over 18 (All Income) 


Gross Income less than £195 


Gross Income between £195 and £281.99 


Gross income between £282 and £370.49


Gross Income of £370.50 and above 

Local Council Tax Reduction is not awarded, where any Non dependant has income at this level 


Pension Age Claimants from April 2022

Aged over 18 and in Remunerative work 


Gross income less than £224, or working less than 16 hours per week (or on Maternity Leave or sick leave) 


Gross income between £224 and £388.99


Gross income between £389 and £483.99


Gross income above £484


There is no deduction for non dependants when the claimant or their partner is either:

  • registered blind or
  • gets attendance allowance or the care component of Disability Living Allowance for themselves or their partner

If you require any information on these changes and how they affect your Housing and Council Tax Benefit you can call Tower Hamlets Benefits Service direct on 020 7364 7453 or email us at

Who can claim?

Generally only people who are liable to pay council tax or their partner can claim council tax reduction. They must be occupying the property at which they are claiming as their home.

Where someone is unable to act for themselves and has an appointee, the appointee can make the claim instead.

Some examples of people who can claim council tax reduction are:

  • owner occupiers (and people paying a mortgage on their home)
  • council tenants and tenants of Poplar HARCA, Tower Hamlets Community Housing and East End Homes
  • housing association tenants (also called registered social landlord tenants)
  • tenants living in privately-rent accommodation (this includes, for example, accommodation let through an estate agent)

In examples above, the tenants will normally also be liable for council tax.


The benefit rules exclude some people from entitlement to council tax reduction, even when they have a low income and are liable for council tax. If you are excluded we will write to you and tell you why.

Information and evidence needed

Because council tax reduction- is a means tested benefit, Tower Hamlets benefits service needs to know about all your income and savings, the income and savings of your partner and in some cases the income and savings of other people who live in your household. Examples of the information and evidence needed are provided on the claim form.

You do not have to provide evidence of your council tax liability as we can check who is liable for council tax at your address and the amount charged.

We need evidence of your income and savings in order to deal with your claim correctly and promptly. You should aim to provide the evidence within a few days of making your claim whenever possible. 

Contact us

We operate as a centralised benefit claims processing service and a dedicated benefits call centre both based at the Town Hall where all postal, email and telephone enquiries should be directed. Home visits can be arranged if you are housebound and do not have anyone who can help you.

Benefits Service

Tower Hamlets Town Hall
160 Whitechapel Road
E1 1BJ

Telephone: 020 7364 5000
Fax: 020 7364 7048


Exceptional Financial hardship

If you are experiencing exceptional financial hardship we may be able to reduce the amount of council tax you have to pay under Section 13a of the Local Government Finance Act 1992. This is a discretionary reduction and will be decided on a case by case basis.

Start Council Tax 13a application

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