Council Tax Reduction
What to do if your income suddenly stops or reduces
We understand this is a difficult and unusual time, and we're committed to supporting you. We've put together the best steps for you to follow if your income has stopped or reduced, and you're worried about your council tax. Please read on.
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:
- Check whether you are entitled to universal credit on the government's website, and if so make an online claim.
- You should also claim council tax reduction from the council using this link.
- 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.
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. To apply complete our online form.
Council Tax reduction
From 1 April 2013 Council Tax Benefit has been replaced by Council Tax Reduction.
For more information visit the Council Tax reduction scheme page.
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.
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.
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.
London Borough of Tower Hamlets
5 Clove Crescent
Telephone: 020 7364 5000
Fax: 020 7364 7048