Council tax benefit/reduction entitlement
Start of entitlement
This is determined by your date of claim. For new claims entitlement normally starts from the first Monday after your claim is received by Tower Hamlets Benefits Service. It is therefore important not to delay making a claim.
If you request a claim form by telephone, email or personal visit to any of the council's One Stop Shops and subsequently complete and return that form to the Benefits Service or the One Stop Shop within one calendar month, your claim will be treated as being made on the date of your initial request.
If you claim council tax benefit (either direct to the council or through the Department for Work and Pensions) within one month of claiming Income Support, income-based Jobseeker's Allowance, income-related Employment and Support Allowance or Pension Guarantee Credit, the date you are awarded either one of those benefits will be treated as your date of claim.
If you are 60 or over and claim council tax benefit it may be possible to treat your claim as being made up to 13 weeks before the date of claim but only if you would have otherwise been entitled and had reached the age of 60.
End of entitlement
Entitlement will continue until there is a change of circumstances that means entitlement must end. For example an increase in your income could mean that you no longer qualify for any benefit, an increase in your savings to more than £16,000 will mean you are excluded from entitlement. If you stop being liable for council tax your council tax benefit must also end.
How is council tax benefit/reduction paid?
Council tax benefit is shown as a rebate on your council tax bill reducing the amount you have to pay.
Although council tax benefit is calculated using weekly amounts it is awarded for the remainder of the current financial year.
How much council tax benefit/reduction will I receive?
This will depend on how much your weekly council tax liability is, your income, your applicable amount and whether there are any other people (whom we call non-dependants) living with you. If you share the liability for council tax with someone who is not your partner any entitlement will be based upon your share only.
The maximum amount that any claimant could get help with is 100% of the council tax charge. However, not everyone can get this much help because of the other factors that have to be taken into account.
We work out a notional amount of income that the claimant might be able to claim from the Department for Work and Pensions if he or she had no income whatsoever. This notional amount is called an applicable amount.
For council tax benefit purposes non-dependants are other adults (over the age of 18) living with the claimant for example relatives. This does not include the partner of the claimant (unless you are separated) or any joint owners/joint tenants with the claimant.
Extended payments are intended to help people claiming benefits get back into full time work after a period of unemployment, incapacity or reduced hours of employment or reduced earnings.
How much are they?
They are an extra four weeks council tax benefit paid at the same rate as you were getting before income support, income-based jobseeker's allowance, or employment and support allowance ended or before incapacity benefit or severe disablement allowance ended. They start from the Monday after those benefits ended.
How to claim extended payments
Telephone 020 736 5001 or email the Benefits Service and tell them that you want to claim an extended payment and how long your job/increased hours/increased pay is expected to last.
The benefits service will check to see if you meet the conditions and let you know.
You will need to tell us about starting work and if your entitlement to other benefits ends straight away.
Everyone who claims council tax benefit has a duty to tell the Tower Hamlets Benefits Service about any changes to their circumstances or anyone who lives with them, if those changes could affect the amount of benefit awarded.
Download a claim form for housing benefit and council tax benefit.
How to contact us
Tower Hamlets operates 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
London E14 2BG
Tel: 020 7364 5001
Fax: 020 7364 7048
Personal callers should visit their nearest One Stop Shop to hand in claim forms, obtain receipts and have original evidence photocopied.