Benefits Owl is a member of          Addventures logo
‘What’s happened to Council Tax Benefit?’

Simple answer: it’s been abolished. Next question…

What’s replaced it? It’s been replaced by something called Council Tax Support (also called Council Tax Reduction).

The big problem with Council Tax Support is that it’s not provided by part of the Department of Work and Pensions, like the Jobcentre Plus or the Pension Service. It’s provided by your local authority (your local council). There’s a number of reasons why this is a problem:

If you’re old enough to get Pension Credit, the good news is that if you would be entitled to full Council Tax Benefit over pension age, you will still be entitled to full Council Tax Support.

If you’re of working age, you will probably have to pay a proportion of your Council Tax even if you’re getting Income Support, income based Employment and Support Allowance, or income based Jobseeker's Allowance. The proportion you will have to pay varies from council to council: some councils ask you to contribute as little as 8.5%, at the other end some councils ask for more than 30%: this is outrageous.

Even if you’re of working age you may still get all your Council Tax paid: some councils will pay 100% if you’re a single parent of a child under 5, others if you are getting extra income based benefit if you’re severely disabled, others if you get a War Pension. But there’s no way to tell which applies to you without contacting your own local authority.

There are lots of other options available to councils: they can, for instance, take more of people’s savings into account, reduce the amount of income they ignore, or reduce the support they give to higher banded properties.

How can you challenge a Council Tax Support decision?

As with all other benefits, you can’t normally challenge a Council Tax Support just because you believe the rules are unfair. All you can do is argue that the rules in your council haven’t been correctly applied to you.

There seems to be two ways to do this, depending on the circumstances:

In either case you should normally write first to the local authority to ask them to look at their decision again. If they don’t change their decision: