Council Tax Reduction and Housing Benefit

On 1 April 2013, Council Tax Benefit was abolished and replaced with a new Council Tax Reduction Scheme across all local authorities in Scotland.

For the first 2 years, the new Council Tax Reduction Scheme will be broadly the same as the Council Tax Benefit scheme. This means there shouldn't be disruption for claimants, providing their circumstances don't change, but the council will contact you to let you know of any changes.

Our staff can offer a range of benefit checks, advice and information. To find out the various ways you can contact us please visit the Council Tax Reduction and Housing Benefit -  contact us page.

Information on Welfare Reform Benefit changes is now available.

Annual survey

Within the Operational Services section of the Department of Finance and Corporate Services we are constantly looking at ways to improve the service we provide to you. To help us, we conduct an annual customer satisfaction survey.  The results of our 2013/14 survey are shown in the document below. 

Results of 2013/14 Council Tax Reduction and Housing Benefit annual survey (pdf)

You will need Adobe Acrobat Reader to view this document. Download Adobe Reader here.

If you have any questions, please contact us using one of the following methods:

 


What is Council Tax Reduction ?

We pay Council Tax Reduction to people on a low income to help with the cost of Council Tax. To qualify, it doesn't matter whether you own or rent your home, but the address you are claiming reduction for must be the main one you live at.

There are two main types of Council Tax Reduction, and you can only be given one of them. Either:

  1. Main Council Tax Reduction: this is based on the circumstances of the person or people in the property who are liable for the Council Tax bill.
  2. Second Adult Rebate: this is based on the circumstances of the person in the property who have low incomes but are not liable for the Council Tax.

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What is Housing Benefit?

Housing benefit helps people on low incomes with the cost of their rent. It is only available to tenants and not home owners. Both private tenants and local authority tenants can claim it.

The benefit awarded is intended to help with the cost of your rent, but not with living costs such as food and heating. We can pay some or all of your rent, but we cannot meet all the services costs your landlord might charge.

There are two main types:

  • Rent allowance: claim this if you are renting from a private landlord or housing association
  • Rent rebate: claim this is you are renting from Renfrewshire council

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Do I qualify to claim Housing Benefit/Council Tax Reduction ?

To claim Housing Benefit, you must:

  • live in the property you are claiming for
  • be charged rent for this property

To claim Council Tax Reduction, you must:

  • be liable to pay the Council Tax for the property, if not you can't claim this reduction
  • you must live in the property you are applying for
  • From 2 November 2009, Child Benefit payments will not be counted as weekly income when you apply for Council Tax Reduction and Housing Benefit. This means that you could now be entitled to help with your rent and/or Council Tax, even if you have not qualified in the past.

The GOV.UK website has benefit calculators you can use to find out what help you can get, how to make a claim and how your benefit will be affected if you start work. This service is free to use and anonymous. 

Please note that the calculator gives an estimate of your entitlement to benefit, if you wish to apply, you must complete the correct application form, supply the relevant proof and go through the application process in full. 

Please note if you are living with a partner you only need to make one claim between you, which you both need to sign.


How do I claim Housing Benefit/Council Tax Reduction? 

If you claim Income Support, Employment Support Allowance, Jobseeker's Allowance or Pension Credit, you can claim Housing Benefit at the same time. Your Jobcentre Plus office/Pension Service office will forward us your claim form. We will contact you directly if we need further details.

If you don't claim any of these benefits, you can pick up an application form from your local council office.
Alternatively, you can print out one of the attached application forms, complete it and return it to us at Renfrewshire House. The full address is listed on page 4 of the forms.

Council Tax Reduction and Housing Benefit application form

Council Tax Reduction application form

These forms may take some time to open due to their large file size (approx 190kb).

You need Adobe Acrobat Reader to view these documents. Download Acrobat Reader here.

We can visit you at home if you are housebound or if you cannot come to our offices because you are infirm or disabled.

We need to see some documents when you apply, you have up to one month after you make your claim to get them to us. We have to see original documents, not copies. If you don't provide us with the information required we may not be able to pay you any benefit.

We will need the same proof for your partner, if you have one, and for any other adults living in your home.  Examples of this include:

  • proof of your identity (and your partner's, if you have one)
  • proof of your national insurance number (and your partner's, if you have one)
  • proof of residency (utility bill to show where you live)
  • proof of all income
  • proof of all bank/building society accounts (if you have capital over £5,500 and are working age or £10,000 if you are of pension age
  • proof of all savings and/or investments (if you have capital over £5,500 and are of working age or £10,000 if you are pension age)
  • proof of all other persons who live with you and their income
  • proof of your rent (lease agreement and current rent for Housing Benefit and local housing allowance)    


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Where can I get further help and advice ?

See our contact us page for more information on how/where to contact us for further information and advice.

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What do I do if my circumstances change?

It is very important you tell us about any changes in your circumstances - please let us know in writing within one month of the change. Alternatively, you can print out the attached form, complete it and return it to us at Renfrewshire House, the full address is listed on page 4 of the form.

Change of Circumstance form

This form may take some time to open due to the large file size (197kb)

You need Adobe Acrobat Reader to view this document. Download Acrobat Reader here.

Changes that we need to know about include:

  • you or anyone you live with has started or stopped working
  • you or anyone you live with has had a change in income
  • anyone has moved in or out of your household (including the birth of a baby)
  • a change to the rent you have to pay
  • you or anyone you live with has started or stopped getting Income Support, Employment Support Allowance, Jobseeker's Allowance or Pension Credits
  • an increase in your capital

If you don't let us know about changes like these, you may miss out on benefits you are entitled to, or we may end up overpaying you. If we find this has happened, you may have to pay the money back.

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Backdating your Benefit claim

We can backdate your benefit claim for up to 6 months for working age customers or three months for pension age customers, from the date we receive your written request.

You must show you had good reason for not making your claim sooner and the reason existed for the whole period until we received your written request.

You can find out more details about backdating your benefit by following the Backdating Benefit page.

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Appealing against our decision about your Housing Benefit/Council Tax reduction

If you don't understand how we have decided your claim or application, you can ask us to explain it to you, and if you disagree with our decision you can ask us to look at it again. If you are still not happy after we have done this, you can appeal. Find out how to appeal by following the How to appeal page.

Help us eliminate fraud

Renfrewshire Council is committed to reducing fraud and have a dedicated team who investigate this. More detailed information on this and how to report suspected fraud is available on this site. 
 
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Wednesday, October 1, 2014