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Council Tax Support scheme

Council Tax Support (CTS) is a reduction to a council tax bill and can be awarded to people on low incomes. It replaced Council Tax Benefit from 1 April 2013.

New scheme from 1 April 2017

A new Council Tax Support Scheme comes into force from 1 April 2017.

Many of the working age applicable amounts have been frozen at the April 2016 levels in line with the Housing Benefit Scheme, but pensioner applicable amounts have increased by 2.5%. Changes have been made to reduce the time limit for temporary absences outside Great Britain down from 13 weeks to 4 weeks which aligns with Housing Benefit rules. There is limited discretion to grant up to 8 weeks for The backdating limit for working age claimants has now been reduced from six months down to one month which again aligns with Housing Benefit rules.

There are three other factors that affect the award of CTS from 1 April 2016:

  • the level of the Merton Council Tax charge to be set in early March 2017
  • the level of the GLA precept for 2017-2018
  • if you have non-dependants living in your household, the deductions will be increasing slightly

On this page

Updating Merton’s Council Tax Support Scheme for 2017/18

Each year Merton has to consider whether its local Council Tax Support scheme requires updating. Merton has made a commitment to continue awards of Council Tax Support at a rate equivalent to the old Council Tax Benefit had that benefit continued. This principle is based on mirroring changes made to the Government prescribed Council Tax reduction scheme for pensioners and the Housing Benefit scheme. However, several changes are required to the existing scheme to achieve this from 2017/18.

We have identified 2 options we have consulted on and we are in the process of analysing the feedback we have had on these options.

For more details of the options chosen and the effects of these options please see our briefing paper on Updating Council Tax Support 2017/18.

Council Tax Support Scheme April 2017

The full CTS scheme rules come into force on 1 April 2017. They will be valid for one year until 31 March 2018. They are all the rules that we will use to decide Council Tax Support claims for that period.

Council Tax Support Scheme April 2016

The full CTS scheme rules come into force on 1 April 2016. They will be valid for one year until 31 March 2017. They are all the rules that we will use to decide Council Tax Support claims for that period.

Council Tax Support Scheme April 2015

The full CTS scheme rules below comes into force on 1 April 2015. They will be valid for one year until 31 March 2016. They are all the rules that we will use to decide Council Tax Support claims for that period.

Council Tax Support Scheme April 2014

The full CTS scheme rules below comes into force on 1 April 2014. They will be valid for one year until 31 March 2015. They are all the rules that we will use to decide Council Tax Support claims for that period.

Council Tax Support Scheme April 2013

The full CTS scheme rules below came into force on 1 April 2013. They will be valid for one year until 31 March 2014. They are all the rules that we will use to decide Council Tax Support claims.

Main Council Tax Support

The amount of CTS depends on the amount of Council Tax you pay, the number of people who live with you and the income and savings you have.

   A successful claimant will either get "maximum" CTS or "partial" CTS depending on their income.

See our Calculating Council Tax Support page for more information about how we work this out.

If you want to apply for Council Tax Support - see our Claiming Council Tax Support page for further information.

Once you have claimed CTS you need to remember to report changes of circumstances. See our Reporting changes for Council Tax Support page.

Second adult reduction

Second adult reduction is also known as alternative maximum council tax support. This is available to claim if your income is too high to get the main CTS but you have other adults living with you who have low incomes or are full time students. Other adults do not include your partner or spouse, joint tenants or your landlord.

If you apply for main Council Tax Support, we also work out whether you would be better off getting main Council Tax Support based on your income or second adult reduction based on the income of the other adults living with you. This is known as the "better buy" calculation.

Second adult reduction gives a reduction to your Council Tax bill depending on the income of the other adults.

Example

A Council Tax payer has an income of £50,000 per year and does not qualify for main CTS. He does however, have a brother living with him who is not liable for the Council Tax. The brother works and earns £150 per week. Under second adult reduction the tax payer could get 15% reduction on his maximum Council Tax.

See our Working out Council Tax Support  page for more information about how we work this out.

Couples and commercial tenants are not eligible to claim second adult reduction. If you want to apply for second adult reduction see our Claiming Council Tax Support page for further information.

Discretionary Council Tax Reduction

Our Local CTS scheme includes a provision for us to consider a discretionary Council Tax Reduction. This could be in exceptional cases where you have some exceptional circumstances that your main CTS award or Second Adult Reduction is still insufficient to cover your Council Tax liability. Even if you did not qualify for CTS you can apply, but wait until you have had your CTS claim decided first. Below is our Merton policy for

If you still feel there is a genuine need, complete the form below.

See also

Related websites

Contact us

For more details go to our contact page.

Email: housing.benefits@merton.gov.uk
Telephone: 020 8274 4903
Fax: 020 8545 3960

This page was last updated on Tuesday 31 January 2017

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