Council Tax Support (CTS) started 1 April 2013. It replaced Council Tax Benefit (CTB), which stopped on 31 March 2013. If you were receiving CTB and still qualified for CTS, your claim was automatically continued as a CTS award.

We will usually work out whether you will be better off getting main Council Tax Support(CTS) or Second Adult Reduction (2AR).This is called the better buy calculation.

On this page

Working out main Council Tax Support

If you have a Council Tax liability you can claim CTS. If you qualify under the rules of our local CTS scheme, you can get either maximum CTS or partial CTS depending on your income, capital and any appropriate non dependant deductions.

Maximum Council Tax Support

If you make an application for CTS and receive:

  • Income Support; or
  • Income related Employment and Support Allowance, or
  • Income based Job Seekers Allowance, or
  • Guaranteed element of Pension Credit; or

your income is less than the amount the Government say they need to live on (see applicable amount), you are entitled to maximum CTS. Usually, this is 100% of your Council Tax net of any discounts or disabled relief with any appropriate non dependant deductions.

Merton froze the main element of Council Tax and the Greater London Authority slightly reduced their element for April 2016. This means that your eligible Council Tax slightly reduced compared to the previous years. This would reduce your maximum CTS award too, but this could still be up to 100% of your Council Tax net of any discounts or disabled relief.

Partial Council Tax Support

To qualify for main CTS, when we compare your income and that of any partner, in the case of couples, against your total applicable amount. Any excess income above your applicable amount will reduce your maximum award by £0.20 for every £1.00 excess i.e. a 20% taper. We then make deductions for non dependants where applicable. You must be left with at least £0.01 per week minimum CTS to qualify.

Applicable amount - The applicable amount is the amount we say a claimant needs to live on to cover housing costs. For our local CTS scheme, we have used the same amounts as applicable amount for Housing Benefit claims, unless you are awarded Universal Credit. We set these applicable amounts every year starting from 1 April under our local CTS scheme. The applicable amount is made up personal allowances, child allowances and premiums depending on your family circumstances and any disabilities.

Income - we take into account all your income and that of your partner, if you have one. There are some types of income we can disregard partially or in full. Income includes all earnings and benefits. We also take account of assumed (tariff) income from any savings above £6,000 if you are working age and £10,000 for pensioners.

Capital- you can have up to £16,000 capital and still qualify for CTS. Above this regardless of how low your income is, you will not qualify. There is no capital limit for Pension Credit. If you get the guarantee element of Pension Credit, we ignore your capital and income. If you get the savings credit only element of Pension Credit, the Pension Service send details to us about your capital. There is a capital limit of £16,000 then.

The calculation

As the starting point of the calculation, we use the full Council Tax charge less deductions for single person discount and any disabled relief. Whatever is left is the eligible council tax.

The applicable amount is taken away from the income. From the figure that is left an applicant is expected to pay 20% of this towards their eligible Council Tax. The lowest amount a person could qualify for is £0.01 per week council tax benefit.

There are also deductions for non dependants under CTS.


Mark claims CTS from 1 April 2014. His full Council Tax is £20 per week. He gets a single person discount of 25%, reducing his eligible Council Tax to £15.00 per week. This is the maximum CTS Mark can get. He does not have any non-dependants living with him.

Mark has total income of £82.40 per week. His applicable amount is £72.40 per week. There are no disregards off his income. His net income exceeds his applicable amount by £10.00 per week.

Using the 20% taper his maximum CTB is reduced by £2.00 (£10.00 excess x 20%).

Mark's CTS entitlement is £15.00 per week minus £2.00 = £13.00 per week.

Universal Credit CTS calculation

If you are entitled to Universal Credit, which is paid calendar monthly, your applicable amount is your maximum Universal Credit amount multiplied by 12 divided by 52 weeks. Then your earned and unearned income less any work allowances and disregards plus your actual Universal Credit award all determined by the DWP is compared to your applicable amount (your maximum Universal Credit amount). If your total income is less then you will receive maximum CTS. If it is more then the 20% taper is applied, which will reduce the maximum CTS award by 20 pence for every £1 excess income.

Non dependant deductions for CTS

Non dependant deductions for working age claimants from 1 April 2016 are based on the Department for Communities and Local Government prescribed rates for April 2016 that were set for pensioners. They have slightly increased. Below is a table of what the main deductions are:

Category of non dependant Amount of deduction per week for April 2016 to March 2017
Under 18 and not in remunerative work £0.00
Aged 18 or over not on Income Support/income based JSA/income related ESA/Pension Credit for example on contribution based JSA £3.77
Aged under 25 on Income Support/income based JSA/income related ESA assessment phase £0.00
Aged under 25 on income related ESA main phase £3.77
Aged 25 or over on Income Support/income based JSA/income related ESA £0.00
On assessment phase of ESA £0.00
On main phase ESA £3.77
Aged under 25 on Universal Credit and no earned income £0.00
Aged 25 or more on Universal Credit £0.00
In remunerative work which means working 16 hours per week or more See below
Gross income £420.00 per week or more £11.45
Gross income between £338.00 and £419.99 per week £9.56
Gross income between £195.00 and £337.99 per week £7.58
Gross income between £133.00 and £194.99 per week £3.77
Gross income less than £133.00 per week £3.77

Second adult reduction

Second adult rebate is for people who are liable for council tax, but who cannot get the single person discount reduction of 25%, because they have one or more adults living with them. It is the income and capital of the other adult(s) that is taken into account in the calculation, not the claimant's. Rates of reduction are dependent on their circumstances or gross income as follows:

Reduction rates for second adults for April 2016 to March 2017

  • 100% for students where the other adult(s) are on Income Support or income based Jobseeker's Allowance or Pension Credit.
  • 25% where other adult(s) are getting Income Support, income based Jobseekers Allowance or income related Employment and Support Allowance.
  • 15% where other adult(s) have a combined gross income below £193.00 per week.
  • 7.5% where other adult(s) have a combined gross income is between £193.00 and £249.99 per week.
  • 0% where other adult(s) have a combined gross income of £250.00 per week or more.

See also

Contact us

For more details go to our contact page.

Telephone: 020 8274 4903
Fax: 020 8545 3960