From 1st April 2019 St Albans Council has introduced a new Council Tax Support scheme for residents in receipt of Universal Credit.

Introduction

Council Tax Support is the way that the Council helps residents on a low income to pay their Council Tax. It is the responsibility of every Council in England to devise their own Council Tax Support scheme. Below are details of the changes to our scheme.

Since April 2013 Local Authorities have had to devise their own Council Tax Support Scheme to help people on a low income pay their Council Tax. St Albans Council made the decision to make their Council Tax Support Scheme the same as the old Council Tax Benefit Scheme.  This means residents can receive a discount of up to 100% of the Council Tax charge for the property.

 

Part of the Government’s Welfare Reform Programme is the introduction of Universal Credit. Universal Credit is designed to support customers to increase their income by working more hours and earning a higher salary. Universal Credit decreases and increases every month depending on how much the customer earns from their employment. The Government tells the Council every time a person on Universal Credit has a change in income. Under our previous scheme this meant that we had to change a person’s Council Tax Support every time there was a change. This change can be as small as a few pence per week. Every change meant that the Council had to work out how much Council Tax Support a customer should receive every month. That customer was then sent a new Council Tax Bill. We thought this was confusing for claimants so following a period of consultation we have changed our Council Tax Support scheme.



The New Council Tax Support Scheme

Below gives details of St Albans Council Tax Reduction Scheme for 2019/20 for people claiming Council Tax Support who also receive Universal Credit. This does not apply to Pensioners and people of working age who do not claim Universal Credit, their entitlement will continue to be calculated on the original default scheme.

 

Our scheme looks purely at whether a Universal Credit claimant is working and if so, what their net monthly earnings are. We will receive this information directly from the Department for Work and Pensions.  Our scheme has a series of 'income bands' and we will work out a claimant's entitlement to Council Tax Support based on what band their earned income falls within. A banded scheme means that small changes in a claimant's income will not necessarily change their entitlement to Council Tax Support. 


The bands are:

Universal Credit Claimant (and partner, where applicable)

Not in work or earning less than £284.99 per month

Contribution towards Council Tax - £0 per month.

Earning between £285 and £574 per month.

Contribution towards Council Tax - £35 per month.

Earning between £574 and £1099 per month

Contribution towards Council Tax - £75 per month

Earning between £1099 and £1749 per month

Contribution towards Council Tax - £115 per month.

Earning between £1749 and £2250 per month

Contribution towards Council Tax - £175 per month

Earning between £2250 and £2750 per month.

Contribution towards Council Tax - £225 per month.

Earning over £2750 per month

No entitlement to Council Tax Support.


Our scheme will only look at a claimant's earned income. We ignore any Universal Credit or any other income which the claimant receives. 

We think that the advantages of this scheme are:


  • Gives stability to those whose wages fluctuate by a small amount each month.
  • People who are receiving Universal Credit but not working or only earning a small amount will receive a full discount (subject to any non-dependent deductions)
  • Less complex and easier for applicants to understand.
  • Allows claimants to earn more money without it necessarily increasing Council Tax payments.
  • Will be simpler to administer and may allow the Local Authority to make savings in administration costs. 

Below is a copy of our Council Tax Support scheme for 2019/20

Date of last review: 04 April 2019