14 January 2013
Plan to Cope with Tax Benefit Changes
Council and Citizens Advice Bureau advise to plan ahead for new scheme
With 1 April fast approaching Rochford District Council along with the Rochford and Rayleigh Citizens Advice Bureau have joined together to urge working age residents who currently receive Council Tax Benefit (CTB) to start their financial planning for the new Local Council Tax Scheme now.
The Council will be contacting everyone affected by the changes in January and offering them advice and further help, including access to advice on financial planning to ensure that those affected are ready for the changes.
Pensioners are exempt from the scheme and therefore protected from any reduction to their benefit payments.
The main points of the new LCTS scheme are:
· People living in properties whose Council Tax band is E, F, G or H will have their LCTS restricted to the maximum amount payable for a band D property.
· Regardless of their financial circumstances, every working-age claimant will pay the first 20% of their council tax liability. This means people who currently get full CTB will have to pay something towards their council tax from 1 April 2013.
· The savings limit for claiming LCTS will be £6,000 (the limit for CTB at present is £16,000)
· Child maintenance is currently disregarded in full when we calculate CTB. Some people receive up to £1,000 per month which doesn’t get included in the CTB assessment. This disregard will stop and we will take child maintenance into account as income when we calculate entitlement to LCTS.
· Currently we reduce CTB for working-age people if an adult friend or relative lives with them (non-dependants). We want to try and ease some of the financial pressure as well as try to reduce homelessness and under-occupation of houses. Therefore we will stop making non-dependant deductions when we calculate entitlement to LCTS.
· Second Adult Rebate can be granted to single people who have a high income if they share their home with someone who is on a low income (not their partner). This scheme will be stopped for working-age claims.
Rochford District Council’s Portfolio Holder for Council Tax Collection, Benefits and Strategic Housing Functions, Councillor Malcolm Maddocks said: “We can’t stress enough how important it is for all residents who will be affected by the new scheme to look at their finances and plan ahead. The Council are working hard with our partners at the CAB to ensure that everyone affected will have the opportunity to receive financial advice to help them budget for the changes.”
The District Manager of the Citizens Advice Bureau, Sue Murray, added: “The CAB always advocates that people, regardless of their circumstances, are financially prepared. Our trained advisors are on hand to offer free, independent face-to-face and telephone advice and are trained to help those who will be affected by these changes when they get in touch. You can contact us by phone on 0844 477 0808 or visit our website at www.adviceguide.org.uk.”