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Universal Credit claimants should apply for Council Tax discount straight away

Those who are claiming Universal Credit should apply for a reduction to Council Tax straight away to avoid additional charges new Government guidance has stated.
With Universal Credit claimants in Cornwall alone doubling between April-December 2020, an…

Those who are claiming Universal Credit should apply for a reduction to Council Tax straight away to avoid additional charges new Government guidance has stated. With Universal Credit claimants in Cornwall alone doubling between April-December 2020, and increasing across the UK, the Government has issued new advice for people who are claiming for the first time because of the Covid-19 pandemic. As well as the regular payments from Universal Credit, claimants can also apply for Local Council Tax Reduction (CTR) - something those on low or no income are often eligible for.

As the name suggests, CTR is a discount to Council Tax which can be up to a 100 per cent reduction. Government advice states: "You may be able to get help from your local authority with your Council Tax if you are on a low income or claim benefits, including Universal Credit. "The help you will get depends on where you live, your circumstances, your household income - including savings and pensions, if any children or adults live with you and your local council's own Council Tax reduction scheme."

However, the Government suggests people apply as soon as possible because a lot of local authorities do not backdate payments. This means if you have already paid - you will not be able to claim back money that has already left your account. You can stay up-to-date on the top news near you with CornwallLive's FREE newsletters - find out more about our range of daily and weekly bulletins and sign up here or enter your email address at the top of the page.

Between March 13, 2020 and January 14, 2021, 4.5 million claims for the benefit were made, official Government statistics show. Nationally, as of January 14, 2021, 6.0 million people were on Universal Credit - a 98 percent increase since March 12, 2020. A person needs to apply to their local council for CTR - something which is sometimes called Council Tax Support.

As well as CTR, here are other pieces of support which you might be entitled to:

  • BT Basic (or KCOM Flex Packages for the East Riding or Hull City Council local authority areas) if they have no income

  • A Cold Weather Payment

  • Disabled Facilities Grants

  • Discretionary Housing Payments if the Universal Credit payment is not enough to pay their rent

  • Energy Company Obligation (ECO) Affordable Warmth

  • A reduction in their Council Tax

  • WaterSure to cap their bills if they have a water meter".

People can apply even if they own their own home or rent, or if they are unemployed or working. What a person gets will depend on:

  • Where the person lives - each council runs its own scheme

  • Their circumstances (eg income, number of children, benefits, residency status)

  • Their household income - including savings, pensions and their partner's income

  • If their children live with them

  • If other adults live with them.

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