Universal Credit UK: Claimants could get Council Tax discount – how to apply straight away
Universal Credit is a payment which is intended to help with living costs, and it may be that a person can get it if they’re on a low income or out of work. With the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic affecting millions of people across the UK financially, the number of claims have surged.
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The payment itself – paid monthly, or twice a month for some in Scotland – is made up of a standard allowance, as well as additional amounts which may be available, depending on circumstances.
Universal Credit replaces Child Tax Credit, Housing Benefit, Income Support, income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA), income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA), Working Tax Credit.
In addition to the payment, it may be that Universal Credit recipients can also get other forms of financial support, and this will depend on circumstances.
They may be able to get help with housing costs and bills.
This includes a reduction in Council Tax.
The government website explains: “If you receive Universal Credit you may have to pay less in Council Tax, but you will need to apply for that separately.
“You can start the process to apply for Council Tax Reduction on GOV.UK.”
The guidance adds that it’s possible to apply for this discount straight away, and it’s not necessary to wait for the Universal Credit claim approval or the payment itself.
“You can apply for a Council Tax Reduction straight away – you do not need to wait until your claim for Universal Credit has been approved or paid,” the website states.
Under the Council Tax Reduction scheme, a person’s bill could be reduced by up to 100 percent.
The individuals must apply to their local council for Council Tax Reduction, and this is sometimes called Council Tax Support.
It’s possible to enter the postcode online via the “Apply for Council Tax Reduction” section of the government website, and this tool matches the postcode with the relevant council.
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Users can then click through to the specific council’s website, in order to apply.
The Council Tax Reduction scheme is not available in Northern Ireland, where there’s a different scheme.
“You could be eligible if you’re on a low income or claim benefits,” Gov.uk says of Council Tax Reduction.
People can apply if they own their home, rent, are unemployed or working.
There are some factors which affect what a person gets.
It depends on:
- Where a person lives, as each council runs its own scheme
- Their circumstances, for example income, number of children, benefits, and residency status
- Household income, including savings, pensions and a partner’s income
- If children live with them
- If other adults live with them.
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