Council Tax Reduction Scheme (for people on a low income)

The Council Tax Benefit scheme has been abolished by the Government from April 2013, and all councils have had to replace it with their own local Council Tax Reduction Scheme. The new scheme started on April 1, 2013.

The Council Tax Reduction Scheme reduces the amount of Council Tax that a person has to pay where they are on a low income. The scheme applies a means test to determine if any person is entitled to a reduction.

The Government has stated that under the new local Council Tax Reduction Schemes, there can be no changes for pensioner claimants. However, non-pensioner claimants will have to pay more Council Tax.

You are classed as a pensioner if you have reached the qualifying age for Pension Credit (or if you are a couple and one of you has reached the qualifying age for Pension Credit).  Between 6th April 2010 and 5th November 2018, the qualifying age for Pension Credit is increasing gradually from 60 to 65 in line with the state pension age for women.  You can get more details about this on the Government's website.

However, if one of you is in receipt of one of the following benefits you will not be classed as being a pensioner, regardless of you or your partner’s actual age, for the purposes of calculating Council Tax Reduction:

  • Income Support
  • Jobseekers Allowance
  • Employment Support Allowance
  • Universal Credit

If you are not classed as a pensioner, you are classed as being of working age.

2018-19 Council Tax Reduction Scheme

Sefton Council has decided to continue with the 2017-18 Council Tax Reduction Scheme in 2018-19 subject to some minor technical changes to align it more with Housing Benefit and Universal Credit rules and to make the scheme easier and less costly to administer for the Council.
The changes made are summarised

  • To have fixed income periods for assessments relating to customers who are working for an employer and claiming Universal Credit.
  • To have a minimum set income for certain self-employed applicants after one year of self-employment.
  • To change the rules about claiming a reduction during temporary absence from Great Britain.
  • To ensure that the new Bereavement support payments don’t affect the amount of reduction a person receives.
  • To ensure that payments from the We Love Manchester Fund and London Emergencies Trust do not affect the amount of reduction a person receives.

Please note that the changes do not affect customers who have reached the qualifying age for Pension Credit, who continue to have their Council Tax Reduction calculated on rules set by the Government.

In March 2018, there were around 14,000 working age residents in the borough who claim help with their Council Tax through the scheme.