COUNCIL tax bills will be reduced by £150 each for millions of hard-up Brits thanks to the council tax hardship fund.
On March 24, ministers revealed that working-age people who get council tax support will be able to get an extra helping hand with their bill because of the coronavirus crisis.
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The government expects the fund to support 2.3million vulnerable Brits by slashing their council tax bills.
Yet, that is not the only help the British public can get, with some councils allowing payment holidays to the most in need.
Do I get a council tax reduction due to coronavirus?
The council tax hardship fund, which is worth £500million, was announced by Chancellor Rishi Sunak in the Budget in March.
It provides council tax relief to vulnerable people and households to help those affected most by coronavirus.
Councils will also be able to use the funding to provide extra support to vulnerable people through other support arrangements such as Local Welfare Schemes.
Around 30 per cent of councils are also offering payment holidays for struggling Brits.
Meanwhile, others have said they are allowing the council tax to be paid over 12 months, rather than the normal 10 – which sees each cost reduced a little.
Birmingham, Chemsford, Rutland, Shropshire and Wiltshire councils are among those offering residents until June to pay for their first instalment, while Derby is giving customers until May and Cheshire and Ealing have said they will allow deferrals up until July.
Ealing is extending the deferral period for a further three months for self-employed residents.
Am I eligible?
The hardship fund is available to Brits of working age who receive council tax support, also known as a council tax reduction.
This a benefit to help people who are on a low income or claiming certain benefits to pay their council tax bill.
Each local council is responsible for operating their own council tax support scheme so the amounts of support given across the country may vary.
The amount of council tax support you will get depends on many factors, including:
- Which benefits you receive
- Your age
- Your income
- Your savings
- Who you live with
- How much council tax you pay
- You may get more Council Tax Support if you receive a disability or carers benefit
If you receive the Guarantee Credit Part of Pension Credit you may even get your council tax paid in full.
If you don’t get Guarantee Credit but you have a low income and less than £16,000 in savings, you may still get some help.
Pensioners still need to pay council tax, but may get a discount if they live alone, or depending on their situation be entitled to council tax support.
For all other payment reductions and schemes put in place due to coronavirus, it is best to enquire with your local council to see what you are entitled to.
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How do I apply?
If you're eligible for the hardship fund for the 2020/2021 tax year, you should get a new council tax bill in the coming weeks.
Or if you have a bill of less than £150, you likely won't pay council tax at all.
Should you not receive a revised bill, it's worth contacting your council to ask whether you're eligible.
Or if you're not yet receiving council tax support, you'll need to apply for this too.
To apply, simply go to the GOV.UK website, put in your postcode and follow the instructions.
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