BENEFITS EXPERT: People asking about any help to assist with rising fuel bills
We are starting to get a number of queries concerning government help to assist with the increase in fuel and other costs of living increases, in particular the £150 payment from local authorities for council tax.
Please note the guidance from the government as well as how individual local authorities will implement this is still to be published.
Initially it appeared the payment would simply be applied as a credit to 2022/23 council tax, similar to Covid payments for previous council tax years.
However, it now appears that this will actually be a £150 one-off payment.
For those persons currently paying their council tax via direct debit no action will be required as your council will be able to apply the payment via a DD refund.
However, there will be people who might make payments in other ways such as cash payments, cheques, etc. Council tax payers are being encourage to start DD payments if they don’t pay this way to make refunds easier. For those who don’t wish to or can’t other refund/payment methods will be considered.
However, at the time of writing there is little information and processes will vary from local authority to local authority.
Another issue that is unclear is some people won’t actually be liable for council tax, they could for example receive 100% Council Tax Support (again the maximum support can vary), they could be exempt due to being a student for example. Again it is currently not clear if the £150 payment will apply to people in such a situation.
The final category where again the issue is currently unclear is the status of client’s who may pay council tax on more than one property, for example a second home awaiting a buyer.
Again such properties may enjoy a reduction in council tax, sometimes landlords may elect to pay council tax and not the tenant, this is common for houses in multiple occupation such as bedsit type properties. Will payments be restricted to one payer or will multiple payments be made based on the number of properties?
Currently this is unclear, we would expect the guidance to be issued in time for the next council tax financial year i.e. April 2022 to April 2023.