Council Tax support
Apply for Council Tax Support
Anyone over 18 and liable to pay Council Tax can make a claim for Council Tax Support.
Council Tax Support will be paid from the Monday after we receive the application. If you are working age, your claim could be backdated by up to one month, but you must state your reasons for not applying at the time. If you are pensionable age, your claim could be backdated by up to three months.
Universal Credit does not replace Local Council Tax Support. You still need to contact us to make an application for help towards your Council Tax.
How we work out your Council Tax Support
Council Tax Support is deducted from your Council Tax bill.
If you are of pension age you can get support towards your bill up to a maximum of 100% of your Council Tax. If you are of working age, you can get support up to a maximum of 91.5% of your bill.
To work out Council Tax Support in Gateshead, your weekly income and any capital you have is compared to a standard weekly amount (applicable amount). That amount is made up of elements that take into account whether you are single, part of a couple, disabled and so on. For those of working age, some of your weekly earned income is also ignored, for example £10 a week for a single person (see Principle 2 below).
If your weekly income is below your applicable amount, you will get maximum help with your Council Tax.
If your weekly income is above your applicable amount, support is reduced by 20% of the amount your weekly income exceeds the applicable amount.
Single pensioner example:
Your weekly Council Tax is £20.
The maximum weekly help you can get towards your Council Tax before taking any income into account is £20.
Applicable amount is £100 and your weekly unearned income is £110. As your income is £10 more than your applicable amount, 20% of this is £2.
Council Tax Support = £20 (maximum weekly Council Tax) minus £2 = £18 per week Council Tax Support.
Single working age example:
Your weekly Council Tax is £20.
The maximum weekly help you can get towards your Council Tax before taking any income into account is £18.30 (91.5% of £20).
Applicable amount is £100 and your weekly earned income is £115, but £10 of this is ignored, leaving £105.
Because this is £5 more than your applicable amount of £100, 20% of this is £1.
Council Tax Support = £18.30 (maximum weekly Council Tax) minus £1 = £17.30 per week Council Tax Support.
Please note these figures are illustrative. The amounts can change each year and are contained in the scheme document at the bottom of this page.
We will ask you for the information or evidence we need to work out your reduction.
If you are self-employed, we will base your earnings on your income minus expenses - usually a weekly amount calculated by looking at your income and expenses over a 6-month period. If you are of working age and have been self-employed for more than a year, and your self-employed earnings are below the National Minimum Wage, the weekly figure we will use as your earnings will be the number of hours you say you work each week multiplied by the hourly National Minimum Wage rate.
Principles of the scheme
Gateshead's scheme has 8 principles:
1. Protection will be given to certain groups:
- If you are a pensioner you could receive Council Tax Support up to a maximum of 100% of your bill, depending on your weekly income and other circumstances.
2. The scheme should encourage people to work:
- Part of your weekly earnings after tax, National Insurance and 50% of any contribution towards a pension, are ignored. For those of working age, £10 a week of a single person's earnings and £15 a week of a couple's earnings are ignored.
- For those of pension age, £5 a week of a single person's earnings and £10 a week of a couple's earnings are ignored.
- For a lone parent, £25 a week of any earnings are ignored.
3. Everyone in the household should contribute:
- The amount of support may be reduced when another adult lives in the house who is not the claimant's partner. This is because any other adult should also make a contribution towards the household expenses depending on their income.
- The amount of reduction will depend on the gross income of the other adult.
4. Benefit should not be paid to those with relatively large capital or savings - this is usually the amount of capital or savings you have when you make your claim, though we may ask you to provide up-to-date information from time to time and reassess the amount of help you get if necessary:
- Capital below £6,000 will not be taken into account at all for working-age people; capital below £10,000 will not be taken into account for people of pension age.
- If you have capital over £16,000 you will only get help under the scheme if you get Guarantee Pension Credit.
- The level of support will alter if you have capital between £6,000 (working age)/£10,000 (pension age) and £16,000. This is because for every £250 of capital you have over £6,000 if you are working age, and every £500 of capital over £10,000 if you are pension age, you will be treated as having £1 of income.
5. War pensions are ignored when working out the level of support.
6. There will be a minimum level of support. If you were to get less than £1 a week, your bill would not be reduced. This only applies to people of working age.
7. Child Benefit is not counted.
8. There is the ability to award a discretionary reduction if the council considers someone needs extra support in exceptional circumstances. These will be made on a case-by-case basis, taking into account the particular circumstances of the applicant.
The Council is required to review the scheme annually and has decided to make no changes to the scheme from 01 April 2023. The final scheme for the year commencing 01 April 2023 was determined by the Council in November 2022 and is published below.
Anyone who received Council Tax Support under the 2022/23 scheme will automatically have their entitlement to a reduction under the 2023/24 scheme calculated.
Let us know of any changes to your circumstances. This could include things like changes to your earned or unearned income, capital or family make up.
If you don't tell us, it might mean you are not getting the correct amount of support. If we find out more than a month after the change has happened, and you should have been getting more help, we will only change the amount of Council Tax Support from the date you tell us, so you could lose out.
If you delay telling us and we have been giving you too much Council Tax Support, we will work out how much you should have received based on your new circumstances, from the date the change happened, and send you a revised bill. This could mean you have a large sum of Council Tax to pay. If we have made a mistake and given you too much Council Tax Support, and we think you could not have realised we had done this, we will consider only applying the change from the date we realise.
Our scheme also contains the ability to make a discretionary award of Council Tax Support where there is a genuine need and the customer needs further financial help or there are exceptional circumstances. This is called Discretionary Support. You must apply for this in writing. You must also have made an application for Council Tax Support, even if the outcome of this was that you are not entitled, or are no longer entitled. In considering an award, we take into account things like the availability of other financial help, if health is likely to suffer, if you are able to handle your affairs, if there are children or vulnerable adults in the household, if social factors are involved and any other matters which may be relevant.
To apply, please send your application in writing, clearly headed Council Tax Discretionary Support, to the address below.
If you disagree with a decision we have made about your support, you can challenge this.
Gateshead Council Local Council Tax Support Scheme in full
0191 433 4646