If you or your partner is on a low income, you may be entitled to a reduction in the amount of council tax that you need to pay. For pensioners, support will be very similar to Council Tax Benefit but if you are working age you will have to pay at least 20% of your bill.
How to apply
If you think you may be entitled to a reduction in your Council Tax, you need to complete an on-line application form by clicking on the link. The application is in two parts. The first is a calculator which can give you an idea of what you may be entitled to and the second part allows you to make a claim.
If you are elderly or have mobility problems we can arrange to visit you in your own home. Please contact us on 0151 443 4042 to arrange a visit.
Council Tax Hardship Fund
In March 2020, the Government announced additional support for Working Age residents qualifying for support under the local Council Tax Reduction Scheme.
This means that every household in receipt of Working Age Council Tax Reduction will receive a further discount of £150 or if after any other discounts/reductions their Council Tax liability is less than £150 an amount to reduce their bill to nil. There is no need to make a claim for this additional discount, it will be calculated automatically and you will receive a new bill to show the remaining balance on your account and any revised instalments.
If you have not claimed a reduction but you are in receipt of benefit, have recently lost your job or are on a low income it is important that you claim a Council Tax Reduction as soon as possible.
Severe cold weather payments
If you're on a low income, a Cold Weather Payment may be available to help you for each week of very cold weather in your area. Find out more at gov.uk
We have produced a number of advice leaflets. If you prefer to read them in hard copy, please contact us.
Council tax reduction FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)
1. Can I claim council tax reduction?
You can claim council tax reduction if you are liable to pay council tax for the property that you live at. The amount that you can claim is based on your family circumstances and income and capital for you and your partner if you have one.
2. What is second adult rebate?
Second Adult Rebate is only available under the national scheme for pensioners. It is not available under Knowsley’s Scheme for working age people.
Second Adult Rebate is based on the income and circumstances of other adults (not including your partner) who live in your household. You may qualify for Second Adult Rebate if you are a pensioner and your income is too high to get normal council tax reduction but another adult in your household has a low income, for example, receives income support.
If you have applied for a reduction in your council tax and second adult rebate we will work out which benefit gives you the highest reduction.
3. How do I make a claim?
You must complete an on-line application form. The form can be used to claim housing benefit and a reduction in your council tax. If you are elderly or have mobility problems we can arrange a home visit. Please contact us on 0151 443 4042.
The guidance notes at the end of the claim form will tell you what documents you need to provide. You may lose benefit if you delay in returning the requested evidence.
Provide your supporting documents online or using the self service stations in our libraries.
Please do not send valuable items in the post.
4. How much will the reduction be?
It depends on your circumstances. For example, the amount of council tax you pay, your income and savings, who lives in your home and the circumstances of those that live with you.
If you would like to know how much council tax you should pay while you are waiting for us to assess your claim, then you can use our benefits calculator or contact us on 0151 443 4042 to work out a trial calculation. It does not guarantee the exact amount but it will give you an idea until your claim is processed.
5. How is council tax reduction paid?
It will be credited to your council tax account and you will receive a revised bill and a notification of how your reduction has been worked out.
6. What do you need to know when I claim a reduction?
We need to confirm all of the information that you give us on the application form. In most cases we will need to see proof of your identity and National Insurance Number but we may also ask you for proof of income and savings.
The guidance notes on the application form will tell you what you need to provide. We will only accept original documents. Provide your supporting documents online or using the self service stations in our libraries.
Please do not send valuable documents through the post.
Sometimes, we can get proof of benefits and allowances from other government offices such as the Department for Work and Pensions and the Pension Service and we will try not to ask you to provide the same information to more than one office.
If you cannot provide the information, please contact us. It is important that you do not delay in returning your claim for benefit.
7. What documents do I need to provide?
For a new claim, we need to see proof of the following for you and your partner:
- Proof of identity. You will need to provide 2 items which may include a passport, birth certificate, driving license, or a recent utility bill.
- National Insurance Number. You can find this on benefit books or letters from the Department of Work and Pensions, wage slips, P45 or P60 or a National Insurance card or letters from the tax office.
- Savings and investments. If the total value of your savings and investments are over £6,000.00 (or £10,000.00 if you are a pensioner) we will need to see up to date proof. We will normally need to see two consecutive months of bank statements for each account. We also need to see proof of any stocks, unit trusts, shares, national savings or any other savings or investments that you have.
- Income and benefits. We need to see 5 consecutive wage slips if you are paid weekly, or 2 if you are paid monthly. If you have just started work do not wait until you have these before claiming benefit. You can send us your first wage slip or ask your employer for a letter confirming what your wage will be. We can estimate your entitlement and revise the calculation when your payslips are available. If you can't find your payslips, ask us for a certificate of earnings to send to your employer.
We may need to see proof of any benefits you receive. This could include child benefit or tax credits. If we can we will confirm the details with the Department for Work and pensions but we may need you to provide proof if we cannot confirm the amount that you receive.
We need to see proof of any other income that you receive and the income of anyone else who lives with you, for example a relative or friend. If you need advice please contact us for advice on 0151 443 4042.
8. Where can I take my documents to get them verified?
If you need to provide any supporting documents, you can upload your evidence online or using the self service stations in our libraries.
9. What date will my reduction start from?
We normally calculate the amount of reduction from the Monday after the date we receive your claim form. Pensioners will be entitled to have their reduction backdated for up to 3 months. We can backdate claims for working age people for the same period if you have a good reason for not claiming earlier. You must ask us to backdate your claim in writing and give us the reason why you were unable to claim earlier.
10. How can I speed up my claim for a reduction?
Make sure you complete all of the questions on the application form. Provide your documents as soon as possible by uploading your evidence online or use the self service scan stations based in our libraries.
11. What if I don't agree with the amount of reduction awarded to me?
If you do not understand our decision you can follow the three steps below:
Ask us to explain it to you. We will explain how we have made the decision. We can also send you a statement of reasons which shows how the decision has been made.
Ask us to look at the decision again. Write to us and tell us why you think the decision is wrong. If you have any more information that you believe is relevant to the decision you can bring or send it to us and it may help us to reconsider your application. You can appeal. See question 12. How to Appeal.
12. How can I appeal?
You can appeal against:
- Your entitlement to a reduction under our scheme
- The amount of reduction that you have been awarded
Your appeal must be in writing and you must tell us why you disagree with our decision.
We will consider your appeal and notify you in writing that either:
- The grounds for your appeal are not well founded and our reasons for that decision; or
- That steps have been taken to deal with your grievance and what those steps were.
If you remain unhappy with our decision, or we do not deal with your appeal within two months of the date of your appeal letter, you can appeal to the Valuation Tribunal.
If you need further help with appeals you can contact the following:
Municipal Buildings, Archway Road, Huyton, L36 9YU
The Valuation Tribunal (http://www.valuation-tribunals.gov.uk/)
13. Can my council tax be reduced if I am not entitled to help under the reduction scheme?
Even if you do not qualify for council tax benefit you may be able to get a reduction on the amount of council tax that you need to pay. View our information about council tax discounts for more information.
Knowsley Local Council Tax Reduction Scheme