Council Tax reduction scheme

Council Tax Reduction is a means-tested benefit. You can apply for Council Tax Reduction if you fall into any of the following criteria:

  • You own your home (either outright or you have a mortgage
  • You rent your home
  • You are the person whose name is on the council tax bill. If you are jointly responsible for the council tax we may be able to help with your share of the bill
  • You are on a low income
  • You are 18 years of age

Read our Council Tax Reduction Scheme.

From 1 April 2013, Council Tax benefit was replaced with a local Council Tax Reduction Scheme.

You can apply for a Council Tax reduction whether you have your own home, if you rent, are unemployed or if you're working.

You may get a reduction if:

  • You pay Council Tax
  • You have a low income, or are entitled to a benefit paid by the Department for Work and Pensions or the Pension Service

You can't get Council Tax reduction if you:

  • Are not the householder, or the person liable to pay council tax,
  • Have more than £16,000 in capital (savings and investments), unless you receive guaranteed pension credit
  • Are excluded from receiving public funds, due to your status in the UK

Most asylum seekers and people sponsored to be in the UK cannot get council tax reduction and most full-time students cannot get Council Tax reduction. To apply for Council Tax reduction you'll need to fill in our form.

Changes to the scheme from 1 April 2022

Each year Gravesham Borough Council must decide whether to change the Council Tax Reduction scheme for working age applicants in its area.

In 2022 we have significantly changed the scheme to:

  • make it easier for claimants and potential claimants to access
  • provide greater stability to those who receive support
  • provide additional support
  • make the scheme more transparent and easier to understand

The level of discount is based on the income of the household. The maximum discount Gravesham Borough Council offers is 80% of the Council Tax for working age households and 100% for pensioners. We have not changed the maximum level of support available.

Pensioners who claim Council Tax Reduction will continue to be unaffected because the government has decided that they must be protected from any reductions in the support they receive. Their reductions are calculated under a national scheme.

What has changed

We have introduced an income grid scheme for all working age applicants. This replaces the previous scheme which was based on the previous Council Tax Benefit scheme.

Other changes include:

  • removing the transitional protection awarded to certain claims before 2017
  • the housing element of Universal Credit is not counted as income
  • replacing the current earnings disregards with a standard £25 disregard for applicants who are in work
  • introducing a minimum income floor (also known as an assumed level of earnings) for self-employed applicants
  • removing the provision for extended payments when moving into work
  • new claims and changes to be calculated from the day of change
  • backdating of up to 12 months
  • additional disregard of £40 weekly where the Claimant, Partner or Dependant child receives a disability benefit
  • disregarding Carer’s Allowance and the Support Component of Employment and Support Allowance

Other Council Tax discounts and exemptions, for example if you are the only adult in the property, or a full-time student, are not affected by the changes to the scheme.

Working age banded income grid

We have designed the banded income grid scheme to remove the means test, the reduction is now based solely on weekly income. This is designed to make it easier for you to see how much Council Tax Reduction you would be entitled to.

Table showing the weekly income bands
Discount percent Single Person Couple Lone Parent with one child /young person Lone Parent with two or more children /young persons Couple with one child /young person Couple with two or more children /young persons

80%

(Band 1)

£0 to £115

£0 to £160

£0 to £185

£0 to £255

£0 to £230

£0 to £300

65%

(Band 2)

£115.01 to £160

£160.01 to £205

£185.01 to £230

£255.01 to £300

£230.01 to £275

£300.01 to £345

45%

(Band 3)

£160.01 to £220

£205.01 to £265

£230.01 to £290

£300.01 to £360

£275.01 to £335

£345.01 to £405

25%

(Band 4)

£220.01 to £280

£265.01 to £325

£290.01 to £350

£360.01 to £420

£335.01 to £395

£405.01 to £460

0%

(Band 5)

£280+

£325+

£350+

£420+

£395+

£460+

*80% (Band 1) - Passported Benefits where any applicant or partner are in receipt of Income Support, Income-Based Jobseeker’s or Income Related Employment and Support Allowance (and have under £16,000 capital)

What counts as income

We count income that you, and any partner that lives with you, receive.  Examples of incomes that we include are:

  • earnings from employment
  • self-employed earnings
  • tax credits
  • pensions
  • student grants and loans
  • new-style or contributory Jobseekers Allowance, and Employment and Support Allowance
  • Universal Credit (excluding housing costs).

This list is not exhaustive. Earnings are the amounts after Income Tax, National Insurance and 50% of any pension contributions.

Savings

The savings or capital limit remains at £16,000. If you have more than this, you will not be entitled to claim Council Tax Reduction.  If you have more than £6,000, we will assume a weekly income of £1 for every £250 above £6,000.

What does not count as income

The following are not included in the calculation of your weekly income:

  • Carer's Allowance
  • Child Maintenance
  • Bereavement Support Payment
  • The support component of Employment and Support Allowance
  • Child Benefit
  • Personal Independence Payments and Disability Living Allowance
  • Universal Credit housing costs and Housing Benefit

Removing the transitional protection awarded to certain pre-2017 claims

The government now only offer support through Universal Credit for two children. There are certain protections for some children, including protection for some children born before April 2017. To keep the Council Tax Reduction scheme as simple as possible, these protections have not been included.

Disregards

If you, or any partner that lives with you, is working we will not count, or 'disregard', £25 of earnings weekly. Only one disregard is allowed for each claim.

We disregard £40 weekly if you, your partner or a dependant child is classed as disabled.

Self-employed Minimum Income Floor. If you or your partner have been self-employed for more than a year, you are now subject to a Minimum Income Floor (MIF) based on the national living wage.  The MIF is calculated as 35 hours a week of self-employed work.

If your self-employed income is above the MIF, we will use your actual income and expenses to calculate your entitlement.

If you have not been trading for 12 months, we will calculate your entitlement on your actual income and allowable expenses. This is known as your start-up period.

What to do if your level of support has gone down

If your level of support has gone down, you should check your entitlement letters carefully to check your income and circumstances have been calculated correctly.  In some cases, we may not have a recent breakdown of your income to allow us to disregard elements such as the housing element of Universal Credit or Carer’s Allowance.

If your award has reduced and you're unable to pay your Council Tax, you can apply for a Financial Support Payment.

What to do if you disagree with your Council Tax Reduction calculation

You must write to us giving details of why you disagree with the calculation, and we will look at your claim again. You must provide evidence to support this.  If your claim remains unchanged and you still disagree with the decision you can appeal. You must do this in writing or via email and send it directly to the Valuation Tribunal.

Second adult rebate

From 1 April 2017 second adult rebate is only available for applicants who are of pension age. It is a Council Tax reduction that is paid when you share your home with another adult, but the second adult in the property is on a low income.

It is paid based on their income and can cover up to 25% of your council tax charge.

Financial Support Payment Scheme

From 1 April 2022 we have created a Financial Support Payment Scheme to provide additional assistance if you receive Council Tax Reduction but are facing exceptional hardship.  Financial Support Payments are designed as short-term help to the applicant only. There is no statutory right to a financial support payment as it is at the discretion of the Council.

How to apply

To apply for Council Tax reduction, you need to complete the Benefits application form, and return your form along with the original supporting documentation. For second adult rebate, please complete this form.

As part of your application we'll need to see original documents, not photocopies. If your original documents are posted to us or left at our offices, they will be posted back to you. If you post or leave original documents to us you do this at your own risk. 

When returning please send to: Benefits Section, Gravesham Borough Council, Civic Centre, Windmill Street, Gravesend, Kent DA12 1AU. 

Accessibility

If you require any of the documents on this page in an accessible format please contact accessibility@gravesham.gov.uk