Council Tax rebate grant
The Government’s Council Tax Rebate Grant, administered locally by West Suffolk Council working with Anglia Revenues Partnership, is to help households with the rising cost of energy bills.
Under the main scheme, a grant of £150 was available to households in Council Tax bands A-D. The Council, and Anglia Revenues Partnership has already administered this with more than £9 million paid to over 62,000 households in West Suffolk.
The Council was also given £270,300 “discretionary” money by Government to target support to the households the local authority identifies as most in need.
Using some of that funding, the Council has offered grants to:
- care leavers placed in accommodation since April 2022
- people who were homeless and placed in accommodation by our housing team since April 2022
- people in Houses of Multiple Occupation or other accommodation where the landlord pays the Council Tax but the applicant pays the energy bills
- and people in Council Tax bands E-H who can demonstrate exceptional hardship.
Applications for this Exceptional discretionary grant scheme closed on 31 October 2022.
Alongside the above, West Suffolk Council also targeted support to band E-H households who get a reduction to their Council Tax due to income or due to a disability but who were not eligible under the main Government scheme.
These households were identified through the Local Council Tax Reduction Scheme (LCTRS), the Disabled Band Reduction scheme and the Severe Mental Impairment exemption scheme.
Anglia Revenues Partnership wrote to all E-H households in the Local Council Tax Reduction Scheme and the Severe Mental Impairment exemption scheme, and to all F-H households in the Disabled Band Reduction scheme. Households in band E homes who receive the Disabled Band Reduction received the grant under the main Government scheme).
Households that were eligible and already set up for direct debit on their Council Tax had the money paid straight into their bank accounts in the week of 18 July.
Those not on direct debit will have had a letter asking them to complete a form by 31 July 2022, so we know how to pay them.
All claims are subject to mandatory pre-payment checks that we are required to do.
Households not on direct debit that completed the form and passed the pre-payment checks, had the money paid into their bank on or around 10 August.
Households not on direct debit that didn’t go online to complete the form and those who didn’t pass the pre-payment checks, had the money applied to their Council Tax account on or around 5 August 2022. A revised bill showing the lower amount will then be sent to them. Anglia Revenues Partnership worked to contact and help any households who are in credit on their Council Tax bill, to get the money transferred into the resident’s bank accounts.
In addition to this, we also made a small £20 top up to all West Suffolk households – bands A-H who are in the Local Council Tax Reduction Scheme.
In total, residents in the Local Council Tax Reduction Scheme in bands E-H received £170 by 10 August 2022, either paid to their bank account or taken off their Council Tax bill (this amount includes both the £150 grant and the £20 top up) And residents in the Severe Mental Impairment exemption (bands E-H) or the Disability Band Reduction scheme (bands F-H), received £150.
Households in bands A-D who are in the Local Council Tax Reduction Scheme will have received the £20 top up in the same way that they received the £150 rebate grant, paid into their bank account or applied to their Council Tax account. Households who were in credit on their Council Tax account after receiving the £150 grant and who then successfully applied to have money refunded into a bank account, will have had the top up money paid automatically into their bank account.
Some of your questions answered
Below are some of the answers to questions we and other councils have asked Government on your behalf, plus information from the Government guidance.
Can councils make payment to a third party?
In exceptional circumstances, we may consider it appropriate for a payment to be made to a third party if nominated by an eligible, liable council taxpayer. We will undertake the appropriate pre-payment checks in relation to the nominated individual, while ensuring the taxpayer isn’t under duress to nominate the third party. Please be aware, however, that in the case of third-party claims, we would ask that you provide bank statements to firstname.lastname@example.org when you submit your form. This may prevent your application from failing the pre-payment checks and enable us to process the payment more quickly.
Will accepting the payment affect my benefits?
No. The Government has made it clear that Council Tax rebate payments will be disregarded when income-related benefits, including Council Tax reduction, are being calculated.
Are the payments taxable?
No. You don’t need to inform HMRC of the amounts received and if you are self-employed you don’t need to report the amounts on your Self Assessment tax return.
Will the payments affect my tax credits?
No. As these payments are non-taxable they do not impact tax credits. Tax credits claimants do not need to report these payments as income to HMRC.
I’m overdrawn and don’t want the payment to be used to pay off my overdraft. What do I do?
You can exercise what is known as a ‘first right of appropriation’ on the £150 payment, so that your bank doesn’t use it to pay off your overdraft. Here is a sample letter that you may wish to use to exercise your right of appropriation.
There are other frequently asked questions on the Government's website