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Claim Council Tax Support

Universal Credit does not include an amount for Council Tax. 

For new Universal Credit claimants who claim Universal Credit for the first time the council may receive an electronic notification of the Universal Credit claim made from the Department for Work & Pensions (DWP) and the amount of Universal Credit awarded. 

For new Universal Credit claimants, the council will accept these electronic notifications as an application for Council Tax Support and will automatically award any entitlement to Council Tax Support that is due. 

For existing Universal Credit claimants, who have not just claimed Universal Credit for the first time, you must still claim Council Tax Support directly from the council and submit an application form. 

Make sure you get your claim to us or you may find yourself in arrears with extra costs to pay. 

If you are a Universal Credit claimant and you are unsure whether you need to make an application, please contact the council.

Council Tax Support

Council Tax Support (also known as Council Tax Reduction) is a means-tested support provided by the council to help residents pay their Council Tax. If you are entitled to support, we can work out how much you are entitled to.

This means your (and your partner’s) income and capital, and the income of anyone living with you, is assessed to calculate if you are entitled to Council Tax Support. If you are entitled to support, we can work out how much you are entitled to.

You could get Council Tax Support to help you pay your Council Tax if you are on other benefits or you work part-time or work full-time on a low income.

Who can claim

You can claim Council Tax Support if you:

  1. Are liable to pay Council Tax
  2. Occupy the home on which Council Tax Support is to be awarded
  3. Satisfy a means test

If your name is on the Council Tax bill you are liable to pay Council Tax.

If you live in a shared accommodation you should not be liable to pay Council Tax as this would be your landlord’s responsibility.

Once you submit a Council Tax Support application form and all the required documents, we will assess your claim by carrying out a means test. The means test decides how much Council Tax Support you are entitled to.

If you live with a partner, only one of you can make a claim for Council Tax Support as the claimant.

Who cannot claim

You cannot claim Council Tax Support if you and/or your partner:

  • have more than £10,000 in combined savings if you are under State Pension age
  • have more than £16,000 in combined savings if you are of State Pension age or above
  • do not pay Council Tax
  • are from abroad, and are subject to immigration control

Check your State Pension age

Your combined savings is the total amount of money you and/or your partner have in all of the following:

  • cash
  • bank current accounts, deposit accounts and savings accounts
  • National Saving accounts
  • giro bank accounts and building society accounts
  • post office accounts
  • ISA accounts and Premium Bonds
  • shares and unit trusts
  • National Savings certificates
  • equity of land and buildings

How to claim

Your application for Council Tax Support needs to be submitted to the council. If you need to scan documents to submit to the council, scan stations are available at Barking Library and Dagenham Library.

We only process Council Tax Support applications (and Housing Benefit applications) for residents of Barking and Dagenham.

If you have been placed in temporary accommodation outside of the borough by our housing team, you'll need to claim Council Tax Support from the borough you have been placed in. However, you can claim Housing Benefit with us.

There is only one form that needs to be completed and if you qualify for Housing Benefit and/or Pupil Premium (Free School Meals) we will also automatically award these as well.

Claim benefits with us online using MyAccount. If you don't have a My Account, you can register for My Account.

Register or log in to My Account

If you do not have internet access

If you do not have internet access, visit any local library. They are equipped with self-service computers (PCs) which residents can use to access the internet.

If you are unable to use the internet

If you are unable to use the internet we strongly recommend asking your friends or family to help you complete a claim form.

Visiting and welfare

The Visiting and Welfare Officers provide an advisory service to customers in the comfort of their own home. They can assist with the completion of any council benefit related forms that are needed.

If you have difficulty in visiting our Council One Stop Shop (assisted self-service) or are housebound we may be able to visit you and help you claim Council Tax Support.

Similarly if you are finding out how to claim on someone else’s behalf as they are unable to use the internet, you can contact the Visiting and Welfare Team to enquire whether a home visit will be possible on 020 8227 2970.

Proof of your circumstances

Before we can award any Council Tax Support we must see proof of your and your household’s circumstances.

This means you must also provide proof when your circumstances change so we can recalculate your Council Tax Support and continue paying you.

We usually need to see these items of proof:

  • original proof of identity for you and your partner (such as driving license or passport)
  • original proof of National Insurance number for you and your partner (like a National Insurance card, P45, P60 or a payslip)
  • proof of identity for all other household members (birth certificate, driving license or passport)
  • proof of all income you, your partner and all household members receive (for example a Child Support Agency letter, payslips or a letter from Student Finance)
  • proof of all benefits you, your partner and all household members receive (for example a recent award letter)
  • proof of capital (investments, properties and savings) for you and your partner (such as two months’ bank statements for all accounts held or jointly held. This includes statements for inactive bank accounts)
  • proof of Child Benefit in payment for all children in the household (such as a recent Child Benefit award letter or recent bank statement showing Child Benefit coming in)
  • for Universal Credit claimants we will only require
    • proof of your Universal Credit award
    • proof of capital (investments, properties and savings) for you and your partner (such as two months’ bank statements for all accounts held or jointly held. This includes statements for inactive bank accounts).
    • proof of all income, benefits received or student status any non-dependant adult in the household.

This is not a complete list and we could require additional evidence.

Localised Council Tax Support Scheme Toggle accordion

Each council is required to produce its own scheme to reduce Council Tax liability for a person it considers to be in financial need. The rules regarding Council Tax Support may differ from borough to borough.

You may find the following definitions helpful:

  • Total weekly income – this is the total amount of earned and unearned income for you and your partner, after all disregards including student income, and any amounts added to your weekly income depending on how much capital you have
  • Total weekly applicable amount – this is the calculated amount you (and your partner) need to meet your necessary weekly costs
  • Eligible Council Tax – this is the maximum amount of Council Tax Support we can award you
  • Non-dependent deductions – these are the deductions for any adults living with you, such as an adult child, relative or friend, who is not liable to pay rent

Council Tax Support Scheme

Read more about our localised Council Tax Support Scheme

Council Tax Support Scheme 2021-22 (PDF, 1.8MB)

Students who can claim Toggle accordion

Students and Council Tax Support

Students with a liability to pay Council Tax are only entitled to claim Council Tax Support if they meet any of the following criteria:

  • part-time students
  • students under the age of 20 in further education
  • students that have reached pensionable age
  • students who are disabled
  • students in receipt of Income Support, Jobseeker’s Allowance (Income Based) or Employment and Support Allowance (Income Related)
  • students with children
  • students with non-student partners; however the non-student partner must usually be the main applicant

Some students are exempt from paying Council Tax or receive a discount.

Similarly you may receive a discount on your Council Tax account if you have an adult student living with you.

You can find out more about student Council Tax discounts and disregards and student Council Tax exemptions on our webpages.

Student income

Student loans, grants and bursaries are treated as income for Council Tax Support purposes.

If you or your partner are entitled to a Student Loan (via student finance) and choose not to take the loan, then the amount you were entitled to will still be treated as your income.

Similarly if you take a lower amount than you or your partner are entitled to, we will still treat the amount you were entitled to as your income.

The following forms of loans, grants and bursaries are however disregarded for Council Tax Support purposes:

  • Childcare Grant
  • Parent’s Learning Allowance
  • Some bursaries which are for course-related costs and/or childcare
  • Special Support Grant
  • Student grant for tuition fees
  • Student loan for tuition fees

We will need to see all pages of your Student Finance award letter, clearly showing the breakdown of your loans, grants and bursaries.

We will also need to see an original Council Tax exemption certificate or a student registration letter confirming your weekly hours of study and the length of your course.

Reviewing your claim Toggle accordion

We will need to look at your claim from time to time to make sure your Council Tax Support is correct. This is known as a review.

We will be carrying out checks on claims throughout the year. As part of these checks we may need to send you a short claim form to fill in, we may telephone you or visit you at home

You must tell us about any changes you think might affect your Council Tax Support. If you don’t, you may receive too much or too little support, which could result in an overpaid amount of Council Tax Support. Don't wait for us to review your claim.

You must notify us of all changes in your, your partner’s or your household’s circumstances within 21 days of the change taking place.

Where the law allows, we share information with the Department for Work and Pensions and Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs and look into any cases where the information does not match.

Armed forces personnel Toggle accordion

Information on Council Tax Support and housing support for people who are (or have been) in the armed forces, or who are related to or living with someone in the armed forces can be found in Council Tax exemptions.

Council Tax exemptions

Backdating your claim Toggle accordion

Council Tax Support is usually paid from the Monday following the date we received your application. It is highly recommended that you don’t delay making a claim just because you can’t get the proof we need.

You have one calendar month from the date you make a claim to provide the proof. If you can’t provide the proof within one month you should contact us to query whether alternative proof can be provided.

In special circumstances, we may be able to backdate your claim. This means that we can pay you Council Tax Support from an earlier date than when you submitted your claim.

We can only backdate your claim for a maximum of 28 days, but not prior to 1 April 2019. 

Qualifying for backdating

To qualify for Council Tax Support backdating you must be able to show that:

  • you had a good reason for not claiming Council Tax Support earlier
  • your reason or reasons for not claiming earlier lasted until you actually made your claim; this is called ‘continuous good cause’

For example, if you were in hospital and made a claim as soon as possible after leaving hospital, we would treat this as continuous good cause. However, if you made a claim one month after being discharged from hospital, you may not be considered as having good cause for making a late claim and backdated Council Tax Support will not be awarded.

We will usually need to see proof of the things you tell us about. For example, in the situation above, we would need to see a letter from the hospital or your doctor confirming your illness and the length of time you were in hospital.

Making a request for backdating

You can request backdating either by:

  • completing the section on the claim form which asks “Do you want to backdate your claim for benefit?”
  • emailing us
  • writing to us by post

Council Tax Support
Roycraft House, 15 Linton Road, Barking IG11 8HE
020 8227 2970

Once we receive your request to backdate your claim we will:

  • decide whether you qualify for backdated Council Tax Support 
  • decide the length of time to award you backdated Council Tax Support (we may decide to award you backdated Council Tax Support for a shorter period than you have requested)
  • notify you of our decision by writing and give you full appeal rights should you choose to dispute our decision

If you're under State Pension age

We can backdate your Council Tax Support for a maximum of 28 days from the date you submitted your backdate request.

If you're State Pension age or above

We may be able to pay you Council Tax Support for up to 3 months before the date you claimed.

Check your state pension age