Coronavirus (COVID-19) and Council Tax | Coronavirus (COVID-19) and Council Tax | Medway Council

We appreciate this is a difficult time for many of our residents and that coronavirus (COVID-19) is having a significant impact on the economy.

Your Council Tax pays for our essential services that are delivered to all Medway residents.

If your circumstances have not changed it’s important that you continue to pay your 2020 to 2021 Council Tax instalments, as detailed on your bill. Please maintain your current year direct debit payments plus any payment plans you have for arrears wherever possible.

Your financial circumstances may have changed since you received your Council Tax bill, making it difficult to pay your instalments. You’ll find sources of help, support and guidance below:

Claim all the benefits you’re entitled to

You might be able to increase your income by claiming all the benefits you’re entitled to. This extra income could help pay your bills.

Benefits from the DWP (Department for Work and Pensions)

Working age households can claim Universal Credit from the DWP, new style Jobseekers Allowance (JSA) and Employment and Support Allowance (ESA).

For State Pension age households you may be entitled to Pension Credit.

Find details of all benefits on GOV.UK.

Benefits from the council

From the council you can claim:

  • Council Tax Reduction: if you’re eligible you could reduce your bill by up to 65%. You can apply if you own your home, rent, are unemployed or working
  • Housing Benefit: this can be paid to certain types of household
  • Discretionary Housing Payment: if you’re suffering extreme hardship and you receive Housing Benefit or housing costs within Universal Credit
  • Test and Trace Support Payment: if you’ve been told to self-isolate, you are on a low income, are unable to work from home and will lose income

Already getting Council Tax Reduction

The government has given us additional funding to award up to £150 to working age people who claim Council Tax Reduction.

If you're working age and claim Council Tax Reduction we'll reduce your bill by an extra £150 in 2020 to 2021. 

If after discounts, exemptions and Council Tax Reduction you owe less than £150, we'll only award you the balance.

When we award your hardship payment, we'll send you a new bill with the coronavirus hardship payment clearly marked.

If you are self-employed

If you are self-employed, you may be able to apply for the Self-Employed Income Support Grant. The scheme has been extended and the third grant will cover the period 1 November 2020 until 31 January 2021, calculated at 80% of trading profits to a maximum of £7,500.

If you need to discuss your council tax instalments email ctax@medway.gov.uk.

Update: how we are recovering arrears

Previously, we temporarily suspended issuing formal reminders, final notices and court summonses. During May and June we issued letters to households who were struggling to pay their council tax to offer assistance, guidance and advice.

Since August 2020: 

  • We began to issue formal reminders to households who have council tax arrears. If you receive a reminder and need our help, advice or guidance it is very important that you make contact with us.
  • If you were previously dealing with enforcement agents (bailiffs), they will be sending you a letter asking you to contact them within 30 days to discuss your arrears. They have highly trained teams who deal with a range of circumstances, including vulnerability and financial difficulties. It is very important to respond to these letters. Enforcement agents will be acting strictly in line with government guidelines.

From 5 November 2020, visits from enforcement agents (bailiffs) will not take place for the period of the 4-week lockdown.

Struggling to pay your Council Tax

If you’re struggling to pay your Council Tax you can:

  • extend your current year instalments to March 2021
  • make an arrangement to pay arrears from previous years alongside your current year instalments
  • request short-term discretionary relief. We'll consider each application on its own merits, contact us to discuss this option
  • get free, confidential, independent debt advice

If you need to contact us email ctax@medway.gov.uk to explain your circumstances. Put your Council Tax reference number (shown on your bill) into the subject line of your email.