We appreciate this is a difficult time for many of our residents and that coronavirus 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)
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
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.
We have added this to most accounts. We have not yet updated the following accounts:
- claims where the claimant is not liable for all of the Council Tax
- claims that have been awarded Council Tax reduction since 1 April 2020
For those accounts, thank you for your patience as we upgrade our systems to enable us to make the payments.
When we award your hardship payment, we'll send you a new bill with the coronavirus (COVID-19) hardship payment clearly marked.
Please pay the instalments shown on your bill in the meantime.
Waiting for the Self-employment Income Support Scheme payment
If you're self-employed and are waiting for the Self-employment Income Support Scheme payment, we may be able to defer your Council Tax payments from June 2020 to March 2021.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org to request this. Add to the email subject line: ‘defer instalments’ and your Council Tax reference number, which can be found on your bill.
Temporary changes to how we recover arrears
We’re making temporary changes to how we recover arrears. We’ve suspended issuing reminders, final notices and court summonses. If you have arrears due up to 31 March 2020 our enforcement agents (bailiffs) are now on hold and will not be in contact with you.
Struggling to pay your Council Tax
If you’re struggling to pay your Council Tax, we can also discuss:
- extending your 2020 to 2021 instalments from April 2020 to March 2021, so that you pay over 12 months instead of 10 months
- deferring your 2020 to 2021 instalments from June 20 to March 21, so that your first payment is in June 2020 and you pay over 10 months. This will allow time for you to apply for Universal Credit and Council Tax Reduction
- claiming short-term discretionary relief. We'll consider each application for discretionary relief on its own merits
Email email@example.com to explain your circumstances. Add to the email subject line: ‘difficulties’ and your Council Tax reference number, which can be found on your bill.
If you have existing arrears from previous financial years, we can discuss these alongside any new year instalments you need to start to pay.
Free debt advice
If you’re struggling with debt you can get free, confidential, independent debt advice.