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.
When we award your hardship payment, we'll send you a new bill with the coronavirus hardship payment clearly marked.
Waiting for the 'extended' Self-employment Income Support Scheme payment
Applications for the first grant are now closed. The scheme has been extended and if you were eligible for the first grant and can confirm to HMRC that your business has been adversely affected on or after 14 July 2020, you’ll be able to make a claim for a second and final grant from 17 August 2020. View the full details on GOV.UK.
If you need to discuss your council tax instalments email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Update: how we will be 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.
From August 2020:
- We will begin 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.
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 email@example.com to explain your circumstances. Add your Council Tax reference number shown on your bill to the email subject line.