Changes to the scheme in 2022

Each year Medway Council must decide whether to change the Council Tax Reduction scheme for working age applicants in its area.

In 2022 we're significantly changing the scheme to:

  • make it easier for residents to understand and access
  • provide greater stability to those who receive support
  • make the scheme work better with the Universal Credit system
  • build capacity to better manage increasing demands and reduce administration costs. This will prevent any additional costs being added to Council Tax.

The level of discount is based on the income of the household. The maximum discount Medway Council offers is 65% of the Council Tax for working age households and 100% for pensioners.

We have not changed the maximum level of support available.

On this page:

What has changed

We are introducing an income grid scheme for all working age applicants. This replaces the previous scheme which was based on the previous Council Tax Benefit scheme.

Other changes include:

  • continuing to limit the number of dependent children to be in the calculation of support to 2
  • introducing a flat rate non-dependent deduction of £10 per week for those non-dependents who are working, and £5 per week for those who are not
  • the housing element of Universal Credit is not counted as income, known as disregarding
  • replacing the current earnings disregards with a standard £25 disregard for applicants who are in work
  • introducing a minimum income floor (also known as an assumed level of earnings) for self-employed applicants
  • removing the provision for extended payments when moving into work.

Other Council Tax discounts and exemptions, for example if you are the only adult in the property, or a full-time student, are not affected by the changes to the scheme.

Working age banded income grid

We've designed the banded income grid scheme to remove the means test. The reduction is now based solely on weekly income.

This is designed to make it easier for you to see how much Council Tax Reduction you would be entitled to, by plotting yourself on the table according to your weekly income.

It's also designed to be less reactive to slight changes in income.

The weekly income bands

Discount percent

Single person with no children or young persons

Couple with no children or young persons

Couple or lone parent with one child or young person

Couple or lone parent with 2 or more children or young persons

65%

£0 to £94.99

£0 to £129.99

£0 to £179.99

£0 to £239.99

55%

£95 to £139.99

£130 to £174.99

£180 to £229.99

£240 to £289.99

45%

£140 to £184.99

£175 to £219.99

£230 to £279.99

£290 to £339.99

35%

£185 to £229.99

£220 to £264.99

£280 to £329.99

£340 to £389.99

20%

£230 to £269.99

£265 to £309.99

£330 to £379.99

£390 to £449.99

0%

£270+

£310+

£380+

£450+

If you or your partner receive Income Support, income-related Employment and Support Allowance or income-based Job Seekers Allowance, you will automatically be placed in the top (65%) band.

If you or your partner receive a War Disablement, War Widow’s or War Widower’s Pension, the income banded system will not apply to you.

What counts as income

We count income that you, and any partner that lives with you, receive. Examples of incomes that we include are:

  • earnings from employment
  • self-employed earnings
  • tax credits
  • pensions
  • student grants and loans
  • new-style or contributory Jobseekers Allowance, and Employment and Support Allowance
  • Universal Credit (excluding housing costs).

This list is not exhaustive.

Earnings are the amounts after Income Tax, National Insurance and 50% of any pension contributions.

If you receive Universal Credit, we will use the Department for Work and Pensions’ (DWP) assessment of your income.

Savings

The savings or capital limit remains at £16,000. If you have more than this, you will not be entitled to claim Council Tax Reduction. If you have more than £6,000, we will assume a weekly income of £1 for every £250 above £6,000.

What does not count as income

The following are not considered within the calculation of your weekly income:

  • Carer's Allowance
  • child maintenance
  • Bereavement Support Payment
  • The support component of Employment and Support Allowance
  • Child Benefit
  • Personal Independence Payments and Disability Living Allowance
  • Universal Credit housing costs and Housing Benefit
  • if someone in the household is earning, £25 per week is ignored
  • if someone in the household is disabled, £40 per week is ignored.

Pensioners who claim Council Tax Reduction will continue to be unaffected because the government has decided that they must be protected from any reductions in the support they receive. Their reductions are calculated under a national scheme. 

Limits to support for families with more than 2 children

The government now only offer support through Universal Credit for 2 children. There are certain protections for some children, including protection for some children born before April 2017.  To keep the Council Tax Reduction scheme as simple as possible, these protections have not been included.

Disregards

If there is someone who earns in your household, we will not count, or 'disregard', £25 of earnings. Only one disregard is allowed for each claim. 

We disregard £40 if someone is classed as disabled.

We will not class housing costs such as the housing element of Universal Credit as income.

Non-dependants and reductions

Non-dependants are other adults living with you, who are part of your household. Often they are grown-up children that you no longer receive Child Benefit for. It does not include people who live with you on a commercial basis (such as a sub-tenant), or anyone jointly liable for Council Tax, for example a joint tenant.

To simplify the Council Tax Reduction scheme, we will make a £10 deduction for a non-dependant who is working and £5 if they are not. In some cases, no deduction may apply, for example if the non-dependant is a student, or you or a partner receive certain benefits.

What to do if your level of support has gone down

If your level of support has gone down, you should check your entitlement letters carefully to check your income and circumstances have been calculated correctly. In some cases, we may not have a recent breakdown of your income to allow us to disregard elements such as the housing element of Universal Credit or Carer’s Allowance.

If your award has reduced and you're unable to pay your Council Tax, you can apply for an Exceptional Hardship Payment. We will have more details of how to apply soon.

What to do if you disagree with your Council Tax Reduction calculation

You can email benefits@medway.gov.uk giving details of why you disagree with the calculation, and we will look at your claim again. If your claim remains unchanged and you still disagree with the decision you can appeal. You must do this in writing or via email and send it directly to the Valuation Tribunal.