We are encouraging residents to have their say on proposed changes to its Council Tax Reduction Scheme for working age residents.
In recent years the government has made changes to the benefits system and the council believes it is time to update how it assesses residents for a reduction in their council tax payments, in light of the changes.
Currently almost 16,000 Medway residents currently receive a reduction in their council tax and we hope the proposed changes will simplify the reduction scheme so it is easier for residents to understand what help they could be entitled to and how their entitlement is calculated.
Our proposed changes to the scheme, for the 2022/2023 financial year, include:
- Introducing an income ‘grid’ scheme for all working age applicants which will provide reductions of up to 65 per cent, in certain cases
- Protecting disabled residents by disregarding Personal Independence Payments or Disability Living Allowance and providing a further disregard of £40 per week where either the applicant, partner or dependant is in receipt of the disability benefit
- Protecting carers by fully disregarding any Carer’s Allowance and the Support Component for applicants in receipt of Employment and Support Allowance when calculating how much support they may be entitled to
- Continuing to protect veterans by disregarding War Pensions or War Disablement pensions in full and enabling up to 100 per cent discount to be granted in some cases
- Calculating all new claims and changes in circumstances to be effective from the day of the change, in line with the discount schemes, rather than the current (benefit based) weekly basis
- Provide backdating for any discount (up to a maximum of 12 months) where circumstances show that the claimant would have been continuously eligible for the period in question had they applied at that time
Encourage residents to have their say
Cllr Rupert Turpin, Medway Council’s Portfolio Holder for Business Management, said: “We want to simplify the council tax reduction scheme so it is easier for residents to understand what help they could be entitled to and how their entitlement is calculated. I would like to reassure residents that there are no plans to reduce the amount of funding available to support Medway taxpayers. I would encourage residents to take part in the consultation and have their say.”
The deadline for responses is 5pm on Friday, 24 December.
Residents without internet access can request a paper copy of the survey at any of Medway’s libraries and community hubs.