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You may be eligible for Universal Credit if you are on a low income or out of work; you’re 18 or over; you’re under State Pension age, or your partner is; you and your partner have £16,000 or less in savings between the two of you; and you live in the UK. The number of children you have doesn’t affect your eligibility to claim the benefit, but it may affect how much you get.
What is council tax?
Council tax is a yearly fee paid to your local council.
The cost is set by individual councils and goes towards funding local services, like rubbish collection and libraries.
Normally, the fee is paid in ten monthly instalments, followed by two months of not making any payments at all.
How much council tax you pay depends on your personal circumstances, which valuation band your property is in and how much the council needs to fund its services.
However, it’s very important not to fall behind on your council tax payments, even by one monthly payment.
If you don’t act quickly, you could be asked to pay the full year’s payment upfront.
The most important thing is to get in touch with your council as soon as you think you might miss a payment, as this increases the chance of them being able to work with you.
Some will let you make the payment a bit late so you can continue making future payments as scheduled, while others might be able to increase your future payments to make up for the missed amount.
What does council tax pay for?
Local services are funded by council tax, including:
- Police and fire services
- Leisure and recreation projects, like upkeep on parks and sports centres
- Libraries and education services
- Rubbish and waste collection and disposal
- Transport and highway services, including street lighting and cleaning, and road maintenance
- Environmental health and trading standards
- Admin and record jeeping, like marriages, deaths and births and local elections
Council Tax fraud: Do local authorities monitor your bank account? [INSIGHT]
Council tax bands London: Where is council tax cheapest in London? [REPORT]
Council Tax reduction: Who qualifies for a second adult rebate? [ANALYSIS]
Do you pay council tax if you’re on Universal Credit?
In short, yes, people who claim Universal Credit have to pay council tax.
However, the rules are slightly different and claimants are likely to have to pay a reduced amount of the bill.
A reduction on your bill will depend on your circumstances and where you live.
You can start the process for a Council Tax reduction on the Gov website by following this link.
The website will divert you to your local council’s website, which will tell you exactly what you need to do.
If you are claiming Universal Credit for the first time, you should apply for a council tax reduction straight away.
Many councils are unlikely to backdate the reduction for you.
You do not need to wait until your claim for Universal Credit has been approved or paid out to apply for the discount.
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