Some households can get their council tax bill slashed to zero - all the help

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We round up all the different council tax discounts (Image: Getty Images/iStockphoto)
We round up all the different council tax discounts (Image: Getty Images/iStockphoto)

If you're struggling with your money, it's worth checking if you're entitled to any help paying your council tax bill.

Finances will continue to be stretched throughout 2023 - and council tax bills are set to rise again in April.

In the Autumn Statement, Chancellor Jeremy Hunt announced that local councils in England and Wales could increase council tax by 5% without a referendum.

The Treasury expects most councils to increase their council tax in the spring.

Mirror Money has compiled together a full list of the council tax discounts which are available to be claimed, and how to check if you're eligible.

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Not all councils will offer the same discounts and people can find out exactly what support their local authority can provide by visiting their website.

Some households can get their council tax bill slashed to zero - all the helpThere are several discounts which can be claimed depending on your personal circumstances (Getty Images)

Single person discount

If you live on your own, you can get 25% off your council tax bill.

This discount also applies if you have a “disregarded person” living with you.

Who is disregarded from a council tax bill?

“Disregarded people” are those who are not counted by the local authority when calculating council tax for a household.

Someone will be disregarded if they’re:

  • Aged under 18
  • Aged 18 or 19 and someone is entitled to Child Benefit for them
  • Aged 18 or 19 and were still in education on 30 April - if they’re a school or college leaver aged 18 or 19 and they left after 30 April, they’ll be disregarded until 1 November.

This also applies if there is one adult and one full-time student or student nurse living together in a property, or if there is one adult and one person classed as “severely mentally impaired” in the home.

According to Citizens Advice, someone is classed as “severely mentally impaired” if their mental health condition is permanent, such as having dementia.

To get the discount, you will need to provide a doctor's certificate, which says when their mental health condition started.

They must also be claiming one of the qualifying benefits which includes benefits such as:

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  • Incapacity benefit
  • Attendance allowance
  • Severe disablement allowance
  • Disability living allowance (higher or middle-rate care component)
  • Increase in disablement pension (due to constant attendance being needed)
  • Unemployability supplement or allowance
  • Constant attendance allowance
  • Income support (which includes a disability premium)
  • Personal independence payment (standard or enhanced daily living component)
  • Armed forces independence payment

In England and Wales you can also be receiving:

  • Disability working allowance (based on getting income support including disability premium)
  • Universal credit (including an element for limited capability for work or limited capability for work and work-related activity)

In Scotland you can also be eligible for, or receiving:

  • Tax credits (including disability element)
  • Employment and support allowance
  • Universal credit

Long-term hospital patients and care home residents are also disregarded for council tax bills as are those staying in a hostel or night shelter.

Prisoners or someone in detention awaiting deportation are also disregarded as well as those living in a bail or probation hostel.

If you host someone under the "Homes for Ukraine " scheme, they are also disregarded for council tax.

If every resident of a household is classed as “disregarded” then that household can receive a 50% reduction on their council tax bill.

Some households can get their council tax bill slashed to zero - all the helpWith the cost of living continuing to squeeze finances, many are on the lookout for discounts they are eligible to claim (Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Student discount

Households that contain entirely full-time students do not need to pay council tax so are eligible for a 100% discount.

To count as a full-time student, your course must:

  • last at least 1 year
  • involve at least 21 hours study per week

This rule applies to both specialist student accommodation and to private renting, to get the discount in private rental accommodation you may need to apply for the discount.

Pensioner discount

If you receive the Guarantee Credit element of Pension Credit, you could get a 100% discount on your council tax bill.

If not, you could still get help if you have a low income and less than £16,000 in savings.

This all depends on your local council, so see what help they can offer you.

Low-income households

Households on a low income or receiving benefits could be eligible for a reduction to their council tax bill.

However, this discount is dependent on where you live as each local authority runs its own scheme.

Some areas can offer a full 100% discount on your council tax whilst others it's a lot less.

What you get depends on factors such as:

  • your circumstances which include your income, number of children, benefits, and residency status
  • your household income - this includes savings, pensions and your partner’s income
  • if your children live with you
  • if other adults live with you

You might be able to get another discount called a “second adult rebate” which is when an adult you live with has a low income or is getting certain benefits.

Once you have contacted your local council about this discount and you have supplied the evidence you need, your council will then work out your new bill and tell you how much council tax you need to pay.

Disabled person’s reduction

If you, or someone you live with is disabled then you may be able to claim a reduction as the council will charge you the rate for the next lowest council tax band instead.

According to Citizen’s Advice, if your property is in band D, you'll pay the band C council tax rate and if your property is in band A, your council tax bill will be reduced by 17% instead - as band A is the lowest band.

To get the disabled person’s reduction, your property must have been adapted to meet the needs of the disabled person and have either:

  • An extra kitchen or bathroom to meet the needs of a disabled person
  • Any other room (except a toilet) which is mainly used by a disabled person to meet their needs
  • Enough indoor space for a disabled person to use their wheelchair

Severe mental impairment discount

If you are classed as having a severe mental impairment (SMI) and you live alone, you could get 100% of your council tax bill wiped off.

This also applies if you live with one or more other adults who are also SMI adults or full-time students.

All-SMI and all-student households (or a combination of both) are exempt from paying council tax altogether.

A 50% discount could be awarded to someone with an SMI living with one or more other adults who are also disregarded from paying council tax.

Ruby Flanagan

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