From the 1st April 2013 Council Tax Benefit was abolished and replaced instead with a Localised Council Tax Support Scheme (LCTS).
This change only affected Working Age claimants. Pensioners are protected from this change.
Each Local Authority gets a fixed yearly payment from Central Government to pay the Local Council Tax Support to the entitled residents. Government funding allocated to councils for LCTS has fallen to below 90% of its previous Council Tax Benefit spend. Uttlesford District Council has worked in conjunction with other Essex Authorities to determine who would be entitled to have their Council Tax charge reduced, taking into account the funding cut and protecting pensioners.
Protections for pensioners
The people protected from this scheme are:
- single people who reached the qualifying age for state pension credit so long as they are not claiming Income Support, income based Jobseekers Allowance or income related Employment and Support Allowance.
- couples where at least one member has reached the qualifying age for state pension credit and neither are claiming Income Support, income based Jobseekers Allowance or income related Employment and Support Allowance.
These protected pensioners get LCTS, which is still means tested, and the calculation is on a very similar basis to the Council Tax Benefit and Second Adult Rebate rules.
The scheme for working age people
It has been decided that the current scheme for Uttlesford District Council will include the following restrictions/changes:
- maximum support will be 87.5% not the current 100%.
- second Adult Rebate will not be paid where the person responsible (liable) for the Council Tax at the property is under pensionable age
- for those where a "passported" benefit is not in payment, a wages disregard for everyone will be £25 a week (Working means more than 16 hours a week as an employee or Self Employed. The additional disregard of £17.10 for those working more than 30 hours will be retained)
- maximum capital "cut off" will remain at £16,000
- child benefit, child maintenance and war pensions will continue to be disregarded
- there will be a minimum award of £2 per week
- a family premium will not be included in the calculation of new claims
- the work related work activity component will not be included in the calculation of new claims
- new claims can only be backdated for a maximum of 1 month
- a period of absence from Great Britain is reduced to 4 weeks whilst still being able to claim
Uttlesford District Council will also protect anyone entitled to Personal Independent Payments, Disability Living Allowance or Carers Allowance.
Working Age non protected people will have to pay at least 12.5% of their Council Tax bill.