A discretionary council tax fund has been issued to authorities to help households struggling with rising prices amid a deepening inflationary crisis. Each council has the right to hand it out as they please – so some residents may find they get an automatic boost
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Thousands of people across the UK may be eligible for a boost on top of the £150 tax credit thanks to a discretionary fund being issued to local authorities.
The money could help the lowest-income households cope with rising bills as a cost-of-living crisis sweeps the nation.
Under the terms of the council tax subsidy, households in property groups A to D will receive a £150 rebate on this year’s bills.
But in some areas, households could get more free money to deal with the cost of living crisis, while others that don’t have quality could get targeted support, potentially adding an extra £40.
In addition to the main rebate scheme, 300 councils have been given a £144million discretionary fund.
“In recognition of the fact that the settlement authorities may wish to support households that are ineligible under the terms of the main scheme, councils will receive a share of a £144million discretionary fund,” the government said.
The fund was issued to local authorities to help households struggling with rising prices and at risk of falling into the poverty bracket, as well as those who may not fall under the A to D system.
Some councils say the money will be offered to those in all bands — not just those in properties from A to D. Others say the extra funds will be automatically paid to those on low incomes.
Discretionary fund support should not exceed £150 per household, according to the guidelines.
It thus corresponds to the amount of the municipal tax subsidy.
Local authorities were left to set and publish their own eligibility criteria.
The guidance said this could include households living in properties rated in bands E to H who receive income-related benefits, or those where utility bill payers are not responsible for council tax.
It suggested that students living in dormitories may not be eligible unless they are exposed to rising energy prices in a similar way to other households.
There is no timetable for when the discretionary fund payments should start, but local authorities have until November 30, 2022 to spend the money or return it to the central government.
Wyre Forest District Council, for example, gives top-up payments of £35 to households in all council tax brackets.
You will receive the money if you live in the region and can prove that you are in financial distress.
Bromley is issuing £40 top-up payments to those in Bands AD who receive council tax support.
And in Hackney, around 30,000 households receiving a Council Tax Reduction will automatically receive an extra payment of £30, bringing total aid to £180.
The programs are aimed at those who already receive council tax support.
Ian Williams, the council’s finance and resources chief, said: “We know many families in Hackney have been grappling with rising living costs and particularly higher energy bills this month.
“Using our discretionary funding in this way means the easiest way for those most at risk from rising bills to get the extra help they need.”
You will need to contact your local authority to find out how they are distributing the additional funds.
This can be done on the gov.uk website.
Most residents who are entitled to the initial £150 council tax rebate should by now have been informed of their payments – this should appear on your annual council tax statement showing how much your bill has increased that year.
More than a dozen councils have also said payments will begin in May.
It is estimated that an estimated 2.8 million households are missing out on council tax support worth £2.6 billion.
You can apply for a council tax credit if you have low income, are vulnerable or live alone.
For more information on eligibility for council tax reductions, click here.
https://www.mirror.co.uk/money/thousands-could-eligible-extra-40-26856632 Thousands could be entitled to an extra £40 on top of a £150 council tax refund