Council Tax Benefit
What is Council Tax Benefit?
Council Tax Benefit is a benefit which is paid to people who are liable to pay Council Tax but need help toward these costs, providing they meet certain eigibility criteria.
Can I claim Council Tax Benefit as a student?
Full-time undergraduate or postgraduate students, whether they live in private property or University residences, are mostly exempt from council tax and as such do not have a bill to pay and have no need to claim Council Tax Benefit.
However there are exceptions to this and in these cases you may be able to claim Council Tax Benefit, for example if:
- You receive income support or income-based jobseekers allowance;
- You are a lone parent or part of a full-time student couple with a child;
- You are a disabled student. You qualify as a disabled student if you meet one of the following criteria:
- Receive Disability Living Allowance or Long-term Incapacity Benefit,
- Are registered blind,
- Receive Disabled Students Allowance because of deafness,
- Have had limited capability for work for +28 weeks.
Who should claim?
In most cases where a full-time student lives with a partner or civil partner it is advisable for the partner to make the claim for Council Tax Benefit with the student as the dependent. Most household income will be taken into account for assessment purposes. See Student Income and Benefits for how your student income is calculated when assessing for benefits.
If you are not a full-time student and are liable to pay Council Tax you can apply for Council Tax Benefit which is assessed on your household income. This includes part-time taught students, writing up students and distance learners.
How is Council Tax Benefit assessed?
Council Tax Benefit is a means-tested benefit and is assessed by taking into account:
- money you and your partner or civil partner have coming in, including earnings, some benefits, tax credits and some student support income;
- your savings and your partner's or civil partner's savings;
- your circumstances: for example your age, the size of your family and their ages, if you or any of your family are disabled, and if anyone who lives with you could help with the rent.
The most Council Tax Benefit you can get is 100% reduction in your bill. If you are entitled to Income Support, Income-based Jobseeker's Allowance or the 'guarantee credit' of Pension Credit you will get maximum help with your Council Tax.
How do I apply for Council Tax Benefit?
If you feel you or your partner/civil partner or housemate may qualify for Council Tax Benefit please contact your Local Council who can offer more specific advice and issue an application form. You are advised to apply as soon as possible because your benefit is awarded from the date of application and it is difficult to request backdated payments.
Most students will live in the following Council areas:
For all others:
For more information on Council Tax benefit