A range of financial support is available for residents who are facing difficulty paying their council tax as a direct result of the coronavirus. The support includes options for a council tax deferment or reduction scheme.
Over 6,000 letters have been sent by the local authority to residents in Bridgend county borough advising them of outstanding balances on their accounts.
Council tax funds almost 30% of the council’s budget with the remaining amount coming from Welsh Government.
The Deputy Leader, Cllr Hywel Williams, said: “We know the majority of residents haven’t needed any financial help with their council tax payments but some have needed additional support due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. It has been a very challenging and uncertain time and where possible, we have sought to work with all those who have contacted us.”
“However, council tax has not been suspended during the pandemic and it remains a legal requirement to make the necessary instalments where residents can do so. Letters have been sent to residents, reminding them of any outstanding payments that need to be made.
“For residents who continue to face difficulty as a result of the pandemic and are unable to make the payment in full due to a reduction in income, there is a range of financial support which can be offered.”
Residents can apply for a council tax reduction which helps people on low incomes to pay their council tax – you are eligible if you are claiming job seekers allowance or income support, or if your income is below a certain level. You are also eligible if you are receiving universal credit.
Council tax can be paid in a variety of ways – online at www.bridgend.gov.uk via MyAccount at the top right of the webpage, by calling the 24 hour automated telephone payment line on 01656 642088, by debit/credit card over the telephone on 01656 643643, at a local Post Office or any retail outlet displaying the Payzone or Paypoint sign by presenting the barcode on the relevant council letter sent to residents.
Here is a summary of some of the available support:
Council tax reduction
This benefit helps people on low incomes to pay their council tax. You are eligible if you are claiming job seekers allowance or income support, or if your income is below a certain level. You are also eligible if you are receiving universal credit. You can check your eligibility in the My Account form ‘Apply for Housing Benefit and Council Tax Reduction’.
If you are awarded council tax reduction, you will be sent a letter explaining how your entitlement has been calculated. This letter will also advise you of your duty to notify the Council Tax Benefit Section of any change in your circumstances. You will also be sent a new Council Tax bill.
To access the scheme, residents must contact the council’s benefit department on 01656 643396 or visit bridgend.gov.uk/residents/benefits-and-support/ for information and advice.
Council tax support
Residents have the possibility of extending their council tax payments to March if they have not already done so. The relevant My Account form for this is ‘application form for changes to your council tax account’.
Various Council Tax discounts and exemptions are also available such as:
- Single person discount (25% for one adult living alone in a property).
- Reductions ranging from 0% – 100%, depending on the number of adults resident in the property for; full-time students, student nurses, youth training trainees and apprentices, residential hospital patients, people being looked after in care homes, people staying in certain hostels or night shelters, 18 and 19 year olds who are at or who have just left school, low paid care workers who are usually employed by a charity, people in prison, members of religious communities (monks or nuns), and people caring for someone with a disability who is not a spouse, partner, or son or daughter under 18.
- Exemption of 100% for people with a severe mental impairment living alone.
- Reduction of 25% for two people living together if one of them has a severe mental impairment.