Questions and Answers
Q1 Does pensioner protection mean that all pensioners will get support?
No. As now, entitlement will be based on a means test and/or receipt of a qualifying benefit (eg pension credit guarantee credit). For the purposes of localised council tax support schemes, a pensioner is someone who has reached the qualifying age for state pension credit, which is women’s pensionable age, for both men and women, currently just over 61.
Q2 How will pensioners be protected, and what about those who reach the qualifying age in the future?
The scheme will operate in a way very similar to what is in place now. People reaching pension-credit age in future will be able to apply under the new scheme – it will not be limited to those already in receipt of support.
Q3 Is the Government prescribing which vulnerable groups are going to be protected and how schemes should support work incentives?
No. We already have a range of responsibilities in relation to vulnerable groups. The local support scheme protection is very similar to what is in place now in relation to Council Tax Benefit.The scheme is also designed to support work incentives, to ensure more people are encouraged to move into work.
Q4 What effect will the proposed scheme have on working age claimants
The fairest way to administer the scheme was to have all working age claimants paying something towards their Council Tax, the majority by between an extra £3 and £5 per week.
All working age claimants will have their award capped by reducing their Council Tax liability. The cap for 2015/16 is 20%. This means that 80% of their Council Tax bill will be taken into account when their award is calculated.
Q5 I currently get Council Tax Benefit - Do I need to complete a new application form ?
No. You do not need to reapply for support from April 2015, we will use your existing claim for Council Tax Benefit as your application for Council Tax Support. Your Council Tax bill for 2015/2016 will show the award of Council Tax Support and this will be sent to you in March.
Q6 Can I find out how much support I will be getting from April 2015?
Not yet. We cannot give an individual calculation on how the changes will affect you yet as between now and 1 April 2015 your circumstances may change, which could affect the amount of benefit that you are entitled to.