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Carers UK Forum • Council Tax exemptions query
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Council Tax exemptions query

Posted: Wed May 11, 2022 3:23 pm
by erolly_1909
Hi Everyone,

I hope everyone is keeping well. It has been some time since my last post. Trying to keep healthy in between this financial crisis we are having.

My brother is doing extremely well (cardiac arrest out-patient) and slowly introducing him back to some form of activity that he was used to. A brief visit to his day service centre was well received and his first visit to the cinema in over 2 years with his PA was enjoyable.

We are in receipt of Housing benefit and any adjustments (rent increase) I notify the council department asap. I contacted the HB dept via phone over this over 3 weeks ago. No response. I contacted via email, especially after receiving a high council tax bill statement (this is a first). No response.
I had to contact them again today on the phone as the HB on my rent statement is reducing every month despite paying the difference while I can. The person I spoke to was very good and has attached an urgent response to my query to the HB team.

Getting to the point. Despite being exempt from council tax over the years and now receiving a hefty bill this year of all years. Has there been a change of law or would there been error as the HB adjustment has not been completed by the HB department? Our circumstances have not changed I am still an unpaid carer for my sibling who lives with me.

It is getting really difficult to budget when you are budgeting on the basics already and then your wonderful council decides to drop a council tax billl in the middle of it all.

Try and guess the borough?

Best wishes

Erolly

Re: Council Tax exemptions query

Posted: Wed May 11, 2022 4:51 pm
by Melly1
Hi Erolly,

Lovely to hear from you. Great your brother is getting back to activities again :) :) :) :)

Are you getting council tax relief because of your brother? https://www.carersuk.org/help-and-advic ... ate-relief

Melly1

Re: Council Tax exemptions query

Posted: Wed May 11, 2022 5:02 pm
by sunnydisposition
There would have been a charge in income somewhere along the line. Can you think of any change in capital and/or what you have previously advised them of.

Are you able to set up an account on line with your LC so you would have access to your benefits.

Re: Council Tax exemptions query

Posted: Wed May 11, 2022 8:04 pm
by bowlingbun
I'd send a "please explain" letter to them.

Re: Council Tax exemptions query

Posted: Wed May 11, 2022 10:32 pm
by erolly_1909
Hi Melly1,

We always had council tax relief because of my brother. He lives with me and in receipt of DLA and ESA. I am unemployed and receive IS and carers allowance.

As for savings (if you could call it that ) is well under the threshold of £6,000.
Access to online with the HB is an issue in itself. I have been pursuing them (the council) that I cannot access this due to technical failure from last year. They (tech team) claim they will contact me about this at the beginning of this year and that there is a 3 month wait.......to get back to me.

A letter is probably the best thing as phone calls can take ages ( e.g. you are 15th in the queue and the last person waited 10 minute) and I am already bracing for the telephone and broadband bill. As for emails I think threy are inundated as there is no response. It is just the lack of or no communication which puzzles me.

The council has been going through a financial situation during the pandemic.

Erolly

Re: Council Tax exemptions query

Posted: Wed May 11, 2022 10:38 pm
by bowlingbun
In those circumstances, send the letter Recorded Delivery and staple the receipt to a paper copy of your email.

Re: Council Tax exemptions query

Posted: Wed May 11, 2022 10:41 pm
by Melly1
Hi Erolly,

contacting them by letter , does sound like the best plan (signed for), unless they have email. I think all services have become ridiculous. Can't get through to anybody, waiting times endless.

Might worth asking your MP for help .. funny how quickly things get sorted after being contacted by an MP!

Melly1

Re: Council Tax exemptions query

Posted: Wed May 11, 2022 10:51 pm
by sunnydisposition

Re: Council Tax exemptions query

Posted: Wed May 18, 2022 4:49 pm
by erolly_1909
Hi everyone,

Just an update on this Council Tax situation.

They (CT) emailed me to give me a breakdown of their calculation. To cut it short and spare the details. "There are certain incomes that we disregard in full and certain incomes that we disregard in part or a portion of."
Any reduction is based on income per week or in my case what benefits we received. The higher the income the lower the support it becomes and they gave me how it worked in percentages per weekly income.
No explanation of the previous years exemptions (did I miss something here?)
They proceed to add some discretionary scheme (I am assuming hardship fund) for those who are struggling meeting payments. All this information after I complained after they unceremoniously dropped the CT bill on me.
No response from the HB department, I am assuming the two departments do not communicate with each other and no explanation why the HB is decreasing. Their conduct is too shady for my liking. Already sent off a letter to my local MP. Recorded delivery letters already in the post.

They are so fast to calculate, demand payment and assume payment can be met. Yet they cannot forecast and include my future utility bills and the rest. They have already increased my brother's monthly Direct Payments contribution.
All I can say that I am grateful that my parents raised me to question and challenge things, more so when they do not feel right. It has saved me from a lot of trouble over the years especially financially.

I cannot afford to stress myself about it. It would only reflect badly on my brother and both our hearts are precious.

Erolly

I will keep you posted.

Re: Council Tax exemptions query

Posted: Wed May 18, 2022 6:22 pm
by bowlingbun
Make a "Subject Access Request" to the council, you should be able to do it online.
Ask for copies of their calculations of your CT exemptions for the last five years.
They are legally required to provide this information within about a month.
See the Information Commissioners website for full details.