Transition to universal credit: Local Council Tax / Rates

Under the Government’s Welfare Reform agenda, Council Tax Benefit, which provided help for people on low incomes towards their council tax, was abolished from 1 April 2013. It was replaced with local council tax support schemes. Support for council tax is therefore outside of the Universal Credit system. This means each local council is responsible for setting and running their own arrangements to support people on low incomes with their council tax bills.

The schemes will run differently in each area. Rightsnet have created a website www.counciltaxhelp.net which is designed to help people find details of the support available locally to help with council tax.

In Northern Ireland there is a system of rates instead of council tax. People on low incomes may be entitled to rate relief and there are also allowances for lone pensioners (people living alone aged 70 or over) and disabled people. More information is available on the NI Direct website.

Updated 16 May 2017