Discretionary hardship payments
Discretionary Hardship Payments may be able to help you if there is a shortfall between the amount you receive in Council Tax reduction and how much you need to pay. Payments can be considered from a small cash limited fund to help you if you are deemed to be vulnerable. Awards can only normally be made for a short period, and will be restricted to the current financial year.
Applicants who are classed as 'vulnerable'
We have defined 'vulnerable' for the purposes of the scheme.
- applicant, partner or resident's dependent child is terminally ill
- applicants under 25 on limited income
- expectant or nursing mothers (with children under age one) on limited income
- any other vulnerable groups
Backdating requests under the scheme can only be considered in limited circumstances.
The Local Authority may also deem any other applicant as vulnerable due to their individual circumstances, this is in accordance with the Discretionary hardship policy (PDF, 281KB).
How to apply
You can apply by printing the below application form and once completed return it to the address on the letter or bring it in to a customer service centre.
How the payment is calculated
All awards are worked out on your income, but we will also include in the calculation any income and savings which you have, including income which we would normally ignore in Council Tax reduction scheme calculations.
We will look at things like:
- your total income
- whether you have any savings
- whether anyone else in the house is able to help financially
- whether you have any loans or debts still to pay
- whether you could rearrange your finances to improve the situation
- whether you or your family have any special circumstances, such as ill health or disability.
Maximum payments and awards
The maximum amount and the duration of an award will be decided on a case by case basis, and will depend upon the funds which are available. Priority will be given if you have long term plans to improve your situation and the payment will help in the short term. The maximum amount which can be considered is the shortfall between your Council Tax Reduction scheme award and your Council Tax liability.
Notifying you of our decision
You will be advised in the quickest and most appropriate way. You will receive a letter with the outcome of your application.
If you are successful, the amount will be credited to your Council Tax account, along with any Council Tax reduction.
What you can do if you don't agree with our decision
The scheme is discretionary and there is no legislative right of appeal. You may request a review if you disagree with the award.
There is no right to a review if the discretionary hardship payment has been refused because:
- the Discretionary Hardship Payment fund budget is exhausted. Funds will be monitored and requests will be declined if the limit is reached.
- you do not meet the eligibility criteria
A request for a review must be made in writing within one calendar month of the decision notification. The request should include details of why you consider that the decision should be revised, but if they are for the reasons listed above the review will not be considered.
The request will be reviewed by a more senior officer who will confirm the outcome of the review in writing, usually within one calendar month of the request being received.
The decision is final and binding although any complaints regarding the way the application process has been dealt with should be made in writing to our corporate complaints team.