Find out if you need to claim it or not.
In April 2022, any homes banded A, B, C or D will be entitled to a £150 rebate via their Council Tax as help towards energy bills, and others will be able to apply.
But exactly how and when you’ll get the cash can be a mystery. Here’s what you need to know right now.
Who can get the rebate?
The scheme is running in England, Wales and Scotland. Similar levels of funding are provided to Northern Ireland too, which doesn’t have Council Tax.
Those who live in a house with a Council Tax band of A to D are entitled to the cash, as long as:
- The property was officially banded A to D before 1 April 2022
- It’s their main residency
You’ll also be eligible if you get a discount or don’t pay under “exemptions N, S, U or W”. This effectively means the following households will also get £150, as long as the property is still banded A to D:
- Students only
- Under 18s only
- Severely mentally impaired
- A dependent relative living in an annex
I’ve also seen that if you get a Disabled Band Reduction that brings you from E to D you’ll qualify automatically, though it’s worth double checking this is the case with every Council.
In Wales it’s expanded further, and bands E to H who receive Council Tax reduction will also get the rebate, though the cut off date seems to be 15 February 2022.
If you don’t meet any of these criteria then you’ll be able to apply to a discretionary fund – more on this below.
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Will you have to repay the money?
Unlike the £200 coming to energy bills in October, this is yours to keep. You won’t have to repay the money.
How is it paid?
In Scotland the money is taken off your Council Tax bill, but elsewhere it’s slightly different.
For those who pay their Council Tax by Direct Debit, the full amount will be paid straight away to your bank account, and you’ll carry on paying your Council Tax as normal.
Setting up a new Direct Debit could take some time (up to 10 days), so if you don’t want to wait for the money set it up now. The deadline for this will vary from council to council, but there’s hopefully still time for you to do this – check your council website to see what they say. That’s also where you’ll be able to set it up. You just need your bank account number and sort code, along with a Council Tax reference number.
If you don’t have or don’t set up a Direct Debit keep an eye on the post or in your email inbox for requests from your Council so they can set up the payment. This will hopefully happen in early April, but could be later. So if you follow this route don’t expect the money to hit your account for a while.
Be extra careful of attempted fraud here, particularly from scammers on the phone pretending to be from the Council. And If you’re asked to follow a link via an email, I’d personally go direct to the Council’s website and find it there.
When will the money be paid?
Don’t expect it straight away. When it will hit your account varies massively across the country as every Council is doing it differently.
Check your Council’s website and you’ll hopefully get an idea of when to expect it, though I found many that said they’re still working it out.
Realistically it looks like mid-April will be the earliest, though many say by the end of the month. I’ve seen some council websites say it’ll be by the end of May. And that’s for those where it can be sent via a Direct Debit rebate.
If you need to provide your payment details then expect a much longer wait. The rules say it has to be paid by the end of September 2022.
Will it reduce my Council Tax bill?
No, it’s actually nothing to do with your Council Tax, but the government used this system to distribute the cash as it is, in theory if not practice, a way to target those on lower incomes.
How much can you get from the Discretionary Fund?
Councils and local authorities in England, Scotland and Wales have been giving some additional money to distribute as they see fit.
A total of £144 million has been sent to English councils, though each one will get a different amount. You can see the distribution here.
Unlike the main rebate, Councils don’t have to give successful applicants the full £150 – it’s down to each council how much they give out. So you could get less, though there’s the chance you might also get more.
Who can apply to the Discretionary Fund?
Primarily the fund is for anyone in property bands E to H who might be able to get some money. It’s likely those who are most vulnerable are going to be prioritised – for instance people on benefits, very low incomes or those not liable for Council Tax.
Interestingly, even those in bands A to D who have already had £150 might be able to apply for more money. Government guidelines say it’s up to each council, though whatever is decided has to be published.
The Council websites I’ve looked at all say information is coming soon, so keep an eye out for further details. The last date for money to be given out is the end of November 2022.