Cost of Living Support Scheme

Cost of Living Support Scheme

On 15 February 2022, the Welsh Government announced a package of measures to help people with the cost-of-living crisis. This package, worth over £175m, will provide support to households who receive assistance through the Council Tax Reduction Scheme and also households living in properties that fall into council tax bands A, B, C or D, subject to certain other criteria being met.

This scheme to help with the cost of living payments and you should continue to pay your council tax as stated on your latest council tax demand.

This scheme will close at 5pm on 30 September 2022

A payment of £150 can be made to a household under the main scheme if the householder(s) meets one of the following conditions:

A.    Council Tax Reduction Scheme Entitlement Condition

If the household was in receipt of support through the Council Tax Reduction Scheme on the 15 February 2022 a payment of £150 will be made regardless of which band your property is placed in.

B.    Council Tax Band Condition

Households occupying properties in council tax bands A to D are assessed as being entitled to a payment of £150 provided they were:

  • Liable for council tax on the property on 15 February 2022
  • In occupation of the property on 15 February 2022 and at the date of determining the award
  • Living in the property as their main primary residence
  • Not in receipt of an exemption
  • Responsible for paying the associated utility and other regularly incurred bills for the property.

Each household is restricted to only one payment of £150

Only one payment is to be made in relation to any single dwelling under the main scheme. In cases of joint and several liability, only one payment is to be made and it should be paid to the first named person on the council tax bill. Where this is not possible, local authorities have discretion to identify the most appropriate person to whom the payment should be made.

The Council is currently working on the implementation of this scheme and hopes to be in a position to make payments mid-May.

Pembrokeshire County Council will use its Council Tax and Council Tax Reduction scheme records to identify those households eligible for payment.

If current bank details for direct debit payment of council tax are held payment will be made into the relevant bank account in most cases.

Customers who do not pay their council tax by direct debit and are eligible for the payment will receive a letter which will confirm the application process. Please check this page of our website regularly as we will confirm here when the letters are being sent out.

Frequently Asked Questions



I pay by direct debit when will I receive the £150.00 payment?

We hope to be in a position to send the first payments to eligible households who pay their council tax by direct debit mid-May.  Due to the volume of automatic payments, which is over 18000, we plan to undertake weekly payment runs and we will pay you as soon as we can.

 

I don’t pay my council tax by direct debit, how will I get my payment?

A letter will be issued to all eligible households to explain the application process.

Due to the volume of anticipated applications we will be staggering the issuing of these letters so please be patient, we will regularly update our website and post updates on social media.

 

How do I apply and what information will be required?

You will need to complete a short registration process on our website, the details of which will be included in the letter inviting you to apply.

Before you start the registration process, you will need to have:

  • Your bank account and sort code
  • Your letter inviting you to apply as this will include important information which you will need to start the registration process

 

I have recently set up a Direct Debit to pay my Council Tax, will I have an automatic payment?

We will be making automatic payments to those who currently have a direct debit set up and who meet the criteria.  We plan to undertake weekly payment runs and we will pay you as soon as we can.

 

I am not on Council Tax Reduction at the moment, can I apply now and qualify for the cost of living scheme? 

Properties that are bands A to D or if the taxpayer is in receipt of council tax reduction on the 15 February 2022 are eligible for the scheme.  If you were not in receipt of Council Tax Reduction on 15 February 2022 you will not qualify, this reduction can be backdated in exceptional circumstances and is restricted to a maximum period of three months from the date of your request.

 

Can I apply on behalf of someone else if they cannot do it themselves?

Yes, however you should ensure that the person liable for the Council Tax has given you permission to do so. The cost of living payment must be paid into a bank account in the name of the person for whom you are registering for.

For example, if someone applied on behalf of their parent who does not have online access, the payment would be made into the parent's bank account.

 

I live in a Band E property but receive disabled band reduction so pay a Band D charge, will I receive the £150 cost of living payment?

Yes. As you receive a disabled band reduction which takes you down to a Band D, this falls within the criteria of meeting Band A to D and you will be eligible for the cost of living payment. 

 

I live in a Band F property but receive disabled band reduction so pay a Band E charge, will I receive the £150 cost of living payment?

No. As you receive a disabled band reduction which takes you down to a Band E, this does not fall within the criteria of meeting Band A to D and you will not receive the £150 cost of living payment,unless you were in receipt of a council tax reduction (means tested) on the 15.2.22.

 

My Bank Account is overdrawn?

If your bank account is overdrawn you can make a request to your bank that the funds from the cost of living payment are used for particular bills you need to pay rather than being used to clear your overdraft. This is called your 'first right of appropriation'. A sample letter and advice on how to request this with your bank is available on the National Debt Line website. 

 

Do I have to repay the £150?

No. This is a Welsh Government grant to help you with the increases in the cost of living and does not need to be repaid.  However if you are paid and it is later discovered that you did not qualify we will seek to recover this payment.

 

Will the £150 payment affect means-tested benefits?

The Department of Work and Pensions has confirmed that payments under the Local Welfare Provision are disregarded in the assessment of Income Support, Income Based JSA and Income Related ESA so these will not be affected.  Claimants of Universal Credit, will also not see their entitlement change as a result of receiving this payment. 

 

I am a joint tenant/occupier and there is more than one person named on the council tax demand, will the £150 be split?

No.  The payment is one per household and therefore the first named person on the council tax demand will receive the £150, however the payment is to cover the household bills and therefore should be shared with other household members if they are responsible for the bills.

 

How long do I have to apply for this payment?

You have until 5pm on Friday 30 September to apply.

The registration will process will close on this time and date and any requests received after this will not be paid.

 

Can a householder(s) appeal against a decision not to award a payment under the Cost of Living Support Scheme?

No.  There is no right of appeal against a decision not to grant a payment as a refusal will arise because the household does not meet the conditions of the scheme.  Councils should look to reconsider cases where new information may change the outcome, e.g. where a property is retrospectively listed as liable for council tax. 

 

I am not eligible for the main scheme, will I qualify for the discretionary scheme?

Full details of the discretionary scheme are not known at the moment and therefore we are unable to provide any details on who will be eligible at this time. The qualifying criteria will be published as soon as it is available, please keep checking this web page for further details.

 

What happens if my online security key/number has expired?

You can request a new security number by emailing col@pembrokeshire.gov.uk with your full name, address, Council Tax account number.

 

What if I have recently cancelled my Direct Debit?

If you have cancelled your Direct Debit, before the £150 has been transferred into your account, you will receive a letter from us to explain the application process.

Due to the volume of anticipated applications we will be staggering the issuing of these letters, we will regularly update our website and post updates on social media.

 

What if I don’t have a bank account?

If you do not have a bank account and are eligible for the £150 you will need to contact us by emailing col@pembrokeshire.gov.uk with your full name, address, Council Tax account number and we will contact you to discuss alternative options.

 

More detailed information about the scheme can be found on the Welsh Government website

 

ID: 8606, revised 24/05/2022