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If you're making a new Housing Benefit claim (and are of working age), you may have to claim Universal Credit instead. Use Universal Credit postcode checker to check whether you should be claiming Universal Credit or see our Universal Credit page for more information.

Council Tax Reduction Scheme

If you're on a low income, whether in work, unemployed or retired, you may be able to claim this discount.

If you currently receive Council Tax Reduction

If you are already in receipt of Council Tax Reduction and you have had a change in your circumstances, tell us straight away as you may be entitled to more reduction. You can contact us to report changes in your circumstances.

If you do not receive Council Tax Reduction but want to apply as your earnings have changed

If you do not receive Council Tax Reduction, and your earnings have changed, you may now qualify.

Apply using our online benefit claim and calculator. This will tell you if you're eligible and estimate how much council tax reduction you'd get.

We can also provide a telephone assisted application, contact us to make an appointment. 

Council Tax Reduction Schemes are individual to each council and are reviewed every year.

Who can apply

Anyone who is liable to pay for council tax can apply. Unless you get Guaranteed Pension Credit you won't qualify if you or your partner have savings or investments over £16,000. Our online benefit claim and calculator can tell you if you're eligible and estimate how much you'd get.

Second adult reduction

If your income or savings are too high to receive Council Tax Reduction, you could still get help with your bill. You may qualify for second adult reduction if:

  • you live with another adult who is not responsible for paying council tax
  • they are on a low income and can't help with the bill, and;
  • if they weren't living with you, you would qualify for a single person discount

This person can not be:

  • your partner
  • a joint-tenant or joint-owner
  • someone who pays you for board and lodgings

The most second adult reduction you can get is 25%.

When you apply for council tax reduction, we'll automatically consider second adult reduction as well. You'll get whichever one means you pay less council tax.

What information you need to provide

When you make your application we will tell you what documents we need to see. Our What information should you provide? page gives details of what we might ask for. Please provide the evidence as quickly as you can otherwise this might delay your claim. If you don't get the evidence to us within a month, we may not be able to pay you any council tax reduction at all.

We have a  Icon for pdf Direction on electronic communications (PDF, 74.3kb)  for housing benefit and Council Tax Reduction which lets us legally accept electronic signatures.

What happens next

We'll consider your application and then write to you to tell you:

  • If your claim has been successful or not.
  • Why we made that decision.
  • If successful, how much your bill will be reduced.

If you think we've got anything wrong, let us know straight away.

How the reduction applied

We'll credit your council tax account with any reduction and send you a revised bill for the year showing the new total. We'll usually award it from the Monday after we received your application. We can backdate the reduction by up to 12 months, however, you'll need to show that there were good reasons why you weren't able to apply earlier. If you're a pensioner we'll automatically backdate the reduction by up to three months if you would have been entitled to it during that time.

If you disagree with the decision

If you disagree with our decision, you can:

  • ask us to further explain our decision
  • ask us to look at our decision again

To do this you'll need to write to us, explaining why you don't agree.

Appeal to an independent tribunal

You can make an appeal to the Valuation Tribunal if:

  • We look at our decision again and you still disagree with what was decided, or;
  • You ask us to look at our decision again and we don't reply to you within two months of you contacting us.

The Valuation Tribunal is a free and independent organisation that deals with council tax appeals. 

Universal Credit and Council Tax Reduction

Universal Credit does not include Council Tax Reduction (help with your Council Tax). If you've already applied for Universal Credit and indicated that you are claiming, or intend to claim Council Tax Reduction, we'll be notified of this automatically. We'll use this notification to process your claim and we'll contact you if we need more information, and to confirm your claim.

Tell us if your circumstances change

If any of your circumstances change that could alter how much you pay, you need to let us know as soon as possible. Financial penalties may apply if you pay less when you're not entitled to. See our Report changes affecting your Housing Benefit or Council Tax Reduction page for more information.

Contact us
Council Tax Reduction
03000 262 000
Our address is:
  • Finance and Transactional Services
  • PO Box 238
  • Stanley
  • County Durham
  • United Kingdom
  • DH8 1FP