The £150 council tax rebates have hit most bank accounts now for those who pay by direct debit. But, if you do not pay council tax by direct debit and are waiting for your payment, then you may need to take action now to apply for your rebate - some councils have deadlines in place. We explain what local authorities are doing, when to expect your £150 rebate and what you should do if you are still waiting.
Around 20 million households in England, 1.9 million households in Scotland and a million households in Wales living in council tax band A-D will receive the £150 council tax refund to help cope with the cost of living crisis. This money does not need to be paid back.
Despite initial delays in making the rebate payments which were expected in April, the majority of local authorities have now paid everyone who pays council tax using direct debit. But, if you do not pay by direct debit, then you will have to do one of the following to claim it:
- Go to your council's website to apply for the £150 rebate. In many cases, you will either need a unique code or link sent to you securely in the post. Some councils have a deadline for applications 9see below iof some examples, where you now have until 31 July to claim), so you should apply as soon as possible.
- If you have been sent a letter from the Post Office, take it to a local Post Office with the requested ID and you will be given the money. The vouchers will have an expiry date of around three months, so get to your local Post Office (opens in new tab) as soon as possible.
- Some councils are sending a cheque, so check your mail.
- Some councils will credit your council tax bill - again, check your council's website to see what it is doing.
- If you were expecting to be paid automatically, check that you are in fact paying by direct debit and not a standing order. If you pay by standing order, you will not have had the payment made to you automatically and may need to apply for it via your council's website.
Some local authorities have a deadline for non-direct-debit paying residents. For example, Brent council has a deadline of 31 July for non-direct-debit paying residents to respond to a letter that it has posted about the £150 rebate. If it doesn’t hear from them by this date, it will automatically credit £150 to their council tax account instead.
Similarly, Derby council has a deadline of 31 July to go to its website and apply (opens in new tab). If a you are a resident for Derby and miss this deadline, you will still get the £150 rebate via a PayPoint voucher by 25 July that can be exchanged for cash at PayPoint location.
In some areas the deadline for non-direct-debit paying residents to claim has passed. This is includes Leeds. Leeds council told us those who missed the deadline will either have £150 credited to their council tax accounts or receive a voucher that can be redeemed at a Post Office. If you have a balance of over £150 on your current council tax account you’ll have the rebate credited to your account. If you have a balance below £150 you’ll get a voucher redeemable at the Post Office.
When will I get the £150 council tax rebate?
The Department for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities (opens in new tab)said the £150 council tax rebates must all be paid by 30 September 2022.
Most councils are not taking calls about the £150 refund, but many have set up a dedicated email address for any queries related to the rebate, so check your council's site if you have not yet been contacted but believe you qualify.
We looked at the websites of a number of local authorities to see what they are doing to pay those who are not on direct debit and when they expect to send payments. This is what we know so far.
- Barnet Council - You should have received a letter in June from the Post Office with a barcode on it. Take the letter and ID to any Post Office to get your £150 cash payment
- Barrow Borough Council - The council is writing to residents once it ‘works out a process’ for non-direct debit payers
- Bedfordshire Council - Households were sent a letter in June from the Post Office with a voucher that can be exchanged for cash. You have three months to cash the voucher in at the Post Office
- Brent Council - The council has written to anyone who does not pay by direct debit. If it has not heard from them by 31 July 2022, it will automatically credit £150 to their council tax account
- London Borough of Bromley - You will get a letter to you to invite you to provide your bank details. It is a secure online application process and you can only access the application by using the website address provided in the letter
- Cambridge City Council - It will be contacting non direct-debit payers in June and July
- South Derbyshire District Council - You will have to apply for the payment, details for which will come in a letter. If you set up a direct debit and your first payment is in July, then you too will now have to apply for the payment and it will not be paid automatically
- Ealing Council - Non-direct debit payers who have applied for it have been paid. If you are waiting, fill in the applications sent to you as soon as possible
- Gedling Borough Council - We do not yet know when payments will be made as the council is ‘working out the system’. It is worth setting up a direct debit to get the payment automatically, but check the council's site regularly for updates
- London Borough of Haringey - You will get a Post Office voucher in June/July which can be exchanged for cash
- Leeds City Council - The deadline to apply has passed. You will instead get credit to your council tax account or be sent a Post Office voucher. Note: some residents have been paid twice in error and will have to pay it back. This can be done via its website too (opens in new tab)
- Lewisham Council - You will get a letter detailing how you can apply for the payment
- Manchester City Council - The Post Office has started sending out letters with a voucher that can be exchanged for cash at a Post Office. All the letters have been sent out, so contact the council as soon as possible if you have not heard anything.
- Portsmouth City Council - You can apply for it via its website (you will need a secure code sent to you via the post)
- Royal Borough of Greenwich - If you didn’t have a direct debit before April 2022, you need to apply for it via its website
- London Borough of Southwark - the council will have sent you a Post Office Payout voucher via post by the week beginning 20 June which you'll need to redeem at your local Post Office.
- West Suffolk - The council is writing to residents this month to confirm details before a payment is made
- City of York - You can apply for it on the council’s website now
Councils have put in extra security measures, like sending you a unique code to use when you apply online via council websites, to help protect you from council tax scams.
Will I qualify for the £150 council tax rebate?
Around 80% of English households, 73% of Scottish households and 73% of Welsh households will benefit, but it will depend on which council tax bracket you are in.
Everyone in bands A to D in England, Scotland and Wales will get the rebate because the government is trying to target those most likely to require support.
In Wales, the £150 payment will also be made to households in council tax bands E to H, which are in the council tax reduction scheme. This is unlike in England and Scotland where people who do not pay council tax would not receive the rebate.
You can check your council tax band with your local council or via the government’s postcode checker. Think you might be in the wrong tax band? Take a look at our article on how to check your council tax band and challenge it.
Who doesn't qualify for the £150 council tax rebate?
If you are in council tax bands E to H in England and Scotland, then you won’t get the rebate unless you are considered vulnerable or on a low income.
A £144m pot of cash - known as the 'Discretionary Fund' - is being launched through local authorities in England. They can use this to offer 'top-up' payments to vulnerable households in council tax bands A - D.
How this discretionary fund is spent depends on the individual council but there is no limit to the amount that can be paid per household.
Gedling Borough Council, for example, will pay an extra £23 to households who are in bands A to D that are receiving council tax support (giving a total rebate of £173), as well as making £173 payments to those households receiving council tax support in properties with a band higher than D.
If you fall into the vulnerable or low income category, it’s worth contacting your local authority to ask about the extra financial support.
Anyone with a second property with council tax bands A to D will not qualify and the council tax rebate is not payable on empty properties.
If you are renting and do not pay council tax as part of your arrangement, then you may not get the rebate paid to you. The government plans to consult on how to help renters who do not pay council tax directly.
What other help is available?
Last month, the government introduced a cost of living help package, which includes a £400 energy grant, £150 payment for individuals on disability benefits and £650 for those on low income or mean-tested benefits.
Some households already get a discount on their council tax bill, while others don’t pay any council tax at all. You can find how to get a council tax reduction in our guide.
For example single people receive 25% off their bill while students and some pension credit claimants pay no council tax at all.
If you are on a low income or receiving benefits, you could also be entitled to a reduction on your council tax. For example, if there is a live-in carer who looks after someone with a disability.
It ultimately depends on your local council rules and all boils down to where you live.
If you are looking to tackle higher energy bills, the government is also increasing the number of households who can apply for the warm homes discount, which is worth £150 from October. In Scotland, an additional pot of £10m will also be made available to those struggling to pay their fuel bills via the Fuel Insecurity Fund.
You may also be Interested in: The Wallace family have cut their energy consumption by 30% with targeted heating, dehumidifiers, logs and a new laundry technique while Emily Brookes has cut her £400-a-month energy bill to £235 and is installing a heat pump.
We've joined forces with our friends at Look After My Bills (opens in new tab) on a free money-saving tips email which you can sign up to below.
Kalpana is the Editor of The Money Edit.
She’s an award-winning journalist with extensive experience in financial journalism. Her work includes writing for a number of media outlets, including national papers and well-known women’s lifestyle and luxury titles, where she was finance editor for Cosmopolitan, Good Housekeeping, Red and Prima.
She started her career at the Financial Times group, covering pensions and investments.
As a money expert, Kalpana is a regular guest on TV and radio; appearances include BBC One’s Morning Live, ITV’s Eat Well, Save Well, Sky News and more.
She was also the resident money expert for the BBC Money 101 podcast and co-author of the e-careers personal finance course.
A well-known money and consumer journalist, Kalpana also often speaks at events.
She is passionate about helping people be better with their money, save more and be smarter spenders.
Follow her on Twitter and Instagram @KalpanaFitz.
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