At a time when more and more vulnerable people are struggling to pay their council tax, it is refreshing to hear that a council in Wales is willing to provide financial help to some of its neediest residents.
The aid being proposed by Swansea Council could see thousands of the city’s pensioners get a council tax windfall of as much as £105.
Extra help will go to elderly residents who currently qualify for partial discount of their council tax if the local authority’s cabinet backs proposals for the use of a Welsh Government Regional Settlement Grant.
Rob Stewart, cabinet member for finance and resources, said: “In these difficult economic times it is good news that the council will be able to utilise this funding to help thousands of pensioners pay their council tax.
“Eligible pensioners need do nothing because we will identify them from our records and send out letters to let them know what the grant means for them.”
More than 3,000 pensioner households would benefit from the proposal to the tune of approximately £105, where the amount of council tax they would otherwise have had to pay is over the amount awarded.
The identity of those benefiting will be obtained from council tax records, so claimants are not required to make an application for payment. Those Swansea pensioners who already qualify for full council tax reduction are unaffected by the proposal.
Mr Stewart stressed that this is not a case of singling out pensioners for preferential treatment at the expense of other needy members of the community, adding that the council’s benefits advice team is on hand to help anyone who may be eligible to claim some form of financial assistance with the paying of their council tax.
Benefits advice team manager Paula Lewis said: “There are many different family situations and taking account of age and income means that customers should not rule themselves out.
“We urge everyone to contact the benefits advice team to have a calculation for their particular circumstances.
“Even a little money off the bill can help and we may even identify other ways where people could save money.”
Experience has shown that local authorities can sometimes be less than proficient at notifying council tax payers of their discount eligibility and charging them accordingly, so if you have any reason to doubt your council tax bill or feel that you could do with some free and independent advice before contacting your council’s benefits advice team, get in touch with Council Tax Advisors today.