MILLIONS of UK households should now have received a £150 council tax rebate to help with the cost of living.
Yet, many people have not received cash as they had hoped.
Some councils avoided the hassle of paying households in cash and instead added a £150 council tax bill discount to people’s accounts.
If you’ve had a discount applied to your bill rather than a cash payment, you could still withdraw the money.
We explain how you can get the rebate in its cash form – so you can decide which bills you spend it on.
The £150 council tax rebate was announced back in February when the former Chancellor Rishi Sunak introduced a cost of living support package.
All households in England, Scotland and Wales living in council tax bands A-D would be eligible for the payment.
That amounts to around 80% of households in England, the government said.
Payments to eligible households started in April and councils have until September 30 to pay out.
Why have I received the rebate as a bill discount?
The council tax rebate is being paid in a number of ways.
Direct cash bank transfers are the most common way to get the cash in England and Wales.
The vast majority of those that are eligible for the payment and who paid their council tax bill by direct debit on April 1 should have received the payment by now.
However, those who don’t pay their council tax by direct debit will have to apply to get the cash – but many councils have shut their applications to get the money is this way.
Other councils have paid non-direct debit customers the £150 with a redeemable Post Office voucher or cheque. But these methods come with expiry dates and many haven’t collected the cash in time.
As a result, councils have now had to add a £150 credit to these households’ council tax accounts instead.
Interestingly, no Scottish councils paid the rebate in cash and instead issued £150 credits to all eligible council tax accounts.
Why is this a problem?
While the £150 credit to your council tax account may sound helpful – it’s probably not.
Most people pay their council tax ahead of time, whether that’s monthly, quarterly or annually – so if a £150 credit is added to your account it’ll often sit there unused until your next bill.
At a time when energy costs, food bills and rents are hitting new highs, it would be more valuable to have the £150 in cash so you as an individual can decide how best to spent it.
How can I reclaim the £150 payment credit in cash?
If you have had the £150 applied as a discount but want it as cash, there is a way.
You’ll only be able to reclaim the cash if you’re in credit with your council tax bill.
The way to check and reclaim a refund will depend on your local authority.
You can find your council’s contact details on the Gov.uk website.
Some councils offer online council tax refund forms to complete.
For example, all Aberdeenshire Council residents received the rebate as a £150 discount, but you can reclaim the rebate in cash by filling in an online form.
Residents in the London Borough of Ealing can also launch a claim for the cash through an online form.
The London Borough of Waltham Forest will go as far as notifying households who are in credit and request they fill in a form to reclaim the cash.
How long will it take to process the claim?
On average it’ll take your council between 10 and 21 days to first respond to your request for a refund.
If you’re eligible for one then it could take a further four week to get your hands on the £150. However, in most cases you’ll get the money sooner.
The money will usually be paid straight into your bank account – as you’ll have been required to present these details in the claims form.
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