What are the changes to council tax benefit?
From April 2013, Council Tax Benefit has been abolished and replaced in Scotland by a Council Tax Reduction scheme.
The schemes vary from area to area but you can find more information about how to claim in Dumfries and Galloway here.
The new reduction scheme mirrors the old benefit scheme so all claimants will see no changes to the level of council tax assistance paid in 2013/2014.
The scheme is still means tested, with claims received and processed by Dumfries and Galloway Council in the same way that council tax benefit was. 10% less funding has been provided from the UK Government but the Scottish Government has stepped in to cover the shortfall for 2013/2014.
Dumfries and Galloway Council is following the Scottish Government‘s scheme.
First of all, make sure you are eligible to claim this type of support. You can check your eligibility here.
If you are successful and you are eligible to government support with the cost of housing or council tax, you can apply here.
Should you require any assistance, please phone 030 33 33 3006 to speak to an advisor who can help. Lines are open 9am until 5pm Monday to Friday.
As the new scheme is not a benefit, but is a reduction, appeals relating to council tax reduction claims and processing are dealt with by the Valuation Tribunal Service at a higher level.
It will be up to Dumfries and Galloway Council to choose how to operate the scheme in 2014/2015. This is because the UK government is reducing the amount of money available and instead is asking local councils across the country to run their own schemes.
If you have any questions, you can contact DGHP via our website or by calling our service centre on 0800 011 3447 (Freephone) or 0845 606 3447 (lo-call). You can also visit any of our open offices where you can speak to our staff privately and in confidence.
DGHP can also signpost you to other organisations who can help:
Dumfries and Galloway Council Call the council on 030 33 33 3006, this puts you straight into the queue for housing benefit queries.
Dumfries and Galloway Council’s Financial Inclusion and Assessment Team, you can call them on 030 33 33 3008 or email the team by clicking here.
Dumfries and Galloway Citizens Advice Service (DAGCAS) or find your local office below:
Annan: 19A Bank Street, Annan, DG12 6AA or you can call them on 0300 303 4321
Castle Douglas: 3 St Andrew Street, Castle Douglas, DG7 1DE or you can call them on 0300 303 4321
Dumfries: 81-85 Irish Street, Dumfries, DG1 2PQ or you can call them on 0300 303 4321
Stranraer: 23 Lewis Street, Stranraer, DG9 7AB or you can call them on 0300 303 4321
Welfare Rights is a Dumfries based charity, set up to help local people with benefits and welfare issues.
You can visit the staff for support at 63-65 Friars Vennel, Dumfries, DG1 2RQ. Or you can give the team a phone on 01387 266888 to talk to one of their highly experienced advisors.
Alternatively, you can email firstname.lastname@example.org.