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Cost of Living Support Scheme

On 15th February 2022 as part of the Welsh Government’s Supplementary Budget a package of measures was announced to help people with the cost-of-living crisis.  The package includes £152M to provide a £150 cost-of-living payment to eligible households (the main scheme) and £25m to provide discretionary support for other purposes related to living costs.

The schemes are intended to provide immediate support as Wales recovers from the pandemic and support households to deal with the impact of increasing energy and other costs.

 

UPDATE – 19th MAY 2022

By 30th April the Council had automatically made a Cost of Living Payment to over 64,000 households who pay their Council Tax by Direct Debit (a total of £9M) and had contacted those households which needed to register for a payment.

Since then the Council made 20,000 payments last week (13th May) and will pay a further 5,000 households this week to those households who have completed their registration form, with  this weeks payments cleared into bank accounts by Friday 20th May 2022.

Student households, Houses in Multiple Occupation and some households exempt from paying council tax for a specific reason have now received letters and the Council is reviewing registrations received from these households in order to start making payments for these cases next week.

Within the next 7 to 10 days the Council will write to all families identified as eligible for a “Family Payment” (see table below) on the basis that they have a child of compulsory school age. The letter will provide details of how to register for a payment.  

Any Council Tax Direct Debit registrations that the Council has received since mid April will not be used to make an automatic Cost of Living Payment. These cases should have received a letter and are invited to register using the online form.

If you have recently informed the Council that you have moved home and were residing in a qualifying property on 15th February 2022 but not received a payment or a letter, the Council will make contact with you in due course to ensure you don’t miss out on the payment.

Details of how the scheme is being delivered in RCT and a more detailed timetable of key dates are set out below:

You can also view frequently asked questions about the scheme.

Main Cost of Living Support Scheme

Qualifying Details

Payment Amount 

Council Tax Direct Debit Payers

Council Tax Non Direct Debit Payers

If you live in a band A to D property and / or if you receive Council Tax Reduction Support as at 15th February 2022

£150.00

You should now have received your payment

  • You should now have received your letter to register for a payment
  • Once you have registered your payment will follow within 28 days;
Discretionary Cost of Living Support Scheme

Qualifying Details

Payment Amount

Council Tax Direct Debit Payers

Council Tax Non Direct Debit Payers

If you live in a band E or F property as at 15th February 2022

£100.00

You should now have received your payment
  •  You should now have received a letter inviting you to register for the payment;
  • Once you have registered your payment will follow within 28 days;
Discretionary Cost of Living Support Scheme

Qualifying Details

Payment Amount

Key Details

Exempt Occupied

£150 (Bands A to D)

 

£100 (Bands E to F)

  • You should now have received your letter inviting you to register for the payment.
  • Once you have registered your payment will follow within 28 days

Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMO’s) & Students

£100

  • You should now have received your letter inviting you to register for the payment.
  • Once you have registered your payment will follow within 28 days

Family payment

£50

  • If you have one or more child(ren) of compulsory school age (see Frequently Asked Questions below) you will be eligible to register for a £50 payment;
  • If your child is “electively home educated” you will also be able to register for a payment
  • You should receive a letter within the next 7 to 10 days and payment will be made within 28 days of registration;
  • Please note it is one payment per family (not per child);

Frequently Asked Questions

Q.  If Councils can identify eligible households and have current bank details for them, can the Cost-of-Living Support Scheme payment be made without the need for confirming details

A.  Yes provided the local authority has satisfied its own requirements.

Q.  I have just received my council tax bill but there are no details of the payment being made against my bill. Should I have had the £150 payment taken off my council tax bill? 

A.  No.  The Cost of Living Support payments are not council tax payments and will not be used to reduce a council tax bill for any resident. The payments will be made to each household who can utilise it accordingly.

Q.  There will be groups of low-income households who are not liable for council tax. Why have these not been included as eligible for the scheme?

A.  This scheme is intended to provide support to those easily identifiable through the use of council tax data.  A Discretionary Scheme is also being provided to assist households who are not liable to pay council tax.

Households can also apply to the Discretionary Assistance Fund if they are experiencing financial hardship. 

Q.  Will the £150 payment affect means-tested benefits?

A.  The DWP has confirmed that payments made under Local Welfare Provision are disregarded in the assessment of Income Support, Income Based JSA and Income Related ESA so these will not be affected.  Universal Credit claimants, will not see their entitlement change as a result of receiving this payment. 

Q.  A householder(s) who has their main residence in England has applied to the scheme for their second property in Wales.  They are liable for paying council tax and are responsible for paying the fuels bills at the property, are they eligible for a payment

A.  No.  The scheme is there to support households in their primary residence only. 

Q.  A householder(s) owns two homes in Wales, are they eligible for assistance through the scheme?

A.  Only in respect of the property they inhabit as a primary residence (if they do occupy one of these properties as their primary residence). 

Q.  A householder(s) lives in a Band E property but receives a Disability Band Reduction which drops the charge to that of a Band D property – are they eligible?

A.  Yes.  The revised band is used in eligibility for this scheme. 

Q.   Is there a target date by which payments should be made?

A.  No.  Councils are encouraged to make payments in a timely manner and as soon as practically possible after a successful decision.

Q.  Can a householder(s) appeal against a decision not to award a payment under the Cost-of-Living Support Scheme? 

A.  No.  There is no right of appeal against a decision not to grant a payment as a refusal will arise because the household does not meet the conditions of the scheme.  Councils should look to reconsider cases where new information may change the outcome, e.g. where a property is retrospectively listed as liable for council tax.

Q. Can I receive the cost of living payment if I have no recourse to public funds?

A. Yes. The cost of living payment (as part of the Energy Rebate Scheme 2022) is excluded from being considered a public fund under paragraph 6.2(i) of the Immigration Rules. This means that it is available to people who have no recourse to public funds, other than those who do not have leave to enter or remain in the UK and fall within one of the cohorts listed under Schedule 3 of the Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Act 2002.

Q. What is the compulsory school age?

A. A child begins to be of compulsory school age the term following their fifth birthday, this being set in law (more information on compulsory school age can be found in the Council’s Starting School booklet at - StartingSchool).  In line with this, if you have one or more children born between 1st September 2005 and 31st March 2017 and reside in Rhondda Cynon Taf, you are eligible for a Family Payment under the Council’s Discretionary Cost of Living Support Scheme. Please note it is one £50 per family (not per child). 

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