War Pension New Council Tax Scheme

Discussion in 'Armed Forces Pension Scheme' started by Biscuit Dunker, Mar 13, 2013.

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  1. Hi,

    Have been lurking for about a week looking through the site, but have seen no answer to my question, so here goes......

    After 10 years in the RAF I was medically discharged in 1996, received 2 pensions, war pension 40% and xafinity paymaster. Moved back up north and was introduced to a welfare advisor, had no idea these people even existed, fantastic guy, helped me get my war pension increased to 60% and told me about the council tax benefit. Up until then I had been paying full council tax, not knowing that as a war pensioner living alone I was entitled to have a full disregard.

    Although it wasn't easy, my local council blocked me every step of the way, losing documents, and forms on a number of occasions, two home visits that were completely and utterly humiliating, as they sat on my sofa grilling me going through 3 months worth of recent bank statements, every cash withdrawl was questioned. Their reasoning for this was to prove I had no savings and that I only received the 2 pensions and no other income. My welfare advisor was amazing, and intervened on several occasions on my behalf. Without him in my corner I doubt I would have got through that experience. This is just a small taste of the nightmare I had with them, would be here forever if I mentioned all that went on.

    The new council tax is about to come in, and I have been informed that although my war pension is still fully disregarded they are classing my xafinity pension as earnings and I now have to pay £2.63 a week.

    Unfortunately the advisor I mentioned has now retired, I have done a lot of ringing around, but no-one can advise me, the closest I've had to an answer so far is "it seems it's down to your local council what they disregard and what they don't". I've asked them for a full break down of the figures and an explanation as to why they now class the xafinity as earnings, but I got the run around as usual.

    Is anyone else going through this? Quite simply I don't trust my council to tell me the truth, if this is on the level then fine I've no objection to paying, but I would feel greatly relieved if I heard it from you guys, people I know I can trust.

    Many thanks for your time and for any replies.
  2. The government has changed the rules on council tax and, I believe, it is now down to individual councils what they offer as discounts etc.

    I seriously doubt your council would lie to you, but what may happen is a lack of knowledge/understanding of the rules because they're new. One way to help yourself if you truly believe they are lying is to write to them and keep their responses to use against them.

    Have you spoken to your local British Legion or local SSAFA office yet as they may either be able to help as they'll have local knowledge or be able to advise who to speak to locally?
  3. the new rules are that you must pay a minimum of 20% of your council tax bill, there is an exemption for oap's and those on WDP who receive CAA (so more than 60%)

    there are exeptions for people who get dla +carers allowance (high rate only)

    and then there is help for those in work to receive up to the 80% of help

    there is help for those wiht income not derived soley from state benefits up to the 80% mark

    if theres anything left in the pot the benefit bumbs get helped out as well (there no longer entitled to anything automatically )

    this means that your council has assessed you correctly and offerd you the corrrect pro rate allowance, my council wants 20% off me as well its fair even if its not what we are used to ...

    the changes should of been notified ot you via a leaflet in february, they should also be detailed on your annual review paperwork from the council,

    by contrast the benefit bumb next door with the same familly size etc has to pay 80% of there council tax bill as there only being given 20% help which according to the "cap" is going ot be broadly similar for all benefit bumbs

    **there might be a service offered (but not advertised) where a person in certain circumstances will be able to get help wiht the last 20% as well but that will be advisable to those who qualify for it by the people administering the scheme, not all areas will have this**
  4. I know for a fact that newcastle only disallowed the first £10 of any housing benefit and C.Tax where about 500 yards from me they waved the full amount. But its up too your local council how much they are willing to take off you, which in this climate with tens of millions of pounds that they are not getting any longer is going to be that much tighter.
    But if your getting a SAP its non means tested ?? But that didnt stop my council

    But it might be better if we knew where about up north it is as its a bloody big area :D

  5. @ mj

    the new regulation (effect from trial start or from 1st april)

    is they must ignor the first £10 of both wp and sip/sap but they may at three disgretion ignor more up to the full ammount of the pension, from what i have read most of the tory and libdem councils are ignoring both entirely but most labour councils are sticking to the £10 limit

    that does make it somewhat of a lottery in terms of how your treated and i'll be honest and say that central govt should of decreed the full ammounts of sap/wdp/gip must be ignored, sip should only be given the first £10 allowance in line wiht normal civie rates, this would make the system fair for all, especially when they are obliged to ignor iib enteirley (which is effectivly a civie version of wdp/gip/afip/sap)
  6. my council use to do the same count service pension, not war pension.....then 2 years ago added service to war pension. legion told me most councils do the same
    my council voted to treat WP as OAP
  7. the new regulations have changed a lot of thease "qualifiers" and not all of htem are for the better, in terms of exemptions the govt dropped the ball on a fair few of them but it seems like there trying to fix that as people/pressure groups are alerting them to the mistakes

    hopefully things will be changed further as to what can and cant be counted in terms of income, and instead of being down ot each local authority they will be statutory (like exempting income from war pensions or GIP from counting as income) and changing the discout rate for xafinity payed pensions from a mandatory £10 to £30 (inflation and all that) the discount rate hasnt changed since it was originally set in the 70's only that they should offer it.....
  8. my council are letting all WP have the full allowance also not taking into account service pension ....... think you will findiib as you call it is not ignored

    the regulations only said OAP to protected the rest was down to local vote

    I agree its a lottery and having read many of the local council minutes on the meetings to decide local policy (long story) one reason that came up again and again why most councils would only do what they had to do was fear of people moving to the area if they charged less than others ie medway was worried what maidstone would do as was many London Boroughes
  9. tat article is promoting the idea that if all the scroungers who dont live in north tynside refuse to pay there council tax on the grounds of unaffordability there will be no repercussions.

    it will be like the poll tax refusers in the 80's, all the ringleaders will get 20+ years everyone else will be told to pay up or face jail time.......

    a few (relativly speaking) chose jail a tiny fraction had there case overturned on the grounds of finacial ability to pay and the remainder paid before going ot court.....

    mind you its websites promoting the idea that non payment is an option that are going to cause a lot of the problems, most of the so called poor will just forgo buying themselves and littel jonny the latest in chavalog fashion (whihc is where most of hte debt comes from anyway)

    not that its a real issue of affordability, a familly will recive 500£ a week split between there benefits (not dicussing the exempt in this) from that they must pay there bills, food, transport (if required) rent +council tax now having a family of 6 and having survived on far less for the last few years i cnat see it being a major problem (of ocurse i dont buy my kids fashion crap from chavalog's) and since my rent allowance untill the last 9 months wasnt the ful ammount i've been responcible for paying it monthly in advance and reciveing fortnightly in arrears anyhow.

    average bills (from govt website) are about £440 a month, food for 6 is about 650 a month clothing travel and personal care for 6 works out at 150 a month entertainments at 100 a month thats a grand total of 1340 a month leaving them 660 a month for rent and council tax if there in debt the fist things ot go should be the consessionary items like entertainments and fashion gear not the bills

    its not a problem for the state if the claiments are in debt, its a problem for the claiments, and you should always pay your bills +rent /ctax then buy the food and after that pay off your debts, dont forget that there also getting free school meals for the kids, there also getting free prescirptions, there also getting meal vouchers to use during school holidays so there real food spend should be closer to 400 a month especially as there only provideing a cerial breckfast (if any) and a samwidge tea (if any)

    all articles like this do is to faun to the pro bumbs, most councils had indicated that they would run a social fund to allow for those worst off, this will now be in jepordy beacuse too many will feel its there god given "right" to get a free ride ad infinitum
  10. Hi,

    A big thank you to everyone for taking the time to respond. And a big "sorry" for my tardiness in replying, I did attempt to read some of the replies early yesterday evening but I was having one of my bad days and couldn't concentrate or take on board what was said, think most people on here understand that one unfortunately. So again sorry.

    I feel very much relieved that this is on the level and I'm not the only one affected by it. There was very little information coming from the various agencies I had rung, no-one seemed to know exactly what it meant for us. But having lurked on your board for over a week I saw just how knowledgeable you are, and decided if anyone would know it would be you guys. I greatly appreciate your replies, and the obviously fantastic work you do on these boards, I certainly know were to come in future.

    As I said previously I have no objection to paying. My bin men alone are worth every penny, they have been fantastic to me, as I find it difficult to move the bins they help me out a lot, which is something they don't have to do, so I'm very grateful to them. It's the small things in life that keep me going. :-D

    I can afford a small amount but financially it would cripple me to pay it in full. I'm approaching the time were I will need a mobility scooter and am looking into that at the moment, which means I might have to move home as I have no-where securely to store it, also I understand my electric bill will increase because you need to charge it. Plus bigger home more expenses. I own the flat I'm in now, so my future is financially unstable at the moment, which obviously is another reason I need this clarified. Lots of things to think about on that front.

    My local council is labour, has been for a number of years. Although who knows after the next local elections.

    Probably think I'm an arse licking by now, but without people like yourselves looking out for us and taking the time to help, which you don't get paid to do, many of us would be lost. I have lost count of over the years of agencies I have rung who have given me conflicted information, had me chasing my tail and left me completely confused. So yet again Thank You.
  11. If you have a ground floor flat contact your local council and see if you qualify for a disabilities grant of up too 30k in some areas. They can put in ramps etc but this might only be for electric wheelchairs. You can get more information from your local adult disability services.

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  12. well if your likely to move in the future perhaps it might be an idea to hop into a more equitable area (in terms of allowances and help) i do know that moving is stressfull all on its own but if you own the current dwelling could possibly get enough from the sale of that to pay for the items you need (if you have a sound finacial plan that eliminates your capital in this regard you can get free housing and assisstence and if your offering ot fund part of any conversion costs (like the secure shed for your scooter) to meet your needs some councils will be more than happy to have you, theres nothing to loose by asking and a good point ot start with would be ssaffa or any of the other specialist forces charities, sometimes i believe the RBL helps out with this as well often acting as liason and adviser for those less able vets

    i wouldnt worry too much about which council area though really, its more important that you can afford to live (i have ot coff up £35 a month from1st april cos i got some faddy eco house that costs just as much in gas n leccy as the shitty draughty sfa did)
  13. Hi Madjock72,

    Many thanks for your reply. Yes it's a ground floor flat, stairs are not fun for me. I can't externally alter the building more's the pity, leasehold problems, and the way the door is angled you couldn't get a scooter inside, you walk in the front door and there is a wall directly in front of you, you have to turn to the right to enter into the property. There is no way of altering the doorway unfortunately. I wouldn't be able to get a big scooter through the door it's not wide enough, it would have to be one of those fold down types but I would have to lift the scooter inside, which I simply couldn't do. I live alone no kids in a very tiny one bed flat, so storing even a fold down one in the flat would be a problem. Got a grant to have the bathroom altered from a bath to a shower, and had to take on a loan to make other internal alterations to make it easier for me to get around, which I am still paying off, I wasn't eligible for any other grants at the time.

    I have a garage space at the rear, but have been told it will cost a several thousand to build a brick garage, which I would have to take a loan on for as I don't have those kinds of funds, and I could be liable for further tax from the council as it's not attached to the flat and would be classed as a separate building. I could build a pre-fab type for a couple of thousand but according to my local police officer they are not very secure, easily broken into. We have open plan communal gardens so the garages are easily accessible to all including criminals. No fences, gates or perimeter planting, all things mentioned by the police, I would personally love it to be more secure, not getting any younger! But it's cost, living in flats everything has to be agreed by the property management company and the residents, as any security put in place would be shared equally amongst everyone. Which at the the moment is a touchy subject with the residents as everyone has their own personal financial problems.

    I'm in talks with my property management company at the moment trying to come up with a workable solution, not only about the garage and lack of security but also about the fact I would have to run electric from my flat to the garage, which would have to be piped through, not an extension lead out the back window of the flat. The garage space is a good 30 foot a way from my bedroom window. Oh the joys, wish I'd had the good sense to buy a bungalow lol.
  14. i dont know where you live but have you thought of flogging the place and getting somewhere more appropriate to your needs as you now are aware there likely to make things more difficult with time,

    if your in a nice area then flats can often fetch a premium, and if your in a desireable location (like richmond near the rail station) it could be worth significatly more than the price of a bungalo somewhere else