Apply for the Exceptional Hardship Fund (EHF), if you are a working age Wychavon resident who is currently receiving financial support towards your Council Tax.
What is the Exceptional Hardship Fund?
The Exceptional Hardship Fund is something which we provide, if:
- you need to adjust to short-term, one-off financial circumstances
- you are going through difficult one-off events that affect their finances
- you need help to prevent you from going through exceptional hardship
The main features of the fund are that:
- The payments are discretionary
- Residents do not have a statutory right to a payment
- Payments will normally be restricted to 50% of any Council Tax due
- Payments will normally be limited to the relevant amount for a band D property
- Applicants should normally be receiving Council Tax Support at the time the application is made, however, each application will be considered on its own merit
- Any award will be paid directly to the relevant Council Tax account for the current year
- Any payment is to help with exceptional hardship and is time-limited.
We will treat each case fairly and equally in relation to accessibility to the EHF and throughout the decision-making process.
How to apply
Send a letter to us for consideration, explaining your exceptional hardship. Include information as to why you have difficulty paying your Council Tax, what you have done to improve the situation, what stops you finding a solution yourself and how the problem is affecting you and your family.
In order to decide whether or not we can assist you with the EHF, we need to know as much as possible about your situation. Therefore we may ask that you complete a form and provide additional information to support your claim, following your initial request.
How much hardship payment will I get?
We will determine the amount and duration of an award based on the evidence you supply and your individual circumstances.
How will I know if my request has been successful?
If your request is successful, we will notify you about how much you have been awarded and how long your award lasts. We aim to notify you of our decision within 28 days of receiving your form. The amount awarded will depend on your circumstances and the reason it has been awarded.
If your request is not successful we will write and tell you and explain why. As an EHF award is not a payment of Council Tax Support, and are therefore not subject to the statutory appeal process. There is a separate right to appeal against the amount liable under section 16(1) of LGFA 1992 to the Valuation Tribunal.
If an EHF award is made, you are required to notify us of any changes in circumstance, which may be relevant to you continuing to get an EHF award.
We can stop making an EHF award, and recover any awards already paid if we decide that payment has been made because the information you gave was incorrect, incomplete or an error was made when the claim was decided.
Further information on the Exceptional Hardship Fund (EHF):
Change in circumstances
We may change an EHF payment where the resident's circumstances have changed which either increases or reduces their Council Tax Support entitlement.
Duties of the residents
A person requesting an EHF payment is required to:
- Give us any information we request so we can make a decision
- Tell us of any changes in circumstances that may be relevant to their payment.
We are committed to protect public funds and ensure payments are paid to the people who are rightfully entitled to them. Anyone who claims an EHF payment by falsely declaring their circumstances, providing a false statement or false evidence in support of their application, may have committed an offence. Where we suspect that such an offence may have been committed, this matter will be investigated as appropriate and could lead to criminal proceedings.
Section 9 of the Local Government Finance Bill 2012 amends section 13A of the Local Government Finance Act 1992 and sets out the requirement for local authorities to develop and adopt a localised Council Tax Support Scheme. This EHF forms part of this scheme.
Notification of an EHF decision
We will notify the outcome of each application for EHF payments in writing.
Overpaid EHF payments
We will generally recover EHF payments directly from the resident's Council Tax account, increasing the amount of Council Tax payable
Any EHF payment will be paid directly to the resident's Council Tax account, reducing the amount of Council Tax payable.
The right to dispute a decision
EHF payments are not payments of Council Tax Support, and are therefore not subject to the statutory appeal process. There is a separate right to appeal against the amount liable under section 16(1) of LGFA 1992 to the Valuation Tribunal.
What will we consider when making our decision?
We will decide whether or not to award an EHF payment, and how much any award will be. When making this decision we will consider:
- The amount of Council Tax to be paid
- Whether all eligible Council Tax discounts, exemptions and reductions have been applied
- Whether we can change payment methods, Council Tax installments or set alternative payment arrangements in order to make them affordable
- Steps taken by the resident to identify and reduce non-essential expenditure
- The personal circumstances, age and medical circumstances (including ill health and disabilities) of the resident, their partner and any other household members
- The financial difficulty experienced by the resident, which prohibits them from being able to meet their Council Tax payments, and the likely length of time this difficulty will exist
- Income of the resident, their partner and any other household members including those which are disregarded when awarding Council Tax Support
- Any savings or capital that might be held by the resident or their partner
- The exceptional nature of the resident and/or their family's circumstances that impact on finances
- The amount available in the EHF at the time of the request
When will the fund not be awarded?
The EHF is an emergency fund, whilst the resident seeks alternative solutions. It will not be awarded for the following circumstances:
- For any reason, other than to pay Council Tax
- Where we consider that there are unnecessary expenses and/or debts and that the customer has not taken reasonable steps to reduce these
- To reduce any Council Tax Support recoverable overpayment
- A shortfall caused by a Department for Work and Pensions sanction or suspension that has been applied because the resident has turned down work/interview/training opportunities
- When Council Tax Support is suspended.