What they don’t tell you about council tax

Applying for council tax support is nearly as much hassle as Universal Credit. They too want my most recent bank statements, and they want proof that my lodger is a student. They too would quite like to see all of this in person.

The problem arises when they ask for evidence of my Universal Credit award – because such evidence does not exist until at least four weeks into the claim, after submitting one’s first monthly earnings. But Council Tax want evidence of Universal Credit within four weeks of applying for council tax support.

It’s fortunate that I didn’t get around to applying for council tax support until a week and a half after starting my claim for Universal Credit.

In the meantime, I have received a letter from ESA, telling me ‘we have looked again at your claim following a recent change’. The letter then proceeds to inform me of five changes that have occurred – my initial claim, the uprating in April 2015, my award of Support Group, the uprating in April 2017, and a reduction in my ESA due to going over the savings threshold.

Nothing about the three changes that have occurred recently – change of address, reduction in savings and my claim for Universal Credit. Nothing therefore about how this affects my claim for ESA, which presumably ended when my claim for UC started.

Tucked in half-way down the second page is a statement of money that I have been issued for a two-week period since starting my claim for Universal Credit. I have no idea why I have been paid this money or what it represents.

On the last page of the letter, I am told what I got paid weekly before the April 2015 uprating.

It’s all very odd and I suppose I will have to phone ESA to find out what’s going on – if they know. When I last spoke to ESA, they told me I would stay on ESA SG until a new assessment under UC, at which point I would transfer to UC at the relevant rate. I know that is wrong, so I’m not confident that ESA will know why they sent me the letter that they did send, let alone what it means.

#counciltax #benefits #welfarereform #UniversalCredit #welfare

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