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Approximately 6.5 million people meet the eligibility criteria for claiming council tax benefit, which is far more than are entitled to claim any of the other government benefits. This makes council tax the biggest single determinant of benefit dependency in the UK. Although 4.5 million people claim council tax benefit it still has a lower take up rate than any other benefit. Only about 60% of pensioners and 50% of owner occupiers claim the council tax benefit they are entitled to. It is estimated that as many as 1.7 million pensioners that are entitled to it may not be claiming it. One of the reasons for the low take up is the perceived stigma of being a benefit claimant, particularly among pensioners - the feeling many pensioners have that they will be relying on state handouts, and to be a benefit claimant conflicts with their feelings of pride and self reliance. It creates a sense of failure and in order to avoid this they struggle on sometimes living in poverty rather than endure the stigma of benefit dependency. Many people who have been financially independent throughout their working lives find that when they retire they are expected to go on benefits – just to pay tax, and this is something they often find unacceptable. Council tax benefit dependency can be a disincentive to work for people of employment age, because earnings can result in them losing some or all of their council tax benefit. In this way the tax can contribute to the unemployment trap.






Council Tax Benefits Charges Rates Bands Exemptions

Copyright (2007)