Can we pay Council Tax Benefit on two properties

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    I’ve got a couple who are occupying 2 semi detached cottages right next to each other. They were going to knock them into one cottage but didn’t due to one partner being ill.
    One partner lives in one cottage with carer and the other partner lives on her own in the other cottage next door. Our Council Tax section have two seperate bandings and are charging tax on both properties. They’ve been awarded pension savings credit as a couple.
    My first instinct is to say that we can only pay ctax benefit on one property, taking the income into account for the whole couple. Would anyone be able to assure me that this is correct or have I missed something?
    Many Thanks

    Carol Meredith

    To be classed as a couple for HB CTB purposes I thought that the partis concerned had to be occupyingthe same household. You say in your posting that the lady lives alone in her cottage, the man in his cottage with a carer. In my humble opinion I think you can treat each as a single person occupying their own dwellings. Presumably each is the sole liable person CT of their own cottage.



    I think Carol’s solution is the most obvious one. The fact that DWP has awarded SC to one of them on the basis that s/he has a partner does not prevent you from treating them as single people if you think you know better; although the AIF restricts your room for manoeuvre in the means-test arithmetic for the one who is the DWP’s claimant (basically you’ll be stuck with a single applicable amount and a couple’s AIF).

    If you were to aggregate them as a couple, you would not be able to award CTB separately to each of them because s134 of the Contributions and Benefits Act prevents different members of the same family from getting the same means-tested benefit (a necessary provision to prevent duplication, but a snag in this particular case). So if you go down the couple route you would have to look at awarding two lots of CTB to the same claimant. This rapidly unravels in confusion: both members of a couple should be jointly liable for CT, so there is no need for a deeming rule in CTB akin to HB Reg 8 (partner of liable person treated as liable for rent); but for billing purposes your authority presumably does not regard these two as jointly liable members of a couple because each has been deemed resident in their own dwelling. I am not sure where that leaves a CTB claim on behalf of the couple – it should be impossible to achieve this situation and so the legislation doesn’t cater for it in the same way that HB Reg 7(6) does for rent.

    Therefore the only workable way forward seems to be to regard the SC position as an anomaly and assess CTB in the same way you have determined liability: allow each of them to claim CTB as a single person, with a slightly unfair means test for one of them unless and until the DWP changes its mind about the SC aggregation.


    I would contact the Pension Service. It is possible they don’t know about the living arrangements and if you explain the situation to them, they may revise the pension credit award (I’m pretty certain the PC regs also require couples to be ‘occupying the same household’. They may have deemed both properties are one household, but I would check beforehand).

    Furthermore, without looking too deeply into the actual figures, I imagine they will both be better off if the pension service treated them as single claimants rather than a couple.


    Thank you to everyone who has posted a reply. Your comments and assistance is very much appreciated.

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