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Anyone heard about new changes to c'tax benefit and having to pay 20% when on benefits?

(72 Posts)
zumbaholic Thu 24-Jan-13 13:35:23

Thats it really, has anyone else heard of these changes? I found out about them today, apparently people of working age(under60) will have to start paying 20% towards their council tax becuase of money deficits within councils.
The thing worrying me is the child maintainance aspect, they will now count this as a income and people will be means tested. I think thats shocking since no other organisation counts child maintainance as income as its for the upkeep of the children.

On ringing the information line, they couldnt give me any more information or tell me when this may be put in place but im assuming it could be this aprilconfused

CogitoErgoSometimes Thu 24-Jan-13 14:02:13

I found this story about a plan like that from Birmingham council. Whether it is applicable more widely I don't know.

HappyMummyOfOne Thu 24-Jan-13 18:30:26

If your ex lived with you his income would count so seems very fair they include child maintainance as then its fair on couples and single people.

20% is not much to ask for all the services provided and still 80% less then most people pay.

Booyhoo Thu 24-Jan-13 18:35:22

the reason CM isn't counted is because historically when it was counted it ended up costong the state far more in reassessing claims week in week out due to NRPs not paying or changing the amounts. it worked out less expensive to just not count it in calculations.

mercibucket Thu 24-Jan-13 18:35:59

I don't know why child maintenance isn't always taken into account. Surely if the 2 parents lived together it would be.
I am also in favour of everyone paying a contribution towards council tax as then everyone who votes in local elections has more of a financial interest in what the council does, but it is cruel to do it whilst simultaneously cutting benefits.
I think each council will be making its own rules about this btw so you could lobby your councillors

tbh, I think child maintenance should be taxable/accountable for the recipient and deductable for the payee. It seems mad that someone could be getting a lot on top but still qualify for benefits/top ups.

By any logic of course CM SHOULD be included in income - maintaining our children is what parents spend a proportion of income on grin It just hasn't been cost effective to count it before. Obviously now it is - or it's politically expedient to do so. Another crap coalition policy which will disproportionally disadvantage women. 20% of some council tax can be a pretty large sum of money......

Booyhoo Thu 24-Jan-13 18:45:36

taxable child maintenance? it has already been taxed in the NRP's income. it isn't payment for a service! it's the NRP's contribution to their child's upbringing.

expatinscotland Thu 24-Jan-13 18:48:02

I think there needs to be a way for maintenance to be counted.

expatinscotland Thu 24-Jan-13 18:48:39

It's not being taxed, it's being factored into your benefit entitlement.

Booyhoo Thu 24-Jan-13 18:51:06

i was responding to notactually who suggested it should be taxable from the CS recipient.

MN044 Thu 24-Jan-13 18:51:34

it's a very recent change that maintenence isn't counted anymore. Certainly within the last 4 years. The reasons i think are good ones- non resident parents can dick around with maintenence from month to month leaving you not only without the maintanance,but without the benefits as well. I know many many people (let's face it, women) who this was a real problem for. But yes it does mean that you can be eligable for benefits and yet be getting hundreds of pounds a month on top.

Booyhoo Thu 24-Jan-13 18:53:31

and before they can count CS in benefit entitlement they need to come up with a way of making sure it's paid in the first place. but of course that would require effort and spending on the govt. part and it's just too easy to take it from the person they can keep tabs on.

JuliaScurr Thu 24-Jan-13 18:56:24

Happy 'All the services' are also being cut - disabled day-centres, Sure Start centres, social servivices, libraries- you name it. Along with the cuts go the jobs. All those made unemployed (mainly women) will be able to use the free time looking after all the people who now have no council services. Welcome to the Big Society.

George Osborne's last budget gave all those on £1million p/a a £45,000 tax cut.

Booyhoo - my post also suggested it should be tax deductible for the payee, so it wouldn't be taxed twice. Might be an incentive to pay it? Also, it would only be taxed it it was part of your taxable income.

CarriedAwayAnnie Thu 24-Jan-13 19:05:10

Child maintence isn't counted as it isn't reliable income.

If the NRP decides not to pay then the RP and the child suffer.

Labour tried to do it but it simply doesn't work, and won't work until they can find a way to ensure the NRP always pays.

For example if NRP doesn't pay and the RP has had her housing benefit cut to include Child Maintence payments then how does the RP afford her rent?

Booyhoo Thu 24-Jan-13 19:05:58

if it was made tax deductible for NRPs then 15% of pwc income would also have to be tax deductable.

and no it shouldn't be taxed for pwc, it isn't money earnt or payment for any service. if you want to play by the same rules as if it were a couple together then it wouldn't be tax deductible for either and one partner wouldn't be expected to pay tax on their own and 15% of their partner's income with the partner having to pay no tax on that amount.

Booyhoo Thu 24-Jan-13 19:08:24

you would essentially have PWC paying their own and their EX's income tax on that 15% how is that right?

CarriedAwayAnnie Thu 24-Jan-13 19:09:51

And tbh if they did count CS payments, most people would just go off the books.

My friend agreed with her ex to recieve less money from him in order for him not to tell the CSA he was paying her anything.

Suited them both. He paid less, she got the full amount of benefits as she wasn't officially receiving anything.

Booyhoo Thu 24-Jan-13 19:11:08

carried it would also affect their tax credit and income support/job seekers allowance claims if it were to be adjusted every time the amount changed/disappeared. you would end up with people not receiving anything other than CB for weeks at a time while they system tried to add up what they were entitled to. it would be absoloute chaos. and people would be applying for crisis loans left right and centre in order to survive.

Booyhoo Thu 24-Jan-13 19:12:18

how long ago was this carrie?

gallicgirl Thu 24-Jan-13 19:18:13

These changes have been in the pipeline for over a year. Council's consulted several months ago and most had their plans agreed before Christmas.

Central government has cut funding by 10% and told councils to protect pensioners. If you live in an area with a lot of pensioners on benefit, you might want to think about moving!

MN044 Thu 24-Jan-13 19:21:01

But why are pensioners protected, and not other more vulnerable people too? I'm sure it's no picnic to be living on a pension, but nor is life on benefits. Is it because pensioners are more likely to be tories? If they start counting maintenance towards council tax it'll raise the question of why funds are available to process that data, but not to assess which pensioners actually need their winter fuel payment hmm

CarriedAwayAnnie Thu 24-Jan-13 19:29:23

The dc was in infants Booyhoo and is now 17 so a fair few years ago.

CarriedAwayAnnie Thu 24-Jan-13 19:30:45

Lone parents on income support will be playing £11 a month in this area.

Jellykat Thu 24-Jan-13 19:51:16

I must just add that councils in Wales are not cutting council tax benefit.

LuluMai Thu 24-Jan-13 20:05:50

Of course it should count and of course you should pay something. I've raised ds alone since birth and always worked and paid full council tax, less single person's discount. Never received a penny from his dad. Why should I have to contribute and you not?

CarriedAwayAnnie Thu 24-Jan-13 20:10:11

We're losing single person discount here I think.

Do you not receive your wage some months then LuluMai just like a RP might not receive her maintenance from the NRP? Are you both in the same boat?

chickensarmpit Thu 24-Jan-13 20:14:58

If you use a service then you should pay for it. I'm sick of paying it mind. It's a bill I would love to not pay but I don't fancy going to prison. Everyone should at least have to pay a contribution. It's not fair that it's always left to the workers.

CarriedAwayAnnie Thu 24-Jan-13 20:25:07

Yes but to count child maintenance is madness.

chickensarmpit Thu 24-Jan-13 20:27:54

That money should be to feed and clothe the children. I'm sick to death of being turned upside down and shaken for cash by this government. We're all skint, we can't exactly pull it out of our arses can we.

CarriedAwayAnnie Thu 24-Jan-13 20:30:29

I think the fact it's unreliable is reason enough not to count it.

Wallison Thu 24-Jan-13 20:33:54

A lone parent with one child receives around £125 a week. Out of that, they are already having to fund part of their rent (due to cuts in housing benefit) as well as their living costs. And now they are going to have to fund part of their council tax as well. What was that about pulling it out of your arse again?

kilmuir Thu 24-Jan-13 20:36:41

all sounds fair.

HappyMummyOfOne Thu 24-Jan-13 20:51:49

Pensioners are unlikely to be able to work so are protected for that reason I presume. Not sure if i agree or not as some may have already taken a lot from the pot and others may have a decent private pension.

People of working age can choose to work, if a LP decides to live on benefits and not work then thats a choice they make and can hardly complain that they hve to make a contribution towards an essential bill.

Booyhoo Thu 24-Jan-13 20:53:59

are disabled people and carers being protected aswell?

expatinscotland Thu 24-Jan-13 20:54:34

'Out of that, they are already having to fund part of their rent (due to cuts in housing benefit) as well as their living costs.'

Only if they are under-occupying a council or HA property. If they are in a privately-rented home, then they are subject to LHA caps.

gallicgirl Thu 24-Jan-13 21:14:15

The levels of protection depend where you live and if the council is willing or able to fund that protection.
Pensioners are the only people central government have said mustn't pay more council tax than they currently do.
It's then up to local government how they run their own schemes.

In my area, no-one else is protected and all working age claimants must pay 25%. Allegedly it's no more than £5 a week hmm

In a neighbouring area, there are a lot of pensioners so other claimants have to pay 35%.

Some councils are capping the higher band council tax properties too. So say you live in a band G house, your council tax benefit might be capped at a level equivalent to band D.

Some of the boroughs close to London are writing in habitation clauses to prevent an influx of claims from people moving out of London due to rent caps.

Wallison Thu 24-Jan-13 21:32:48

It's not just LHA caps though expat - it's the whole 30% thing. Overall caps are only part of the story. Unless someone is living in a property deemed to be in the lowest third decile of all properties locally, they will be paying their rent out of their benefit. Which in the case of a lone parent with one child is out of £125 a week.

zumbaholic Thu 24-Jan-13 21:35:42

Exactly CarriedAwayAnnie, my exp didnt pay cm one month and told me 2 days before i was due in my account, this was in school holidays which made it worse, I have now learnt not to rely on that money because he could stop paying at any time, I could pursue through the csa but that would take months and months, during which time I would be X amount down every month.

LuluMai-Congratulations, well done you. You obviuosly have a great support network around you or a well paid job, I have absolutely 0% family support so until i can find a job that covers my bills, prescriptions etc and i can afford to put 3 in childcare/clubs, I am somewhat stuck. you sound a little bitter, have you tried pursuing you dcs father through csa?

chickensarmpit- I see your point but as someone who worked since i left school and have only been single+on benefits for 18 months I find that a little offensive. Ive paid NI and tax during my time of work, surely the whole point of the welfare system is to help support people when you get kicked down in order for you to get back up again!

HappyMummyOfOne- I dont choose to be in the situation Im in, believe you me if i could get back to work tommorrow I would.

Wallison Thu 24-Jan-13 21:36:28

^ if a LP decides to live on benefits and not work

There are 2.5 million people unemployed and 500,00 vacancies. Of those, many are short-hours contracts that are just impossible for lone parents to take up, or involve working 'unsocial' hours ie hours outside of those covered by nursery/childminder provision. Don't forget that lone parents have to arrange childcare for every hour they work. As such, I would be wary of categorising anyone as deciding to live on benefits.

CarriedAwayAnnie Thu 24-Jan-13 21:57:15

Wallison - I was going to write a similar post but thought it probably wasn't worth it. Some people only see things in black and white.

Wallison Thu 24-Jan-13 22:10:25

Oh I'm sure it will fall on deaf ears but just wanted to have it down for the sake of completeness. The short-hours contracts are particularly impractical for lone parents - how on earth can you arrange childcare when you only know for sure in advance 6 out of the (say) 24 you will be working in any given week? And yet that is the basis that many factories, supermarkets, hotels and other big employers work on.

CarriedAwayAnnie Thu 24-Jan-13 22:32:42

Glad I left it - You wrote it more eloquently than I could have done smile

JuliaScurr Sat 26-Jan-13 12:51:41

wallison smile

LuluMai Sat 26-Jan-13 18:50:50

Actually no zumba, but I did have a job before that I kept. I earn more now but when ds was a toddler tax credits paid for his full time nursery, I didn't drive, used to drop ds off by foot then train and bus to work every day. By myself, no family picking him up and I didn't earn a high wage. I qualified for free prescriptions. I do have sympathy if you've lost your job through redundancy, but if you stopped work to pop out a kid, it's your own fault.

Wallison Sat 26-Jan-13 18:58:29

If you were getting the full cost of your son's nursery funded by tax credits, you would have been getting a fair whack in working tax credits as well and child tax credits too, plus very likely housing and council tax benefit. All of which would have amounted to far more - by some considerable way - than out-of-work benefits.

Wallison Sat 26-Jan-13 19:00:17

Not to mention the cost to the taxpayer for your free prescriptions.

LuluMai Sat 26-Jan-13 19:19:15

Nope I didn't receive a penny of housing benefit, paid full rent, and paid full council tax and normal PAYE on my wage. I did take out of it in tax credits, as many working families do (two parent and lone), but I was constantly paying into the system and cost the state far less than if I had no worked at all (tax credits have never paid for full childcare, I got the max at 70%). People like zumba are simply taking the from the system and giving nothing back.

Wallison Sat 26-Jan-13 19:22:18

If you got 70% of your childcare paid, plus the other element of WTC and CTC as well, you were definitely getting out a lot more than you paid in. A lot more.

You don't get the 70% unless you are pretty much on minimum wage, which means that the tax you paid would nowhere near have covered what you were getting in in-work benefits, even without housing and council tax benefits. Yes, you weren't exactly taking and giving 'nothing' back, but you were taking a fuck of a lot and only giving a nugatory amount back.

Wallison Sat 26-Jan-13 19:27:48

In fact, unless your 70% of childcare costs, plus the rest of WTC and the rest of CTC amounted to less than £7.93 a week (which is what you would pay in tax on a minimum wage full-time job), you were a net recipient of benefits for all the time you were working at that job. You were getting a lot more than zumba is for staying at home, to the tune of £100s a week.

Viviennemary Sat 26-Jan-13 19:32:40

But child maintenance is income is it not. It is money coming into the house. I read about somebody on a thread a while ago and she knew someone getting £4,000 a month maintenance (yes that's right) and this person still qualified for tax credits. I thought that was totally shocking. But I would sympathise with a person on very low income already struggling having to pay more bills.

colditz Sat 26-Jan-13 19:40:14

I used to get 70% of my childcare paid, plus tax credits.

I was taking more from the government in childcare costs and tax credits than I ever received unemployed.

It is not cost effective for the government to sent single parents of preschoolers to work unless they refuse to support them while they work. It costs more for the childcare than a single parent can earn.

LuluMai Sat 26-Jan-13 19:42:13

Wallison, your calculations are way off. My full rent was about 600 a month, my council tax something like 60, I paid both of those which if I had been on benefits would be paid for. I also paid tax and income tax, I can't remember how much as I earn a lot more now and this was going back a few years. Nursery was about 420 a month, 70% paid for by tax credits, so it's nonsensical to say I was costing more than zumba. The long term advantage is that I've stayed in work and now pay in more than I receive and will hopefully for the rest of my life. The longer zumba is out of work, the longer she remains a drain on the system and jess likely she is to ever contribute meaningfully to society.

LuluMai Sat 26-Jan-13 19:43:58

I wasn't minimum wage, earned more than that but was on a low wage.

Wallison Sat 26-Jan-13 19:49:22

LuluMai, if you were getting the childcare element of WTC (which you say you were), you were also getting other WTC and also CTC. Trust me, that would all have been hundreds of ££s a week more than the £7.93 you paid in tax.

Wallison Sat 26-Jan-13 19:49:33

And a lot more than zumba.

colditz Sat 26-Jan-13 19:53:05

You know that I just told you I was taking more from the government when working than when not? Was I, in fact, being a drain on society when working? Was I being a drain on society when not working?

When you are claiming childcare, you are taking more from the tax and welfare balance than you are putting back in. Your childcare was 420 a months and seventy per cent of that was paid by the government, so you were contributing nothing, nothing at all, to the financial balance of this country. You have no right to call someone a drain on this country's resources when you are only slightly less of a drain yourself.

LuluMai Sat 26-Jan-13 20:08:06

My point is that by not working at all I'd have had my full rent and council tax paid, along with income support and child tax credits, which added up to far more than I got. Single parents are never ideal unless they can afford to not receive state help, I fullyadmit that and recognise that in those four years I needed state help but I had no choice and worked damn hard in difficult conditions. Staying in the same job meant I now earn more and have just got a promotion, so hope to carry on contributing more and more to society over an entire working life time. If I'd have given up my job, I'd have been fucked and probably still unemployed now ds is almost 7. Yes I am bitter that I broke my back working full time when ds was little when some mothers like zumba just expect the state to pay for their entire existence, with them doing no work at all.

colditz Sat 26-Jan-13 20:16:55

You have one child. One child to feed, one child to organise, one child to help with homework, one child to fund childcare for.

What if you had had three? Three sets of nursery fees to pay, three packed lunches to make? That would take your £420 a month up to £1280. Would you still have been claiming less than someone not working?

You don't know everyone's individual circumstances, you don't know Zumba, how dare you declare yourself a worthier person!

Wallison Sat 26-Jan-13 20:17:13

But the state did pay for your existence and it paid for you to work. It paid more than it would have paid were you not in employment. You are not a net contributor but a recipient, which is why it is pretty fucking rich for you to come down all hard-ass on zumba for taking less money from the state than you did while you were working in a low-paid job.

You say that you didn't claim housing or council tax benefits but actually you could have done and many single parents in your circumstances do, all of which costs money.

colditz Sat 26-Jan-13 20:18:37

You're not only bitter, you seem not to have basic research skills, or you would know that your ill natured claims add up to little more than idle speculation, assumption and ignorance.

Wallison Sat 26-Jan-13 20:25:25

I also love the assertion that motherhood is "no work at all". The state is getting a pretty fucking good deal out of single parents (invariably women) who take time away from the coalface to do the hard, unrelenting donkey-work that is raising their children on benefits; it would cost far more in state-subsidised childcare for all of them to work or even as in days gone by for their children to become wards of the state.

freetoanyhome Sat 26-Jan-13 20:37:01

'she remains a drain on the system and jess likely she is to ever contribute meaningfully to society.'

Contributing isnt just about money. My aunt lost her job as she had to care for her husband and has been doing so for 5 years now. She gets £58. a week Carers allowance (plus rent and CTB). Where will she find any extra to pay council tax? Of course, she could put him into a home. Remind me how much homes for people with dementia cost a week? Oh, and when she turns 65(?) she wont get Carers anymore.
I reckon she contributes big time. She cares 24 hours a day 7 days a week. No holidays.

Viviennemary Sun 27-Jan-13 11:17:52

Pensioners are protected because they are retired and not able to earn. And also to qualify for the state penison they will have made the necessary quota of NI contributions.

exmrs Mon 28-Jan-13 17:23:39

Does anyone know if the full amount of maintenance will be taken towards council tax bill?
Im on income support but get £38 a week maintenance when he pays but would the full amount just go to council tax now?

zumbaholic Thu 07-Feb-13 13:46:41

Thought id resurect this thread after receiving a letter from my council today, it makes no sense whatsoever but I think the jist of it is- my council tax(if i were not on full council tax benefit) would be £73 (25%single discount) x 12= £876 a year - 20%= £176 per year i will have to pay towards now which works out at £17.60 a month but also they will take 20p for every £1 in child maintainance so thats £30, so altogether £47.60 a month I will now have to pay!!!shock...I have no idea where that money will come from, itll have to come out of the childrens maintainance money, which seems really wrong.

I stand to be corrected on this but the letter is very unclear and I hope someone more knowledgable will come and tell me ive got this wrong but i fear I haventconfused

zumbaholic Thu 07-Feb-13 13:48:38

Also apparently if my exp doesnt pay CM one month, Im to ring the council straight away and my amount i have to pay will be amended, just like that. Cant see itll be that simple myself...

zumbaholic Thu 07-Feb-13 14:07:03

I have emailed the council asking if my calculations are correct so will wait and see what they reply.

kittycat68 Fri 08-Feb-13 09:51:38

i too am a single parent on benefits and quite frankly i dont know where i am going to get this extra money from, whilst i apprieciate we use the services but we are all rweady barely managing on income support as it is. they are reducing benefits and charging us more in ct. if NRP actually paid a reasonable amount of child support in the first place we probably wouldnt be on benefits. The goverment are a joke. i have two disabld children so cant work, but i actually work hard caring for my children with no support from socail care if i put them in a home it would cost the tax payer thousands more and then i would be able to get a paid job pay council tax. This new system is totally unfair.

hmm so on £5 a week there be asking for £1of that ( ex does not work or his wife)

Oh and before anyone says anything about why i don`t work its due to my disability and being ds3 carer

kittycat68 Wed 20-Feb-13 14:48:12


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