Council Tax benefit now taking maintenance into account...

(54 Posts)
mama2moo Sun 17-Feb-13 19:43:13

How is this fair? It basically means that £77 of my childrens money will now have to pay my council tax bill.

Has anyone received a letter about this? I hope they dont take this into account for other things that help me out.

kinkyfuckery Sun 17-Feb-13 19:47:06

Since when?

sydlexic Sun 17-Feb-13 19:48:36

How can it not be fair? I have never understood why maintenance wasn't counted for tax credits or council tax benefit.

mama2moo Sun 17-Feb-13 19:50:22

My view is that the money I get from my ex is for my dd's. It goes towards their clothes, food, birthdays etc. Its not my money.

They have changed council tax completely by the looks of it. I had my letter yesterday.

kinkyfuckery Sun 17-Feb-13 19:52:39

Well, yeah they're changing all the out of work benefits to a 'universal credit' are they not? Just wondering where I can find information about child maintenance being taken into consideration?

happyinherts Sun 17-Feb-13 19:53:32

it may not be 'your money' but it is to keep a roof over your children's head - whether it be clothes, food, or housing / living costs. It is income - I have never understood why it's been disregarded before.

purpleroses Sun 17-Feb-13 19:55:37

Council tax benefit is now being designed by local authorities. So it works in a different way in each area.

Seems fair enough to me really - if you compare one lone parent who gets £100 a week maintenance (but earns nothing) to another who receives nothing from her ex (or is widowed) but earns £100 from her job it seems fair that both pay the same council tax.

mama2moo Sun 17-Feb-13 19:56:45

I am in South Somerset so it may be different for different councils?? I have tried to find it online. Look up your local council and it should be on their 'council tax change' part of the website.

lol I wish I could argue some of my income is "for my dds"

Sounds totally fair to me.

My view is that the money I get from my ex is for my dd's. It goes towards their clothes, food, birthdays etc. Its not my money.

hmm Right, cos that's how it works isn't it.

lockets Sun 17-Feb-13 19:58:40

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

I should get a regular CSA payment from my ex but have not received any for months and I would imagine that is the same for a lot of people, so if the calculation of what they you to pay includes monies which have not actually been received into the household income what happens then ?

It is fair, one LP should not be treated differently from another because they're paid maintenance.

I can't see anything on the PDF about paying from maintenance but I skim read it. www.southsomerset.gov.uk/housing-and-benefits/benefits/changes-to-council-tax-benefit/council-tax-reduction-scheme-and-draft-scheme/

usualsuspect Sun 17-Feb-13 20:06:49

Exactly. what happens if you don't receive your maintenance for a few weeks?

usualsuspect Sun 17-Feb-13 20:07:05

Or months?

Tough shit?

sydlexic Sun 17-Feb-13 20:07:05

I have posted this before, it is 100% true.

Three woman that work in an office one gets £1500 per month maintenance plus wages plus tax credits. The second gets her wages, the same tax credits but her estranged DH pays no maintenance. The first person has one less to feed and clothe but is £1500 better off.

The thiird works twice as many hours has the same income gets no tax credits, the first two will do no overtime as they won't work for what they can get for free.

A system that allows this is crazy.

lubeybooby Sun 17-Feb-13 20:07:10

The disregard is because of unreliable absent parents of whom there are many, who suddenly stop paying maintenance and leave the LP in the shit.

mama2moo Sun 17-Feb-13 20:08:08

I think they would take what you actually receive into account, not what you should.

sydlexic Sun 17-Feb-13 20:08:50

Lubey, there has to be a better way to make the absent parent pay, as a country we cannot afford to pay for them and why should they get away with it.

mama2moo Sun 17-Feb-13 20:10:05

£1500 a month maintenance? Blimey! I want more hours in work so that I don't have to claim top ups.

usualsuspect Sun 17-Feb-13 20:10:06

They shouldn't get away with it, but they do.

Happy for the women and children to suffer are you?

lubeybooby Sun 17-Feb-13 20:12:40

sydlexic I agree but after, what... twenty years plus of the CSA they have never managed to sort out a foolproof way so I doubt that will ever change.

whateveritakes Sun 17-Feb-13 21:58:20

How can this ever work?
Council tax is supposed to be paid in advance (which is why if you default on a months payment they want it all). How are they supposed to work out how much you got, in advance of you getting it. Either it'll be done in arrears from last years payments or everyone will need to go in every time a maintenance payment changes/stops.
Basically if you are rich enough at the beginning of April to pay the lot you can keep all your maintenance. If you pay monthly you could be in serious arrears if you don't get the expected maintenance. How the heck can you say what someone else who isn't part of the household will or won't be contributing?

seaofyou Mon 18-Feb-13 08:39:47

I don't get a penny maintanence and am a full time carer to my DS. I am being made to pay council tax too under these changes in April toosad

happyinherts Mon 18-Feb-13 13:31:43

As I understood it everyone who up until now hasn't paid council tax because of being on Income Support will now pay up to 20 per cent?

Everyone uses the services so I think this is fair. Everyone contributes something.

Meglet Mon 18-Feb-13 13:38:09

Fuckers angry.

I don't get counci tax benefit by the way. I'm just fed up with LP's getting more shit from this piss poor excuse of a government.

whateveritakes Mon 18-Feb-13 20:42:17

happyinherts - How is council tax fair? It's based on property with no distinction between having enough money to buy a house or those that are renting. I have to pay nearly 10% of my monthly income to council tax. Ex on 60K pays the same.

How can you afford 20% on income support? That's £20 a month if you are a single parent - the electric meter money for 2 weeks?
(In our area a band c property (2/3 beds) is over £1,300). Even worse it's the debt you can be sent to prison for not paying.

happyinherts Tue 19-Feb-13 09:05:59

Don't you have a bin emptied? Don't you use local services? Don't want the fire brigade or ambulance in an emergency?

I didn't say the system was fair. It isn't. We pay over 10 per cent of our income on it ourselves - but it is fair that everyone contributes something isn't?

Letsmakecookies Tue 19-Feb-13 09:27:44

Not entirely sure council tax pays for ambulances.

happyinherts Tue 19-Feb-13 10:24:02

Emergency services are added to your council tax bill under County services as an extra, ie it's included in the final amount.

whateveritakes Tue 19-Feb-13 18:43:14

Of course everyone uses things - why is the tax not based on ability to pay. If you can't afford food or electric you go without. Not an option with council tax.

Income tax is charged at a higher rate for the better paid to allow for the fact that you can afford to pay more.

And you can be jailed/bailiffs round/CCJ's for is a huge sum for the poor Income and the same as some people spend on a weeks meal out.

MrsTomHardy Tue 19-Feb-13 18:50:54

So what happens when I don't receive my Csa money then, can I deduct that amount off my council tax bill for that month....
XP didn't pay for 7 weeks, only just started getting it again... So not only do I spend my time on the phone to Csa, I will also be phoning the Benefits office letting them know each week as to wether I receive my maintenance or not angry

theredhen Wed 20-Feb-13 13:40:26

I agree this is fair, why should the state pay out the same to someone receiving maintenance as someone who isn't? Surely it's up to the parents to support the children of the family and if both parents are doing so, why should the tax payer being paying out for those children as well as for the children who don't have both parents financially supporting them?

However, I am unsure how this will be policed. Fine if the CSA are collecting the money each month AND manage to talk to the council, but for those who receive maintenance in cash and in dribs and drabs, I can't see how the admin is going to work?

whateveritakes Wed 20-Feb-13 14:32:07

theredhen Maintenance isn't income though. It's not generated by the household or regulated by the state. It's based on somebody who lives outside of the household on a non enforceable basis. If and when all fathers (as almost all single parents are women) are forced to pay then yes that will be household income.

Otherwise you might as well say children's birthday money is income or the grandparents donations to a savings account are income.

HappyMummyOfOne Wed 20-Feb-13 19:58:58

Its a much fairer system, where the parents stay together all income is taken into account so why not in single parent households. The fact maintenance is disgragarded for so many things makes a mockery of the whole benefits system.

Every household should pay council tax, we all use the services so should all contribute. Its a bill like any other.

timidviper Wed 20-Feb-13 20:07:23

I think it should be taken into account. When my DB got divorced I was stunned at the money his ex had as income. She works p/t, gets maintenance from 2ex-Hs and claims God knows what in tax credits and childcare allowances. All in all she would have to have a very good salary indeed to earn that income under her own steam and it equated to more than many working families. Why should all that money be disregarded?

OP, I think we would all argue that a proportion of our earnings is needed to look after our DCs. To say maintenance should be exempt from that because it is given to you by someone else is nonsense. It is all income and should be counted as such.

whateveritakes Wed 20-Feb-13 20:57:25

I totally agree that divorced women do pretty well out of the arrangement but the money they get has already been taxed from the fathers wage. In addition they only make up 49% of lone parents. What do the other half do then?

Assuming I'm on income support and get £5 a week from my ex then that's my 20% of the bill paid. If he decides not to contribute (because the £5 is coming out of his income support that he now has to pay 20% off) and become self employed /work cash in hand/go abroad for a few years/find a new girlfriend with children....where do I get the shortfall from? How long will the local council wait before we decide he's not paying, will they back date my income assessment how much will all this cost the local council (which means council tax payers).

BertieBotts Wed 20-Feb-13 21:02:19

It was disregarded because in the past when fathers stopped paying it totally left single mothers in the shit because the benefits agencies thought that they were receiving money which they weren't. This happened to my mum when we were young, we were on 10p per week for many weeks until she managed to get it sorted out, luckily, her parents were able and willing to buy food for us to eat.

You could opt, at this time, for the money from the father to go directly to the government rather than the mother (unless over a certain amount) and for benefits to be unaffected, but for some reason hmm fathers weren't keen on the idea of their money going to the government rather than directly to their children.

I think the system where it is disregarded is better because it means that abusive exes are less able to fuck the mother of their children over financially.

(Apologies for using mother/father, of course these can be reversed)

MrsTomHardy Wed 20-Feb-13 21:04:43

I'm a single parent, work 20 hours a week and I do pay council tax....when they find a solution to make NRP actually pay for their children then fair enough but all the while its hit and miss as to wether I receive maintenance or not then its hardly fair in my opinion......it's not a guaranteed income. Even someone from the Csa once told me I shouldn't rely on my maintenance payments!!!!!

JakeBullet Wed 20-Feb-13 21:09:22

It says up to 15% on our local site,....I get maintainace of £200 a month for DS but it's hit and miss. I will find it and just set up a DD for it.

theredhen Thu 21-Feb-13 07:09:16

Something else.... How many people will come to a cash agreement with the Nrp and lie to the government agencies about getting maintenance? Not everyone is amicable with their ex but some are and I suspect some will be blackmailed with the promise of cash at a reduced rate if they keep quiet about it. It's going to create a black market. hmm

lauriedriver Thu 21-Feb-13 07:17:53

How awful for you op, £77 of your Childs money!! £150 of my earnings goes on mine, how awfully unfair having to pay your own way in life

whateveritakes Thu 21-Feb-13 17:18:45

lauriedriver - the point is that the £77 isn't her paying her way in life it's her ex paying it. He has the control over that £77. He if doesn't pay then it's not like credit card debt or utility bills she can go to prison.

Of those that have the CSA involved £40% get less than £10 a week. t's not worth the misery of endless forms for either claimant or local authorities IMO.

MrsTomHardy Thu 21-Feb-13 17:32:51

I've been told by the Csa that I shouldn't rely on maintenance payments as they aren't guaranteed income!
So if they aren't classed as guaranteed income how can they be used to work out council tax payments!
I can go to court/bailiffs/prison if I don't pay my council tax but if a NRP doesn't stick to paying maintenance then fuck all happens really, the odd phone call maybe!!! angry

Daddelion Thu 21-Feb-13 19:36:46

I assume it's not guaranteed income as the NPR could lose their job, become ill or even die.

According to this article approximately 50 NRPs are sent to prison and 900 are given suspended prison sentences a year.

So some get punished.

www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/crime/more-fathers-jailed-over-child-support-2265787.html

BrittaPerry Wed 27-Feb-13 10:08:56

Anyone who has any changing circumstances at all has to go in every month anyway. I must go in at least six times a year.

IWantATowel Wed 27-Feb-13 16:29:01

My council sent me a letter about council tax benefit but it didn't say anything about maintenance. It said people on income support etc would have to pay a percentage unless they were a lone parent with a child under 5. I guess they're all different.

MrsTomHardy Wed 27-Feb-13 17:21:43

I got a letter too and nothing mentioned about maintenance!

danidrury Wed 27-Feb-13 20:57:57

We need to get society to stigmatise deadbeat dads anyone fancy a challenge?

raenbow Wed 27-Feb-13 22:28:40

Spoke to my HB office this week and told it does not and will not count, whether this will change who knows. Could it depend on LA's?

littlemisssarcastic Fri 01-Mar-13 21:08:31

Agree with MrsTomHardy's post at 17.32.

It depends on individual councils as to whether they will include maintenance payments as part of your income and calculate your council tax payments with those payments in mind. Some councils will, others will not.

Maintenance payments are notoriously unreliable in my case. sad

My council, like most others, are charging everyone at least 20% of their council tax bill, irrespective of income, so unemployed, self employed, or disabled people will all be expected to pay 20% in my area. Some councils are removing the second adult rebate, some are removing the student discount too.

It is going to be tough for many people. I wonder if it is going to be too tough for some people.

Pensioners are exempt.

I have no idea how much I will be paying, because I have yet to see the bill, but I wouldn't be at all surprised if the council tax bill will increase substantially this year.

I'm not sure how much more people can be squeezed tbh.

I have just seen petrol increases of 11p a litre in the last 2 weeks where I am. It is worrying. sad

Foxy800 Sat 02-Mar-13 09:34:22

I have had letter on this and it will count in our area, but it depends on the area, not everyone in the country is affected by it.

Cavort Sat 02-Mar-13 09:50:33

Maintenance must be income because some mortgage lender will allow RP's to use it towards the affordability calculations. Yes it's rubbish when you are relying on an unreliable NRP but you can't have it both ways.

whateveritakes Sat 02-Mar-13 11:01:22

Cavort Mortgage lenders will be looking at individual cases though. It's their job to assess if erratic payments can be counted towards income or not.
Council tax will use a blanket assessment of income.

I agree that it may be too much. Supermarket prices are noticeably higher and petrol is ridiculous. Lone parents are effected more because they have less choice than a couple (who have two people to potentially work/do childcare/give up the car etc). Once a lone parent has budgeted as low as they can that's it. There isn't much more you can do.

mumandboys123 Sat 02-Mar-13 14:06:08

Daddelion
I agree that some NRPs eventually get caught up with...but how long does it take? I'm at 4 years and counting. We all know where my ex is....he doesn't do tax returns so no info held on him at the HMRC...court systems gives chance after chance after chance...

Whilst there is 'law' in place to stop NRPs behaving in this way, the reality is if you don't want to pay maintenance and you're prepared to duck and dive, you don't pay maintenance. In the meantime, my life is assessed in such a way that my ex is actually paying? No, that's not fair. And that's why maintenance isn't taken into account for anything anymore - way too many children living in false poverty on an on/off basis for much of their childhood.

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