East Devon District Council

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Policy Council Tax Discretionary Discount and Exceptional Hardship Fund policy

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6. Administering EHF

3.7.7.1The Council Taxpayer must make a claim for an EHF award by submitting an application to EDDC. The application form can be obtained via the telephone, in person at one of EDDC’s offices and EDDC’s website. A copy of the application form is at Appendix A of this policy. Council Taxpayers can get assistance with the completion of the form from the Revenues and Benefits Service or Housing Services at EDDC.

3.7.7.2The application form must be fully completed and supporting information or evidence provided, as reasonably requested by EDDC.

3.7.7.3In most cases the person who claims the EHF award will be the person entitled to Council Tax Support. However, a claim can be accepted from someone acting on another’s behalf, such as an appointee, if it is considered reasonable.

3.7.7.4The Revenues and Benefits Service may revise an award from the EHF where the Council Taxpayer’s circumstances have changed, which either increases or reduces their Council Tax Support entitlement.

3.7.7.5 A person claiming an EHF Payment is required to:

  • Give EDDC such information as it may require to make a decision.
  • Tell EDDC of any changes in circumstances that may be relevant to their ongoing claim.
  • Give EDDC such other information, as it may require, in connection with their claim.
  • 3.7.7.6Both the amount and the duration of the award are determined at the discretion of EDDC, and will be done so on the basis of the evidence supplied and the circumstances of the claim

The start date will usually be the Monday after the written claim for an EHF award is received by the Revenues and Benefits Service, although in some cases it may be possible to backdate this award, based upon individual circumstances of each case.

  • The EHF will normally be awarded for a minimum of one week 
  • The maximum length of the award will not exceed the end of the financial year in which the award is given. 

3.7.7.7Any EHF award will be made directly to the Council Tax account, thus reducing the amount of Council Tax payable. 

3.7.7.8 Overpaid EHF awards will generally be recovered directly from the Council Taxpayers Council Tax account, increasing the amount of Council Tax due and payable. 

3.7.7.9 EDDC will notify the outcome of each application in writing. The notification will include the reason for the decision and advise the Council Taxpayer of their appeal rights. 

3.8       Publicity of discretionary reductions and discounts 

3.8.1   The Revenues and Benefits Service will publicise this policy and will work with interested parties to achieve the stated outcomes. A copy of this policy will be made available for inspection and will be published on EDDC’s website. 

3.9       Right to appeal 

3.9.1   Decisions about discretionary discounts and reductions are subject to the statutory appeal process. 

3.9.2   If the Council Taxpayer is not satisfied with a decision in respect of:

  • an application for a discretionary reduction
  • a decision not grant a discretionary reduction
  • a decision to award a reduced amount of discretionary reduction
  • a decision not to backdate a discretionary reduction

they may request a review in writing. In these cases EDDC will look at the decision again. 

3.9.3   An officer, other than the original decision maker, will consider the dispute by

reviewing the original application and any additional information and/or

representation made and will make a decision within 14 days of referral or as

soon as practicable thereafter. 

3.9.4   Any request for a review must be made in writing, within two months of the date of the notification letter confirming the original decision. 

3.9.5   The outcome of the review will be given in writing by the Council, detailing the reasons for changing or upholding the original decision. 

3.9.6   If EDDC does not respond within two months to the Council Taxpayer’s request for a review or the Council Taxpayer considers that EDDC’s decision is wrong, they can appeal directly to the Valuation Tribunal 

3.10    Fraud 

3.10.1 EDDC is committed to protect public funds and ensure funds are awarded to the people who are rightly eligible to them. 

3.10.2 An applicant who tries to fraudulently claim a discretionary discount or Exceptional Hardship Fund payment by falsely declaring their circumstances, providing a false statement or evidence in support of their application may have committed an offence under The Fraud Act 2006 or the Theft Act 1968. 

3.10.3 Where the Council suspects that fraud may have been committed, this matter will be investigated as appropriate and may lead to criminal proceedings being instigated.