5. Awarding an exceptional hardship fund payment
The revenues and benefits service will decide whether or not to make an Exceptional Hardship Fund award, and how much any award might be.
When making this decision the revenues and benefits service will consider:
- The shortfall between Council Tax Support and Council Tax liability
- The steps taken by the customer to reduce their Council Tax liability
- Changing payment methods, re-profiling Council Tax instalments or setting alternative payment arrangements in order to make them affordable
- Ensure that all discounts, exemptions and reductions are granted
- Steps taken by the customer to establish whether they are entitled to other welfare benefits.
- Steps taken by the customer in considering and identifying where possible the most economical tariffs for supply of utilities
- If a Discretionary Housing Payment has already been awarded to meet a shortfall in rent
- The personal circumstances, age and medical circumstances (including ill health and disabilities) of the customer, their partner and any dependants and any other occupants of the customer’s home
- The difficulty experienced by the customer, which prohibits them from being able to meet their Council Tax liability, and the likely length of time this difficulty will exist
- Shortfalls due to non-dependant deductions
- The income and expenditure of the customer, their partner and any dependants or other occupants of the customer’s home
- How deemed reasonable expenditure exceeds income
- All income may be taken into account, including those which are disregarded when awarding Council Tax Support
- Any savings or capital that might be held by the customer or their partner
- Other debts outstanding for the customer and their partner
- Whether the customer has already accessed or is engaging for assistance with budgeting and financial/debt management advice. An Exceptional Hardship Fund award may not be made until the customer has accepted assistance either from the Council or third party, such as the Citizens Advice Bureau or similar organisations, to enable them to manage their finances more effectively, including the termination of non essential expenditure.
- The exceptional nature of the customer and/or their family’s circumstances that impact on finances
- The length of time they have lived in the property
- The amount available in the Exceptional Hardship Fund at the time of the application
The list is not exhaustive and other relevant factors and special circumstances will be considered.
An award from the Exceptional Hardship Fund does not guarantee that a further award will be made at a later date, even if the customer’s circumstances have not changed.
An Exceptional Hardship Fund award may be less than the difference between the Council Tax liability and the amount of Council Tax Support paid.