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Council Tax Bailiffs

UB40
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Debt Advice + Community Money Advice Launceston

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Total Posts: 119

Joined: 29 April 2021

Has anyone had experience of presenting a DMHEF ( Debt and Mental Health Evidence Form ) to a Council Tax department?
The Equality Act 2010 requires that institutions make reasonable adjustments where action can negatively impact the health of a client. And having a bailiff threatening to enter your home and remove your possessions is such an action.

One Local Authority agrees and will recall bailiffs and change the enforcement state to Attachment of Benefit.

However I have spoken to a Council Tax team leader today at Torridge DC who said that it depended on the amount of the debt and if it was large she may not comply. I pointed out that the Equality Act does not have exemptions for creditors according to the amount of debt, but she rejected my advice.

Any shared experience would be very welcome.

Prisca
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benefits section (training & accuracy) Bristol city council

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Joined: 20 August 2015

Torridge’s scheme require everyone pay at least 25% of the liability so even if your customer is on a passporting benefit, they will have something to pay.  The problem with such schemes where there quite a big chunk to pay regardless of income is that arrears accrue quite quickly. Many customers on CTS cant pay by direct debit because monthly reassessments if UC mean their instalments may change every month and payment dates get pushed because of the 14 day notice period required if theres a change to the instalment amount.  Result is often these customers get remainders/ court costs added to their accounts at the first round of summonses.
I assume your customer is getting the council tax support applied to their bill?

The 25% minimum payment means that an attachment to benefits will never recover the money - because the attachment isn’t as much as the monthly payment required.
Where the customer has got the CTS they are entitled to, and some payments have been made ( via DWP deductions or enforcement action) , then realistically if there are still arrears accrued over several years, they are likely to be written off at some point.

Torridge DC website states their exceptional hardship fund for Ctax wont cover previous years arrears and is a short term help,  details of it are here
https://www.torridge.gov.uk/media/24113/Exceptional-Hardship-Fund-Policy-2021-22/pdf/EHF_Policy_April_20211.pdf?m=637696374664300000

If the Ctax manager isn’t playing ball,  d be speaking to the customers councillor/mp about and asking them what bit of regs/ policy the Ctax department are relying on to say whether they will accept/comply depends on the amount of debt owed by your vulnerable customer… 
Councils got additional funding in the last few years for to provide additional help for working age, vulnerable Ctax payers affected by COVID ( and who hasn’t been affected!?)

 

 

 

UB40
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Debt Advice + Community Money Advice Launceston

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Total Posts: 119

Joined: 29 April 2021

Thanks for that Prisca. It’s the same old argument from the Council that it will take too long to repay via Attachment to Benefit so here come the bailiffs. Just as well I’ve had training in Debt Respite and Mental Health Breathing Space!