Council Tax £150 rebate to start being paid tomorrow – but many may face delays

COUNCIL tax rebates worth £150 will start being paid to millions of households from tomorrow.

The payments are designed to help with the cost of living crisis and arrive just as the average energy bill will rise by nearly £700 a year.

But the exact date you get the cash will depend on your local council – and thousands are facing a delay getting the crucial cash.

The government announced the help in February and it will be handed out by local councils who already deal with council tax bills.

It will be given out as a one-off payment into bank accounts, not as a discount on council tax bills.

The government has told councils that payments "should be paid as soon as possible from April".

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The government urged millions of people to set up direct debits for paying their council tax bill to ensure they get the payments quicker.

The Sun previously revealed that millions who are exempt from paying council tax bills face a longer wait for the cash because they can't do this though.

And now The Sun has found that even those who have set up direct debits could see payments delayed.

In the small print of the scheme, councils have been told not to pay the £150 until households have made their council tax bill payment for April.

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It means anyone who pays their bill later in the month, for instance on the 28th, faces a longer wait – even if they do have a direct debit set up as advised.

For Instance, Birmingham Council has warned residents that it's likely that payments will be made at the end of April or early May for those who have direct debits or bank details on record.

Meanwhile councils also face major obstacles getting payments into people's pockets straight away because of IT systems and the bank holiday.

One council insider told The Sun it is not sure how many payments can be made each day and that software changes needed to process them have not yet been made.

"Financial breaking point"

Myron Jobson, senior personal finance analyst, interactive investor, says: “Those nearing financial breaking point simply cannot afford a delay in financial reprieve amid the once in a generation rise in the cost of living.

"Those who pay council tax by direct debit will get it automatically paid into their bank accounts.

"But there are concerns over how many payments can be processed in a day, while upcoming Easter Bank Holiday weekend bank closures could slow down the process."

“People who pay it via cash or cheque are more likely to have to wait for their rebate as their council will have to contact you and then they’d have to make a claim."

Several councils have not yet published details of how anyone without a direct debit or bank details on record will be able to apply for the cash – or access help through a separate £144million fund.

Councils will also be able to give out £150 payments to households who don't qualify for the scheme but are still struggling with bills, for instance, those in council tax bands E to H.

Scarborough council has said applications can start "towards the end of April", for instance.

The government has been contacted for comment.

What is the £150 council-tax rebate and how do I get it?

The help with council tax bills was announced by the government to help with the cost of living crisis which has seen bills and household costs rise.

Those in council tax bands A to D will get the cash – around 80% of homes – but those in bands E to H are among those missing out.

You won't have to give the money back.

You can find out which band you're in by using the government's search tool – you just need to enter your postcode.

If you don't already pay your council tax bill by direct debit, your local council will contact you to get your bank account details so it can give you the cash.

Payments will start being made from April 1, though the exact date you get it will depend on your local council.

Martyn James, personal finance expert and member of The Sun's Squeeze Team said: "While everyone who qualifies for the energy rebate – confusingly paid through your council tax as cash off – should get the money, there's a considerable amount of variance about how this will work, depending on where you live in the UK.

"Don't assume you'll get the cash. Check your bill and if you don't pay by Direct Debit check, keep an eye out for a letter from your council about how to apply for the rebate."

The government says it expects the vast majority of people to get payments in April.

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If you don't qualify for the rebate you could challenge your council tax band if you think it's wrong so you don't miss out on the cash.

But beware a revaluation of your band could put you in a lower band where you pay MORE council tax, so consider the risks – you can read more in our guide.

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