Council Tax - exceptional hardship payments
Short term relief to help support our most vulnerable customers.
This fund has been set up to support our most vulnerable customers who:
- have seen a reduction in the Government support which helped to pay their Council Tax liability or
- are suffering financial hardship due to unforeseen circumstances
This discretionary award is set up to provide short term relief and therefore should not be seen as a long term solution to debt problems.
Before applying, you must make sure you have taken all reasonable steps to resolve your own situation.
Main features of the fund
- Exceptional hardship payments (EHP) are discretionary
- Customers do not have a statutory right to a payment
- EHP payments cannot be awarded to settle arrears of Council Tax
- We will consider awarding the fund from the date of application but not prior to the 1st April 2013
- It is outside the main Council Tax Support Scheme and is not a payment of Council Tax Support
Who can apply for EHP?
Any customer in receipt of Council Tax Reduction, or the self-employed who do not qualify because we have applied the 'Minimum Income Floor' rules, who is facing unexpected changes to their circumstances that have led to them facing financial hardship.
Examples of applications or households who may potentially be awarded help from the fund are:
- Recently bereaved and income disrupted due to suspension of other benefits
- Those who have left care or under 25 years old and unable to live at home
- Recovering from a serious illness and unable to contribute to the household income
- Lone parents with children under the age of 5 in the household
- Other exceptional circumstances that have placed the applicant in unexpected financial hardship
This list is not exhaustive.
When we assess your application will be looking at the following criteria:
- The applicant or household is facing severe financial hardship
- The applicant will have already taken steps to access other advice and support from independent agencies such as the Citizens Advice Bureau or Step Change
- The applicant must have explored potential changes in payment methods and instalment plans for their Council Tax and utility bills to assist their financial situation
- The applicant or household must not have access to any other financial assets that could be realised to pay the Council Tax; such as other properties, land, stocks/shares/bonds
- The applicant or household must not be avoiding or refusing to pay their Council Tax. The Council Tax due must not be the result of an overpayment due to fraud or a resulting penalty
Apply for an exceptional hardship payment
Please note the EHP fund for Lewes district has been spent for the 2023/24 financial year.
If you believe you meet all the criteria, you can make an application (Eastbourne residents only):