Council launch benefit amnesty

Local news
Local news

A benefits amnesty has been launched in West Lindsey ahead of a crackdown on fraudulent claims.

Residents in the district, who may be mistakenly claiming a single person’s discount from their council tax are being urged to tell the council now before the clampdown starts.

From Monday 26th September, the council will examine the cases of everyone claiming a single person discount to make sure they are eligible to do so.

To ensure that no one is claiming discounts they are not entitled to, the team will cross reference council tax information with other databases to identify cases where more than one adult is resident at properties and the single person discount is being claimed.

Chairman of the policy and resources committee Coun Tom Regis warned residents this was their final chance to contact the authority about changes to their benefits.

He said: “We believe most discounts are claimed honestly and legitimately but we know there are times when a household’s circumstances change and people forget to tell us.”

“While we want to crack down on fraudulent claims we still want to ensure that everyone gets the discounts they are entitled to, so please contact us soon to double check your entitlements.”

West Lindsey District Council offers a 25 per cent discount on Council Tax where there is only one resident adult at the property.

Around 12,200 of its 41,000 households currently claim the discount.

It is a legal requirement for council taxpayers to tell the council within 21 days if they think they are no longer entitled to discounts - otherwise they face a £70 fine in addition to increased payments.

To allow people time to contact the council if they have forgotten or failed to notify changes – such as a child reaching 18 or someone moving in - each council is inviting householders to call in advance of the checks beginning.

Residents who wish to check that they are getting the discounts they are entitled to should call 01427 676676.

n More information on the amnesty scheme can also be found by visiting West Lindsey Council’s website at www.west-lindsey.gov.uk