The cost of living crisis is hitting students particularly hard. The good news - the government have offered some rebate schemes to help households with their bills, and some of these apply to students, sometimes even if you're not directly paying energy bills.
Although the picture is a little muddy, we have put together some basic facts that may help you find out if you are eligible.
£400 Energy Bills Discount
What is the £400 Energy Payment?
The Government confirmed that all households in England, Scotland and Wales will receive £400 off their energy bills to help with rising costs in Autumn 2022. They have announced that this will be paid in six instalments totalling £400 and applied directly to energy bills in October 2022 until March 2023. This means you will not need to apply for this discount.
Those who pay their energy bills via standard credit, payment card and direct debit will receive this deduction automatically. If you are a prepayment meter customer, then you will be provided with Energy Bill discount vouchers monthly which will be issued via text, email, or post and you can redeem your vouchers via your usual top-up point. This payment will be applied to the whole household, rather than each person within the household.
Council Tax Rebate
What is the Council Tax Rebate?
The government has confirmed measures to help with the rising costs of energy bills, which includes a £150 council tax energy rebate for most households living in properties in Council Tax Bands A to D. This one off £150 payment is administered by your local council via direct debit. As most students are exempt from paying council tax you will not have a direct debit set up. Instead, your local council may write to your household, inviting you to make an application. You should have a look at your local council’s website to find out how to apply, as each council is different.
How Do I Know What Council Tax Band My Property Is In?
You can check this via the GOV.UK website
Can I Still Apply for the Rebate If I Don’t Pay Council Tax?
Most students are exempt from paying council tax, but you might still be eligible to apply for the council tax rebate. We advise that you look at your local council’s website to find out how you can claim your rebate. Please do note that if you live in purpose-built student accommodation or student halls you will not be eligible for the rebate. Many students in HMOs (Houses of Multiple Occupancy) can apply for the rebate but if you live in a HMO and the owner of the property is liable for the council tax, no-one in your household will be eligible for the rebate.
How Do I Claim the Rebate?
We advise that you look at your local council’s website to find out how you can claim the rebate. Some local councils in London are yet to publish how those in properties exempt from council tax can claim their rebate, so do keep an eye on your local council’s website! If you are not sure who your local council is, you can check by visiting: https://www.gov.uk/find-local-council
What If I Am Not Eligible for the Rebate?
Your local council has also been given a discretionary fund to support those bill payers who are not eligible for the rebate, and you can apply for this via your local council. If you are not sure who your local council is, you can check by visiting: https://www.gov.uk/find-local-council
Who Will Receive the Rebate Where an Eligible Property Has Multiple Residents?
If your household is eligible, you will be invited to nominate a member of the household to receive the payment which can be shared between the rest of you.
Do I Have to Pay the £150 Back?
No, this is a one-off payment and you will not need to pay the £150 council tax rebate back.
In Financial Difficulty?
We know that the cost-of-living crisis might be having an impact on you right now as we face increases in the price of fuel, food and other services. You can find more information about the financial and legal support available to you via the Arts SU website including details on the UAL Hardship Fund and external London Charities.