Thousands of people across the UK may be eligible for a boost on top of the £150 council tax discount.
The money could help the lowest-earning households manage rising bills as a cost of living crisis grips the nation.
Under the terms of the council tax grant, households in property bands A to D will get a £150 rebate on this year’s bills.
But in some areas households could get more free cash to cope with the cost of living crisis, while others who don’t quality could get targeted support, potentially adding an extra £40 on top.
On top of the main rebate scheme, 300 councils have been given a £144million discretionary fund.
“In recognition that billing authorities may wish to provide support to households who are not eligible under the terms of the main scheme, councils will receive a share of a £144million discretionary fund,” the government explains.
The fund has been issued to local authorities to help households who are battling rising prices and at risk of falling into the poverty bracket as well as those who may fall outside of the A to D scheme.
Some councils say the money will be offered to those in all bands – not just those in A to D properties. Others say the extra funding will be paid to the lowest earners automatically.
Support from the discretionary fund should consist of no more than £150 per household, according to the guidance.
This makes it the same amount as the council tax support.
It has been left up to local authorities to decide and publish their own eligibility criteria.
The guidance said this could include households living in property valued in bands E to H that are on income related benefits or those where the energy bills payers are not liable for council tax.
It suggested that students living in halls may not be eligible unless they are exposed to rising energy prices in a similar way to other households.
There is no timeline for when discretionary fund payments should start but local authorities have to spend the money by November 30 2022 or return it to central government.
Wyre Forest District Council, for example, is giving “top up” payments of £35 to households in all council tax bands.
You’ll get the cash if you live in the region and can prove you are facing financial hardship.
Bromley is giving out £40 top-up payments to those in bands A-D getting council tax support.
And in Hackney around 30,000 households getting a council tax reduction will automatically get an extra £30 payment, bringing the total help to £180.
The schemes are targeted towards those already getting council tax support.
Ian Williams, the council’s finance and resources boss, said: “We know that many families in Hackney are struggling with the rising cost of living, and particularly higher energy bills this month.
“Using our discretionary funding in this way will mean that those most at risk from rising bills will get the extra help they need in the simplest way possible.”
You’ll need to contact your local authority to find out how they are distributing the extra funding.
This can be done on the gov.uk website.
Most residents that are eligible for the initial £150 council tax rebate should have been notified about their payments by now – this should appear on your council tax annual statement which details how much your bill is rising this year.
More than a dozen councils have also said that payments will start from May.
An estimated 2.8 million households are estimated to be missing out on council tax support worth £2.6 billion.
You can apply for a council tax reduction if you’re on a low income are vulnerable or live alone.