Did you know that somebody living with a disability or dementia may be entitled to Council Tax Reduction?
Here at The Care Magazine, we keep hearing of people who weren’t aware of their rights when changes in health or mobility occur.
Many people, including those living with dementia, living with a permanent disability or those caring for a relative may be entitled to Council Tax Reduction.
Read on to find out if you or your loved one is eligible for a reduction in Council Tax…
‘Disregards’ for somebody living with dementia
A person living with dementia may be disregarded if they are deemed to be severely mentally impaired. The criteria for this is a person that:
has a severe impairment of intelligence and social functioning which appears to be permanent
has a certificate confirming this impairment from a registered medical practitioner
is entitled to certain disability benefits
Somebody living with dementia will often meet all this criteria. They would therefore be ‘disregarded’ for council tax purposes; this means that if only one other person lives with them, that person would qualify for the 25% single person’s discount (as they would be deemed to be living alone).
Exemptions for somebody living with dementia
Exemptions apply to properties rather than people. Therefore, if the only occupiers of a house are ‘disregarded’, the house would be exempt from paying council tax.
However, in some cases you may be charged an ’empty property’ rate, so you would need to check with your local council.
Living with a carer
A spouse or partner will not get a discount or disregard as a result of being a carer; however, they may qualify for single person’s discount if their partner is disregarded due to mental impairment.
However, other carers may be disregarded if they fall into one of two groups; they must fulfil all the criteria of either one.
A carer may be disregarded if they:
care for at least 35 hours a week
live in the same property as the person they care for
are not the partner of the person they care for
are not the parent of the person they care for, if the person cared for is aged under 18.
They may also be disregarded if they:
provide care or support on behalf of a local authority, government department or charity, or provide care through an introduction by a charity, where the person being cared for is the carer’s employer
are employed to care for the person for at least 24 hours a week
are paid no more than £44 per week
live where the care is given.
Someone who falls into either of these carer groups is disregarded for council tax purposes. However, this type of disregard doesn’t mean that the property will be exempt for council tax purposes. The person will pay a reduced council tax bill, but they will pay something.
More than one person in the same dwelling can count as a carer, including where caring responsibilities are being shared.
Reductions for people with disabilities
You may apply for a entitled to council tax reduction if someone living in the property is assessed as being substantially and permanently disabled, and requires special facilities to meet their needs.
If you are entitled to council tax reduction, the bill will be reduced to the rate of the band below the one the property is in; eg. the charge for a band C property would be reduced to that of a band B property etc. Your local authority can advise you more on this.
Backdating for discounts, disregards and exemptions
Discounts, disregards and exemptions can be backdated to when it should have first applied; you will need to prove that the criteria for an exemption or discount applied at the time.
Some councils will backdate to the date council tax began (April 1993) or when the person first became entitled – whichever is later. However, since a test case in 2013, some councils try to use the Limitations Act (1980), which restricts backdating to a maximum of 6 years from the date of requesting it.
A few councils also try to limit the discount, disregard or exemption to the date it is requested or to the start of the financial year in which it is requested. Neither of these is allowed and should be contested. If the council will not resolve the issue, contact the Valuation Tribunal within two months of the councils decision.
More information can be found at the Legal and Financial section of www.alzheimers.org.uk
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