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Council Tax Discount - 'Severely Mentally Impaired'

 

Thousands of individuals who are classed as ‘severely mentally impaired’ may be entitled to a council tax discount AND a refund of overpaid council tax fees. There has been a distinct lack of guidance from councils across England and Wales which may mean that individuals have and will continue to pay more council tax than they should.
 

Eligibility

In order to be eligible for the council tax discount, you will need to prove the following:

  1. The individual is certified by a medical professional as being ‘severely mentally impaired’;
  2. The individual is eligible to receive one of a range of benefits.
     

‘Severely Mentally Impaired’

The term ‘severely mentally impaired’ can include a variety of conditions including (but not limited to):

  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Dementia
  • Severe Learning Difficulties
  • Parkinson’s disease
     

It is crucial that a medical professional certifies that the condition is classed as a severe mental impairment. This certification can be obtained from a GP or another healthcare professional.
 

Eligible Benefits

The second part of the test requires an individual to be entitled to receive one of the following benefits:

  • Incapacity Benefit
  • Attendance Allowance
  • Severe Disablement Allowance
  • Disability Living Allowance (higher or middle rate care component)
  • An increase in disablement pension (as constant attendance is needed)
  • Disability Working Allowance
  • Unemployability Supplement or Allowance
  • Constant Attendance Allowance
  • Income Support (which includes a disability premium)
  • Personal Independence Payment
  • Armed Forces Independence Payment
  • Universal Credit (in circumstances where a person has limited capability for work and/or work related activity)

There are additional eligible benefits depending on which part of the country you live in.

Many individuals are incorrectly advised by their council that they need to be in receipt of benefits. It is important to note that an individual does not need to be in receipt of a benefit, they only need to be entitled to it.
 

Refund and Future Savings

If you or a loved one does meet the above criteria, it is likely that you could (a) claim a retrospective refund of council tax paid and (b) make significant future savings on your council tax bill.

Individuals who live with someone who is classed as ‘severely mentally impaired’ may be able to claim a 25% discount. If an individual who is classed as ‘severely mentally impaired’ lives alone, then they may be entitled to be exempt from paying any council tax.

There are reports of individuals claiming back sums of £4,000 for a retrospective claim (from 2015). This is in addition to the savings they will make on their future council tax bills.

There has been a distinct failure by numerous councils to raise awareness that individuals are being overcharged. There are also reports of inappropriate advice/information being given by the Council regarding the discount.

In addition to filing a robust application, HCB will ensure to advise you whether the council’s response is legally correct.

If you would like support in drafting the application, then contact one of our solicitors to see how we can assist on 0333 202 7175 or e-mail education@hcbgroup.com.

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