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Council tax discounts for ‘severe mental impairment’

edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Benefits & Tax Credits
150 replies 22.4K views
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  • edited 8 November 2018 at 3:17PM
    CISCIS Forumite
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    edited 8 November 2018 at 3:17PM
    I wonder if you could advise if we can appeal against the local council who are saying they are unable to backdate the 25% disregard from an earlier date beyond when my Mum started receiving attendance allowance.
    You can claim, as the legislation allows, for a period where there was 'entitlement' however proving it is the issue.


    I've drafted a good few SMI backdating tribunal cases but not yet one where the issue is on 'entitlement'. The problem is that entitlement is very hard to prove - the standard the tribunals tend to rest on is a letter from DWP - which is something DWP won't provide. Proof of entitlement would require a good argument but without proof from DWP would need a dive in legislation to try and demonstrate entitlement. It would be an interesting one to try and argue.

    You also have the second, added, issue that most councils will try and play on the 6 year limit in the statue of limitations for anything past 6 years - this too often requires a protracted argument of legislation.
    I no longer work in Council Tax Recovery but instead work as a specialist Council Tax paralegal assisting landlords and Council Tax payers with council tax disputes and valuation tribunals. My views are my own reading of the law and you should always check with the local authority in question.
  • My mother has very severe Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). It affects virtually every aspect of her life (she doesn't eat any food that isn't pre-packaged, she spends her entire time on decontamination rituals, she leaves the house approx. once every 6 weeks, she has been too ill to work since the early-1990s and has received appropriate benefits since that date). She was living alone independently until March this year when her home was flooded by a burst pipe. Since then she has been living in our family home and both my husband and I act as her carers (I have just registered as her carer through DWP). Her OCD, depression and anxiety have continued to decline and she has lost most of her independence since living with us.

    Local CMHT have confirmed that they are unable to offer any treatment locally as her OCD is too severe. The only possible route for treatment is at a specialist treatment centre (we are currently trying to get funding for a referral) but it is not clear whether she is well enough to have the treatment and there is a high chance to will make things worse / have no effect.

    She has been on Incapacity benefit since the early 1990's, in recent years this has changed to PIP and ESA.

    I'm not sure whether it would be appropriate to ask the doctor if my mother qualifies for an SMI disregard (and myself and husband as her carers)? I've struggled to find definitive criteria for an SMI? I have seen reference to the condition being permanent. As there is a possible treatment option for my mother (although the treatment may not be suitable) would this mean she is not suffering from an SMI as there is a chance it may not be permanent? Her condition has deteriorated over the last 30 years and continues to deteriorate now.
  • poppy12345poppy12345 Forumite
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    Riablo wrote: »
    My mother has very severe Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). It affects virtually every aspect of her life (she doesn't eat any food that isn't pre-packaged, she spends her entire time on decontamination rituals, she leaves the house approx. once every 6 weeks, she has been too ill to work since the early-1990s and has received appropriate benefits since that date). She was living alone independently until March this year when her home was flooded by a burst pipe. Since then she has been living in our family home and both my husband and I act as her carers (I have just registered as her carer through DWP). Her OCD, depression and anxiety have continued to decline and she has lost most of her independence since living with us.

    Local CMHT have confirmed that they are unable to offer any treatment locally as her OCD is too severe. The only possible route for treatment is at a specialist treatment centre (we are currently trying to get funding for a referral) but it is not clear whether she is well enough to have the treatment and there is a high chance to will make things worse / have no effect.

    She has been on Incapacity benefit since the early 1990's, in recent years this has changed to PIP and ESA.

    I'm not sure whether it would be appropriate to ask the doctor if my mother qualifies for an SMI disregard (and myself and husband as her carers)? I've struggled to find definitive criteria for an SMI? I have seen reference to the condition being permanent. As there is a possible treatment option for my mother (although the treatment may not be suitable) would this mean she is not suffering from an SMI as there is a chance it may not be permanent? Her condition has deteriorated over the last 30 years and continues to deteriorate now.
    The following was taken from this link.
    https://www.moneysavingexpert.com/news/2017/09/due-a-council-tax-discount-for-severe-mental-impairment-heres-how-to-claim/


    They've been medically certified as being severely mentally impaired. For example, this may be the case if they have dementia, Parkinson's, severe learning difficulties or have had a stroke. It will depend on each individual’s case though and simply having been diagnosed doesn’t automatically mean they qualify - a doctor must also certify they are severely mentally impaired.
  • CISCIS Forumite
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    simply having been diagnosed doesn’t automatically mean they qualify
    Not does it make it clear that they can't still qualify for SMI if there isn't a diagnosis of an illness - a diagnosis isn't needed (I pointed out this in the wording a while a go but...)


    The requisite requirement is:
    For the purposes of this paragraph a person is severely mentally impaired if he has a severe impairment of intelligence and social functioning (however caused) which appears to be permanent.

    Note the lack of any requirement to have actually been diagnosed with any specific illness - in basic terms, the cause doesn't make a difference, it's the effect that matters.

    I have seen reference to the condition being permanent.
    Subtle point on that one - the SMI only appears to be permanent, it doesn't have to actually be permanent. If the Dr signing the form is happy that it appears to be permanent at that point in time then they can sign. Obviously, if the position later changed the ongoing award would need to be looked at.
    I no longer work in Council Tax Recovery but instead work as a specialist Council Tax paralegal assisting landlords and Council Tax payers with council tax disputes and valuation tribunals. My views are my own reading of the law and you should always check with the local authority in question.
  • nicetomeetyounicetomeetyou Forumite
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    Would somebody with diagnosis of Mild Intellectual disability and secondly Schizoaffective Disorder which is chronic and relapsing which means they are on a court appointed Community Treatment Order to force them to take depot medication plus they lack capacity with finances, would they be entailed to SMI?
  • _shel_shel Forumite
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    Would somebody with diagnosis of Mild Intellectual disability and secondly Schizoaffective Disorder which is chronic and relapsing which means they are on a court appointed Community Treatment Order to force them to take depot medication plus they lack capacity with finances, would they be entailed to SMI?

    If your doctor GP will sign the form to confirm you have a severe mental impairment yes.

    I got it in respect of my hubby who has autism so I'd tell anyone to try.
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  • Following Martin’s article in a paper a month or so ago about SMI I helped my dad claim this as my mum has dementia. Our local council sent him a credit notice saying he was due about £270 for 17/18 and £230 for 18/19 which we claimed and were waiting for the refund (I also asked for backdating as mum has been receiving AA since Jan 16 and was waiting for the outcome of this). My dad has today received an adjusted council tax bill saying he now owes them money. I have contacted the council who have advised the credit notice was sent after the council tax billing department adjusted the bill due to the SMI claim and the 2nd adjustment was sent after the council tax support department had adjusted their help because of the SMI claim. It appears if you were getting council tax support prior to claiming SMI that gets reduced when you claim the SMI by exactly the same. Looking at the figures they were awarded £395.48 discount this year under SMI and the council tax support has been reduced by £395.48 because of the SMI so it seems pointless claiming it. Does this sound right? The council have just said this is correct and that’s it.
  • edited 23 November 2018 at 5:34PM
    KatrinaWavesKatrinaWaves Forumite
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    edited 23 November 2018 at 5:34PM
    Lynn8143 wrote: »
    Following Martin’s article in a paper a month or so ago about SMI I helped my dad claim this as my mum has dementia. Our local council sent him a credit notice saying he was due about £270 for 17/18 and £230 for 18/19 which we claimed and were waiting for the refund (I also asked for backdating as mum has been receiving AA since Jan 16 and was waiting for the outcome of this). My dad has today received an adjusted council tax bill saying he now owes them money. I have contacted the council who have advised the credit notice was sent after the council tax billing department adjusted the bill due to the SMI claim and the 2nd adjustment was sent after the council tax support department had adjusted their help because of the SMI claim. It appears if you were getting council tax support prior to claiming SMI that gets reduced when you claim the SMI by exactly the same. Looking at the figures they were awarded £395.48 discount this year under SMI and the council tax support has been reduced by £395.48 because of the SMI so it seems pointless claiming it. Does this sound right? The council have just said this is correct and that’s it.

    Council Tax reduction is based on how much council tax you have to pay, so when that amount is reduced due to an exemption then yes, your CTR entitlement will change.

    Are your parents actually paying any council tax, and have they paid any since the SMI was present? If they haven't been paying anything then they won't be given any money back, there is no cash benefit to CTR or SMI.

    Edit to add: It is not pointless to claim, as entitlement to CTR can change, whereas the SMI will most likely not.
  • CISCIS Forumite
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    Looking at the figures they were awarded £395.48 discount this year under SMI and the council tax support has been reduced by £395.48


    Sounds like they were receiving 100% Council Tax Reduction so the SMI discount just offset that - a little bit of a slip up though on the council's part if they've shown a credit demand notice to go out where the credit is only CTR as it then causes issues like this.
    I no longer work in Council Tax Recovery but instead work as a specialist Council Tax paralegal assisting landlords and Council Tax payers with council tax disputes and valuation tribunals. My views are my own reading of the law and you should always check with the local authority in question.
  • No they were only receiving a small amount of CTR and dad was paying most of the council tax, that’s why we expected the SMI to make a difference. Anyway it is was it is, just wanted to see if people thought it sounded right as didn’t have any confidence in the person I spoke to at the council- didn’t appear to understand it herself. Also couldn’t get her to understand that maybe it would be a good idea not to send out credit notices making people think they are going to be paid nearly £500 when it isn’t true. I spent 35 mins of my lunch break queuing to take the completed refund forms to the council (as instructed by them) when it wasn’t necessary. Thank you for your advice
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