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Council tax discounts for ‘severe mental impairment’

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  • DigForVictory
    DigForVictory Posts: 11,918 Forumite
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    Just to point out this can be misused - I can't see any way to protect my son (a not yet stabilised epileptic) from his landlord who is happily claiming the severe mental impairment discount for him when his medics will definitely not certify him as anything other than a 99% functional adult.
    I do hope they catch up & demand the paperwork soon.
  • CIS
    CIS Posts: 12,260 Forumite
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    The valuation tribunal is freely available and information is publicised - it should be noted though that there is a specific process prior to using the tribunal and they cannot hear all cases.

    Just to point out this can be misused - I can't see any way to protect my son (a not yet stabilised epileptic) from his landlord who is happily claiming the severe mental impairment discount for him when his medics will definitely not certify him as anything other than a 99% functional adult.
    I do hope they catch up & demand the paperwork soon.
    In which case there would have to be fraud involved as a Dr has to confirm in writing to the council as to the medical position, as well as a person being entitled a qualifying benefit.
    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.
  • CIS
    CIS Posts: 12,260 Forumite
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    patd1967 wrote: »
    I normally love how insightful Martin Lewis can be.But today as got to be the exception im afraid.He makes this sound so simple, but sadly that's not the case.
    Take for example my father who was diagnosed with Parkinsons disease 7 years ago, everything Martin as discussed we have done 4 yes 4 times and been turned down for the discount.Apparently according to North East Derbyshire District Council they claim parkinsons disease does not entitle you to any discount.
    Foot note he has been diagnosed by GP and Hospital Consultant plus gets Attendance Allowance at higher rate.Im at a total loss what to do next


    Unless the Dr certifies that a person meets the specific criteria in legislation then it does not, as far the legislation is concerned, matter how ill a person is. It is not the council that determines if a person meets the SMI criteria , it's for a Dr to determine. If a person has been determined to meet the criteria then the council would assess any reduction which applies.

    If it's the case of a council ignoring what the Dr says and the person would otherwise qualify for the disregard then that's the sort of thing that, if a client came to me with it, I'd be disputing it formally and then taking it to a valuation tribunal.
    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.
  • CIS
    CIS Posts: 12,260 Forumite
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    I am certain my mum would qualify for the mental impairment discount as she has been diagnosed with vascular dementia and also is a long term sufferer of severe anxiety and panic disorder. Until December 2017, she lived alone and got the 25% single person discount. At that point I had to move in care for her 24/7 leaving my own home vacant but furnished and as a single person, am also still paying my council tax at the 25% discounted rate. However, I now realise I may qualify for a class J exemption.


    Can you please tell me how the carer and mental health impairment discounts would/should apply to each of is in these particular set of circumstance and do means/savings tests affect eligibility? Should we both get 100% discount?


    Thanks so much in advance for any advice offered.


    She would need to qualify as SMI which requires that she has "a severe impairment of intelligence and social functioning (however caused) which appears to be permanent.".



    A class J may apply but that would require a moving of your 'sole or main residence' - it would likely require an argument on the merits of 'sole or main residence' before the council awarded it (although some may be easier than others to satisfy).



    If she was found to be SMI then you would need to meet the council tax requirements of a carer to get a 50% reduction (the best possible) otherwise it would be a 25% reduction only from when you moved in.


    Backdating is not particularly an issue if it's less than 6 years, any issues are more so in the arguing of the entitlement.
    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.
  • Bakes53
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    My husband was diagnosed with Parkinson’s in 2011 but has recently been diagnosed with Parkinson’s dementia. Which diagnosis do councils calculate tax rebate from? I have applied 3 times previously only to be refused but I’m waiting to hear from the council again.
    Can anyone advise please?
  • KatrinaWaves
    KatrinaWaves Posts: 2,944 Forumite
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    Bakes53 wrote: »
    My husband was diagnosed with Parkinson’s in 2011 but has recently been diagnosed with Parkinson’s dementia. Which diagnosis do councils calculate tax rebate from? I have applied 3 times previously only to be refused but I’m waiting to hear from the council again.
    Can anyone advise please?

    As stated previous the councils don't decide, the dr does.

    So if the Dr says 'in my opinion Mr Bakes53 has been SMI since 2011', they would go with 2011.

    If the Dr states that 'In my opinion Mr Bakes53's condition has declined as such as he has been SMI since December 2017, they would go with that.'

    it may be that he does not qualify even WITH the diagnosis of Parkinson's dementia, depending on his current status.
  • CIS
    CIS Posts: 12,260 Forumite
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    Bakes53 wrote: »
    My husband was diagnosed with Parkinson’s in 2011 but has recently been diagnosed with Parkinson’s dementia. Which diagnosis do councils calculate tax rebate from? I have applied 3 times previously only to be refused but I’m waiting to hear from the council again.
    Can anyone advise please?


    It should be the date that the SMI status was certified from (and also ensuring all the other relevant criteria are also met). Presumably the Dr has now certified the SMI status ?
    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.
  • staggered
    staggered Posts: 350 Forumite
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    patd1967 wrote: »
    I normally love how insightful Martin Lewis can be.But today as got to be the exception im afraid.He makes this sound so simple, but sadly that's not the case.
    Take for example my father who was diagnosed with Parkinsons disease 7 years ago, everything Martin as discussed we have done 4 yes 4 times and been turned down for the discount.Apparently according to North East Derbyshire District Council they claim parkinsons disease does not entitle you to any discount.
    Foot note he has been diagnosed by GP and Hospital Consultant plus gets Attendance Allowance at higher rate.Im at a total loss what to do next

    I want to defend Martin here.

    I agree that, when Martin talks about discounts for Severe Mental Impairment, he could perhaps be a bit clearer about eligibility for the discount.

    He often refers to strokes, Alzheimers and Parkinsons, giving some people the impression that someone with those conditions automatically qualifies, while someone with different conditions doesn't. I think that's unfortunate. As has been repeatedly said on here, it's up to a GP to decide whether, in their expert opinion, someone's illness affects them in such a way that it constitutes a "Severe Mental Impairment". It doesn't matter a jot what someone at the council says - it's the GP who decides this.

    However, I think it's extremely important that Martin says that, in the majority of cases, claiming the discount is easy. In our case, we filled out a short form, attached a copy of the letter that the DWP sent mum when she started receiving attendance allowance, and posted them off to the council. It took less than half an hour to do. The council wrote to mum's gp, he confirmed her SMI and, not too long after, dad received a cheque.

    It was extremely difficult convincing dad to make the claim. He was convinced that it would be a difficult process, that he wasn't "clever" enough to argue his case to the council, that mum would be upset by everything, and that, at the end of the day, we probably wouldn't get the discount anyway. If Martin had given the slightest inkling that it would be difficult, dad wouldn't have gone ahead, and he wouldn't have received the money that he was entitled to.

    I think that, in your case, you should fill in the council's application form. The Council should contact your father's GP and ask him to certify whether your father's illness constitutes a "severe mental impairment". If they refuse to do this, you'd have strong grounds to take them to tribunal.

    If they write to your father's GP, and the GP says your father doesn't have a "severe mental impairment" (not everyone with Parkinson's does) then I'm afraid your application won't have been successful.
  • Machine_Silver
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    Thank you very much for your very helpful reply.


    Just to clarify that I believe mum does qualify as SMI since her dementia diagnosis as of early 2017 and I will pursue that with her Psychiatrist and GPs. Until December 2017 she had a long standing severe anxiety and panic disorder but was living alone with daily support from me as her carer and I have been registered with and recognised as such by the council since 2012.


    Then in December 2017 after the dementia diagnosis, I had to move in to care for mum 24/7. At that time I vacated my own property which to date is still furnished, registered as my main residence and I still pay my full council tax at the 25% discounted single persons rate. Because I still pay my own council tax, my mum to date is also still paying the 25% discounted single person's rate, i.e. we have not formally declared mum's address as my sole place of residence.

    So, if I understand your reply correctly, as I am recognised as mum's carer and receive carer's allowance and am the only other resident at her address, she could get 100% discount backdated for the period from early 2017 when she became SMI but still living alone and 50% from the point when I moved in to care for her in late 2017?


    We then come to the question of whether I am then additionally entitled to a class J exemption on my own property or have I blown it by still having that declared as my main residence even though I have not lived in it for 17 months?


    Hope I have explained that adequately? It would be really helpful to understand this specific situation as I know several other carers in my support groups who are in similar circumstance.


    Thank you.
  • CIS
    CIS Posts: 12,260 Forumite
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    So, if I understand your reply correctly, as I am recognised as mum's carer and receive carer's allowance and am the only other resident at her address, she could get 100% discount backdated for the period from early 2017 when she became SMI but still living alone and 50% from the point when I moved in to care for her in late 2017?
    That is one of a range of possible scenarios.
    We then come to the question of whether I am then additionally entitled to a class J exemption on my own property or have I blown it by still having that declared as my main residence even though I have not lived in it for 17 months?
    That is getting in to range of discussions with the council where it may start to get awkward as it can devolve in to technical arguments over 'sole or main residence'. This will have big effect on what can be claimed (There is no 'formal' declaration of 'sole or main residence'.)
    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.
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