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Council tax discounts for ‘severe mental impairment’

edited 30 November -1 at 12:00AM in Benefits & Tax Credits
150 replies 24K views
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  • Please can you advise me. I understood that SMI reduction was based on the person effected by this which allowed for a reduction. A letter from my council says that a reduction is awared on the basis tha the property is only occupied by ywo adults one who has SMI.
    The electoral records show that at one duaghter was on the electoral roll, she is now in her own home My other duaghter is now on the roll but is at uni.
    I have read around this area but cant see that it says no more than two adults. I understood that reduction was based on SMI not how many people who lived in the same place?Please can you advise me?
  • edited 13 May 2018 at 8:02AM
    CISCIS Forumite
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    edited 13 May 2018 at 8:02AM
    hazelwood1 wrote: »
    Please can you advise me. I understood that SMI reduction was based on the person effected by this which allowed for a reduction. A letter from my council says that a reduction is awared on the basis tha the property is only occupied by ywo adults one who has SMI.
    The electoral records show that at one duaghter was on the electoral roll, she is now in her own home My other duaghter is now on the roll but is at uni.
    I have read around this area but cant see that it says no more than two adults. I understood that reduction was based on SMI not how many people who lived in the same place?Please can you advise me?

    Council Tax discounts/exemptions work on the basis of the number of adult residents and the number of those residents who are 'disregarded' (for example disregarded as SMI or as a full time student). The two things must be considered together and not in isolation.

    If there are 2 or more adults in the property who are not disregarded then no discount/exemption can be given. Where there is only 1 adult who is not disregarded there can be a 25% discount - if all adults are disregarded then either a 50% discount or a complete exemption applies (dependent on the exact circumstances).

    It sounds like the council have given you a general example rather than perhaps tailoring the reply to meet your circumstances. You could have 50 adults in a house and if 49 were disregarded a 25% discount would still apply.
    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.
  • Glynis_WGlynis_W Forumite
    5 posts
    Hi
    the information is good but there are still questions if anyone can help please.
    Has anyone actually been able to prove they were in receipt of the benefits without having correspondence from DWP and JobCentre.
    My husband was receive Invalidity and Disability Living allowance from 2001 following a severe stroke. DWP have archived his DLA information and Invalidity did the same and have not got back to me despite 2 requests.
    I have the information on his PIP and for when he switched to ESA, also managed to find a DLA letter that takes us back to 2007, but nothing for Invalidity. I never in a million years thought I needed to keep everything for 18 years.
    Should Bank statements be sufficient to prove he was in receipt? I have them!
    Also is there a 6 year limit or not? I have heard some people say their council is limiting rebate to just 6 years. Nice if they had made us all aware of this, or the social workers had at any time in the last 18 years! Thanks for your help
  • CISCIS Forumite
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    Glynis_W wrote: »
    Hi
    the information is good but there are still questions if anyone can help please.
    Has anyone actually been able to prove they were in receipt of the benefits without having correspondence from DWP and JobCentre.
    My husband was receive Invalidity and Disability Living allowance from 2001 following a severe stroke. DWP have archived his DLA information and Invalidity did the same and have not got back to me despite 2 requests.
    I have the information on his PIP and for when he switched to ESA, also managed to find a DLA letter that takes us back to 2007, but nothing for Invalidity. I never in a million years thought I needed to keep everything for 18 years.
    Should Bank statements be sufficient to prove he was in receipt? I have them!
    DWP will usually be able to confirm receipt if you ask them - if they can't then there's nothing to stop alternative proof being offered to the council. To be honest I've not come across a case where the proof has been offered in that way but there's nothing in the regulations to stop it.
    Also is there a 6 year limit or not? I have heard some people say their council is limiting rebate to just 6 years. Nice if they had made us all aware of this, or the social workers had at any time in the last 18 years! Thanks for your help

    The '6 year limit' is a mis-application of s9 of the Limitation Act 1980 as far as the former president of the valuation tribunal (Prof Zellick QC) ruled - councils misuse the 'Arca' case and haven't kept up to date with other cases where that particular decision was updated (and corrected - Prof Zellick later admitted he misinterpreted the Limitation Act in the Arca case).

    Until it goes to a higher court to rule further then his ruling should be followed by the valuation tribunal as far as possible - councils should be following what the valuation tribunal rule simply because, if not, and it goes to a tribunal the council have wasted their time (and the consideration of a law professor and QC who was president of the tribunal is certainly worth listening to where there is no higher precedent available).

    I have argued the same issues regarding the 6 year backdating in cases (using cases which have superseded Arca) that have got to a tribunal and the tribunal have agreed - for work purposes I keep a copy of the argument I used for future use in similar cases as it crops up time and time again in the cases I see.
    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.
  • I received £8200 odd from Wirral Borough Council on behalf of my husband
    Doctor said 15 years for the SMI part on his document
    Incapacity benefit confirmed date of initial receipt as June 2001, switching to ESA and ongoing
    DLA letter I have only goes back to 2007 - and they have deleted everything in archive so they are looking to see what they can do to prove his benefits went back to 2001
    Council only went back to 2007?
    Does the Incapacity letter not count as qualifying?
  • Important update! We have recently reviewed and updated our Forum Rules and FAQs. Please take the time to familiarise yourself with the latest version.
  • CISCIS Forumite
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    Glynis_W wrote: »
    I received £8200 odd from Wirral Borough Council on behalf of my husband
    Doctor said 15 years for the SMI part on his document
    Incapacity benefit confirmed date of initial receipt as June 2001, switching to ESA and ongoing
    DLA letter I have only goes back to 2007 - and they have deleted everything in archive so they are looking to see what they can do to prove his benefits went back to 2001
    Council only went back to 2007?
    Does the Incapacity letter not count as qualifying?

    Incapacity Benefit was introduced as a qualifying benefit from 1 April 1996.



    Craig
    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.
  • Hi,
    Just wondering if I can get some advice. I’ve had a refund for SMI, but the council are using the six year limit and refusing to backdate to 1995 when the SMI became applicable.

    Can you give me some advice on how I go about appealing this and what I can write back to them refuting this point?

    Thanks

    Dave.
  • edited 23 August 2018 at 8:00AM
    CISCIS Forumite
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    edited 23 August 2018 at 8:00AM
    daviddee wrote: »
    Hi,
    Just wondering if I can get some advice. I’ve had a refund for SMI, but the council are using the six year limit and refusing to backdate to 1995 when the SMI became applicable.

    Can you give me some advice on how I go about appealing this and what I can write back to them refuting this point?

    Thanks

    Dave.


    Which local authority is it ?

    In the words of the (former) Valuation Tribunal England President Prof. Zellick QC "The [Local Government Finance] Act does not set a limit on the number of years in the past in respect of which sums may be recovered. That is the fundamental error made by the BA[Billing Authority] in these appeals." - there's a bit more to the overall argument against restricting it but that's one of the key statements. Council's backed off for a while but there seems to another increase that I'm seeing in the use of the Limitation Act to restrict the backdating.


    Going back to 1995 is a long time but it has been done before in respect of discounts in some cases - expect the council to fight it all the way.
    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.
  • Afraid_of_KittensAfraid_of_Kittens Forumite
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    Glynis_W wrote: »
    I received £8200 odd from Wirral Borough Council on behalf of my husband
    Doctor said 15 years for the SMI part on his document
    Incapacity benefit confirmed date of initial receipt as June 2001, switching to ESA and ongoing
    DLA letter I have only goes back to 2007 - and they have deleted everything in archive so they are looking to see what they can do to prove his benefits went back to 2001
    Council only went back to 2007?
    Does the Incapacity letter not count as qualifying?

    Did you get any Council Tax Benefit being in receipt of those benefits?
    I enjoy flower arranging, kittens, devil worship, the study of serial killers and their methods and road kill jigsaws.
  • edited 9 September 2018 at 6:17PM
    daviddeedaviddee Forumite
    37 posts
    edited 9 September 2018 at 6:17PM
    Hi,

    Thanks for your reply.



    Im just not sure how to word the letter replying to them to rejecting this six year ruling.

    If I write saying I want to appeal,aga8nst their decision on only backdating six years and include the professors words on this, is there anything else I should be saying in the letter, such as that I’m prepared to take it to a valuation tribunal?

    Thanks
    Dave.
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