Your browser isn't supported
It looks like you're using an old web browser. To get the most out of the site and to ensure guides display correctly, we suggest upgrading your browser now. Download the latest:

Welcome to the MSE Forums

We're home to a fantastic community of MoneySavers but anyone can post. Please exercise caution & report spam, illegal, offensive or libellous posts/messages: click "report" or email forumteam@.

Search
  • FIRST POST
    • MSE Sarah
    • By MSE Sarah 27th Nov 17, 4:54 PM
    • 145Posts
    • 71Thanks
    MSE Sarah
    Council tax discounts for ‘severe mental impairment’
    • #1
    • 27th Nov 17, 4:54 PM
    Council tax discounts for ‘severe mental impairment’ 27th Nov 17 at 4:54 PM


    Hi,

    We've written a new guide on Council tax discounts for ‘severe mental impairment’ and would appreciate your feedback.

    Please let us know if it was helpful and if there are any other tips you'd add.

    Thanks for your help!

    MSE Sarah
    Grab the latest MSE Deals
    Follow the Deals Team on Twitter: @MSE_Deals
    Get Martin's Money Tips
    Join the MSE Forum
Page 2
    • CIS
    • By CIS 12th May 18, 6:22 PM
    • 10,703 Posts
    • 6,198 Thanks
    CIS
    May I kindly ask for advice here?

    Is there any timescale related to this?

    My Aunt passed away a couple of years ago and I was her sole relative, carer and Executor. She had lived independently since the 1980's until she became too frail and then had to move to a care home for the last 6 years of her life. She paid full council tax whilst having a SMI for her whole adult life.

    Would I be able to submit a claim to her Council?

    Thank you.
    Originally posted by Ningaloo
    Legally there is nothing in legislation which prevents the backdating of a discount or exemption however many local authorities will try and argue that there is a 6 year limit on backdating. It can (and does) lead to to arguments and valuation tribunals. Really all that can be done though is to make an application and see where it gets you.
    I no longer work in Council Tax Recovery but instead work as a self employed Council Tax paralegal. My views are my own reading of the law and you should always check with the local authority in question.
    • hazelwood1
    • By hazelwood1 13th May 18, 8:41 AM
    • 1 Posts
    • 0 Thanks
    hazelwood1
    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?
    • CIS
    • By CIS 13th May 18, 8:55 AM
    • 10,703 Posts
    • 6,198 Thanks
    CIS
    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?
    Originally posted by hazelwood1
    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.
    Last edited by CIS; 13-05-2018 at 9:02 AM.
    I no longer work in Council Tax Recovery but instead work as a self employed Council Tax paralegal. My views are my own reading of the law and you should always check with the local authority in question.
    • Glynis W
    • By Glynis W 6th Jun 18, 12:47 PM
    • 5 Posts
    • 2 Thanks
    Glynis W
    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
    • CIS
    • By CIS 6th Jun 18, 1:07 PM
    • 10,703 Posts
    • 6,198 Thanks
    CIS
    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!
    Originally posted by Glynis W
    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 self employed Council Tax paralegal. My views are my own reading of the law and you should always check with the local authority in question.
    • Glynis W
    • By Glynis W 12th Jul 18, 1:18 PM
    • 5 Posts
    • 2 Thanks
    Glynis W
    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?
    • CIS
    • By CIS 12th Jul 18, 3:36 PM
    • 10,703 Posts
    • 6,198 Thanks
    CIS
    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?
    Originally posted by Glynis W
    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 self employed Council Tax paralegal. My views are my own reading of the law and you should always check with the local authority in question.
    • daviddee
    • By daviddee 22nd Aug 18, 9:47 PM
    • 37 Posts
    • 4 Thanks
    daviddee
    6 year limit
    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.
    • CIS
    • By CIS 23rd Aug 18, 8:47 AM
    • 10,703 Posts
    • 6,198 Thanks
    CIS
    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.
    Originally posted by daviddee

    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.
    Last edited by CIS; 23-08-2018 at 9:00 AM.
    I no longer work in Council Tax Recovery but instead work as a self employed Council Tax paralegal. My views are my own reading of the law and you should always check with the local authority in question.
    • Afraid of Kittens
    • By Afraid of Kittens 23rd Aug 18, 3:37 PM
    • 149 Posts
    • 151 Thanks
    Afraid of Kittens
    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?
    Originally posted by Glynis W
    Did you get any Council Tax Benefit being in receipt of those benefits?
    • daviddee
    • By daviddee 23rd Aug 18, 10:30 PM
    • 37 Posts
    • 4 Thanks
    daviddee
    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.
    Last edited by daviddee; 09-09-2018 at 7:17 PM.
    • CIS
    • By CIS 24th Aug 18, 8:10 AM
    • 10,703 Posts
    • 6,198 Thanks
    CIS
    Hi,

    Thanks for your reply.

    My local authoroty is Stockton on Tees.

    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.
    Originally posted by daviddee

    If you want to do it correctly there is a process of notification which is required prior to using a valuation tribunal (it removes the, slight but real, risk of a tribunal rejecting an application).


    You can certainly make them aware of Prof Zellick's statement (he dealt with the leading cases on backdating) but, to succeed at the backdating it would need more than just that. I'd say that the chance of the council changing their mind prior are slim (although you may be lucky a well constructed argument) so a tribunal is very likely in my experience of backdating disputes.

    Once it heads the way of a tribunal then you're going to need to delve in legislation and previous decisions (for some issues this is not so much of a problem but it is for backdating). Most likely the local authority will quote the Arca decision without consideration of the later cases which clarified (and to some extent, corrected) the Arca decision on backdating.
    I no longer work in Council Tax Recovery but instead work as a self employed Council Tax paralegal. My views are my own reading of the law and you should always check with the local authority in question.
    • MSE Kate
    • By MSE Kate 24th Aug 18, 3:14 PM
    • 3 Posts
    • 0 Thanks
    MSE Kate
    Looking for people in Wales who have applied for the SMI discount on council tax.
    Hi,

    We’re looking to speak to people in Wales who have applied for the “Severely Mentally Impaired” (SMI) discount on council tax.

    By law, someone who has been medically certified as having a permanent condition that affects their intelligence and social functioning (eg, Alzheimer's or severe learning difficulties, but many other conditions may apply) is 'disregarded for council tax purposes' in England, Scotland and Wales. It means you can claim:

    A 25% discount – if someone in your household is considered to have a severe mental impairment and there are no other adults, or only adults who have also been disregarded for council tax purposes.
    A 100% discount – if you have a severe mental impairment and live alone.


    For further information on who is eligible, please read our news story.

    If you’ve applied for this discount and are willing to share your story, please email us on smi@moneysavingexpert.com.

    Thanks,
    MSE Kate

    We want to hear your stories but for security please don't put any personal details or your phone number here – we’ll respond to your email and if necessary, ask if we can call you. We'd be looking to talk to you about the circumstances of you or someone you know. This information will not be recorded without your permission. Your details will only be used for this project and will not be held any longer than necessary.
    Last edited by MSE Kate; 24-08-2018 at 4:20 PM.
    • daviddee
    • By daviddee 24th Aug 18, 7:41 PM
    • 37 Posts
    • 4 Thanks
    daviddee
    Ok thanks for that.

    It’s at this point I’m beginning to wonder if I’m knowledgable enough to take on the council. I don’t even know what a process of notification is. So literally thinking the council have got the upper hand here!

    Dave.
    • CIS
    • By CIS 25th Aug 18, 2:06 PM
    • 10,703 Posts
    • 6,198 Thanks
    CIS
    Ok thanks for that.

    It’s at this point I’m beginning to wonder if I’m knowledgable enough to take on the council. I don’t even know what a process of notification is. So literally thinking the council have got the upper hand here!

    Dave.
    Originally posted by daviddee

    It can be a difficult process if the council aren't willing to give ground. I spend almost every day battling local authorities over similar issues and sometimes it's like batting your head off a brick wall trying to argue points of legislation and case law on backdating with them and that's my day job (so I know what it's like with the power imbalance, which massively favours those who know the system - like the councils).
    I no longer work in Council Tax Recovery but instead work as a self employed Council Tax paralegal. My views are my own reading of the law and you should always check with the local authority in question.
    • Hounded out
    • By Hounded out 27th Aug 18, 11:27 AM
    • 53 Posts
    • 30 Thanks
    Hounded out
    Hi daviddee,

    Sorry to hear about the distress you are experiencing. CIS is a good person to offer guidance and I for the main part second what he says.

    I recently helped a friend out with a similar scenario and am presently in the midst of helping them undertake the tortuous and non transparent process of making a complaint against the Council - a topic which is to be the subject of a separate post.

    Anyhow, FYI the customary legal statute of limitations to make any form of a claim to a court in England and Wales is a variable number of years dependant on the circumstances of a case. For example, the limitation period for a disability discrimination claim to a civil court is one year post the alleged act (way too short in my opinion) whilst there is (as you would expect) normally no limitation period for the likes of a heinous crime such as rape etc.

    The judgement ruling which CIS provided an extract from is cited below and referred to a serial offender when it comes to allegedly ripping off council tax payers, namely Bradford Metropolitan District Council:

    http://info.valuation-tribunals.gov.uk/Decision_Documents/documents/CT_England/4705M141113254C.pdf

    I have briefly scanned the above ruling and the 'case' in question did not address Council tax discounts and repayments for ‘severe mental impairment’ per se; it dealt with another Council Tax matter all together. Therefore, the facts and circumstances of your case may be somewhat different and thus you cannot simply assume that you can rely upon the ruling.

    In your case the statute that the Council would seek to rely upon would be 6 years (allied to a 'breach of contract'). The quote made in the case that is however particularly helpful for your argument is as follows and is an argument I relied upon for my friend (who was awarded a 12 year full back payment of Council Tax). It is found in
    para18 of the ruling:

    "The only question in these appeals, therefore, is whether the appellants have brought these proceedings within six years of the date on which the cause of action accrued."

    In your case it may well be argued that the above wording will help affirm your claim and in all likelihood allow any appeal (post completing a 'notification' to your Council) to the Valuation Tribunal to be successful. CIS is correct in what he says re the Council relying on the 'Arca' case, but that ruling has now in effect been corrected.

    Reading the above the OP (of this sub-thread) may now be even mixed up. Confusion is however what Councils such as Bradford like because it means that few constituents can be bothered to appeal and go through what on occasions can appear to be a long winded, complex and tiresome Tribunal process. Nonetheless, you have gone this far, so I would stick to your guns. I for my part (and merely based on what you allege) am very confident that you will win any appeal, but there are of course no guarantees in law.

    I am happy to help out in any way we can and even review draft letters for you. I cannot speak for CIS, but he/she may also be presumably able to continue to offer guidance and CIS appears to be far more experienced than I am in Public Law.

    However, before doing anything may I politely suggest that you delete any reference in your earlier posts to the name of your Council; you daviddee can go back to your post and edit it out, or put in another arbitrary Council name. I say this because it may with respect be somewhat fool hardy to litigate (or even prepare to litigate) via a public forum. I have in the past referred to apparent parties to a claim (and as a result had abuse thrown at me by some members), but unbeknown to said abusive members I purposefully changed the parties names as I was merely seeking feedback on some rather unusual matters of law.

    I cannot offer any assurance that my opinion has any merit, but I sincerely hope that I have been of some assistance.
    • CIS
    • By CIS 27th Aug 18, 12:23 PM
    • 10,703 Posts
    • 6,198 Thanks
    CIS
    I have briefly scanned the above ruling and the 'case' in question did not address Council tax discounts and repayments for ‘severe mental impairment’ per se; it dealt with another Council Tax matter all together. Therefore, the facts and circumstances of your case may be somewhat different and thus you cannot simply assume that you can rely upon the ruling.
    You're right in that you can never assume anything 100% when it comes to a Tribunal as you're effectively handing the decision making process to a group of third parties.

    I have used Holdsworth as part of tribunal cases previously regarding backdating of other discounts (there are certain key statements from it which I use). As the Holdsworth decision was made by the Tribunal President then his points of clarification on legislation are seen as guiding principles so are always good to point out to the tribunal. Holdsworth by itself isn't about SMI backdating but what it sets is a route, when combined with other cases (also President's decisions) to argue the point regarding backdating.

    I have a couple of SMI backdating cases going through to tribunal at the moment on cases I've worked with so, it's in the hands of the tribunal and fingers crossed that the decisions will sway the them (all you can do is try). I know on one of the case the argument appears to have been enough for the council to drop the 'can't go back more than 6 years' and change their stance to another point of rejection but hey ho that's life.

    CIS is correct in what he says re the Council relying on the 'Arca' case, but that ruling has now in effect been corrected.
    It has but try telling local authorities that - I have to point it out quite often ! I know of one local authority who not too long back won a case by using Arca on the same issues that that have since been corrected and clarified by the President. It was, in my opinion, a failing by the tribunal not to have considered the later clarifications as it would have clearly altered the decision if they had. It seems the like person in that case represented themselves and were unfortunately not aware of the later cases and, if the council knew, they weren't letting on.
    Last edited by CIS; 27-08-2018 at 12:26 PM.
    I no longer work in Council Tax Recovery but instead work as a self employed Council Tax paralegal. My views are my own reading of the law and you should always check with the local authority in question.
    • daviddee
    • By daviddee 9th Sep 18, 7:34 PM
    • 37 Posts
    • 4 Thanks
    daviddee
    Hi.

    Can I first start by apologising. I had not seen your reply to my post until this evening and I appreciate you taking the time and trouble to reply to me.

    I have removed the authority from my post as you have advised, but it is obviously still there in quote form in a reply to my post and I can’t remove it from there.

    I will try to digest what you have said in the next day or so and welcome any advice you can give.
    At this very moment I’m dealing with a financial assessment form, attendance allowance form and a housing benefit form for my father who has recently moved into assisted living after receiving injuries from being hit by a car and hopefully I will get them completed in a day or so and can then focus on considering where to go with regards my own claim for backdated council tax.

    Thanks
    Dave.
    • 1974Stephen
    • By 1974Stephen 9th Sep 18, 7:55 PM
    • 30 Posts
    • 46 Thanks
    1974Stephen
    Hi. Not sure if this is off topic, but I have just applied for this discount with Glasgow City Council for my mum who has brain damage. The injury occured in 2007 and her GP signed the form confirming this. When I spoke to Council Tax about backdating, the operator told me they have no rules on backdating so just put whatever date I wanted on the form.

    I only posted the form yesterday but will report back here about the outcome.
    • CIS
    • By CIS 10th Sep 18, 8:33 AM
    • 10,703 Posts
    • 6,198 Thanks
    CIS
    Hi. Not sure if this is off topic, but I have just applied for this discount with Glasgow City Council for my mum who has brain damage. The injury occured in 2007 and her GP signed the form confirming this. When I spoke to Council Tax about backdating, the operator told me they have no rules on backdating so just put whatever date I wanted on the form.

    I only posted the form yesterday but will report back here about the outcome.
    Originally posted by 1974Stephen

    The earliest date is that on which there is an entitlement to a qualifying benefit and the SMI status has been certified, if this is 2007 then that date would be the correct one to give - for them to say to use any date is potentially going to mislead people.
    I no longer work in Council Tax Recovery but instead work as a self employed Council Tax paralegal. My views are my own reading of the law and you should always check with the local authority in question.
Welcome to our new Forum!

Our aim is to save you money quickly and easily. We hope you like it!

Forum Team Contact us

Live Stats

3,213Posts Today

8,079Users online

Martin's Twitter