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    • Arcade Dreams
    • By Arcade Dreams 10th Oct 19, 12:55 AM
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    Arcade Dreams
    Retrospective Council Tax Assistance refund problems
    • #1
    • 10th Oct 19, 12:55 AM
    Retrospective Council Tax Assistance refund problems 10th Oct 19 at 12:55 AM
    Hello MSE forums.

    I would be grateful for any help or advice.

    I was my father's long-term carer for the last years of his life as he was elderly and suffered from multiple serious health problems. I looked after him and lived in his home for that time. I did not work in this time, nor did I receive any state benefit of any kind.

    Towards the end of his life when he was terminally ill I used his bank account to pay the outstanding Council Tax bill. My father and I had long since agreed such contingency plans in the event of any of his illnesses becoming terminal. I also had Power of Attorney over his finances and home. Sadly, he died shortly after I settled the remaining bill.

    By chance this year I discovered that I could have applied for Council Tax assistance rather than paid the full remaining amount using my father's money. I would have qualified financially as I had under my local authority's threshold to qualify for assistance.

    I have tried to claim this money back but have been fobbed off multiple times. Eventually my local authority accepted that I had reasonable ongoing cause to qualify but as they claim that they can only backdate this six months from the date which I applied for retrospective assistance, I am not entitled to a refund.

    That cannot be correct!? By the time I was even aware that I could have claimed Council Tax Assistance, it was later than six months anyway. That is surely no basis for a local authority to keep hold of money they were not entitled to in the first place?

    I also believe that my father should have been entitled to a 25% Council Tax reduction for some years on the basis of "severe mental impairment." This is something I can prove applied to him. My local authority has not mentioned this to me at any point of my correspondence which concerns me, especially considering I didn't receive any financial help from the public purse for looking after my father. Which is another story in itself.

    All of this is causing me a fair amount of stress and hassle and brings back some quite upsetting memories. Therefore any help would be greatly appreciated.

    Thank you.
Page 1
    • CIS
    • By CIS 10th Oct 19, 10:17 AM
    • 11,392 Posts
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    CIS
    • #2
    • 10th Oct 19, 10:17 AM
    • #2
    • 10th Oct 19, 10:17 AM
    By chance this year I discovered that I could have applied for Council Tax assistance rather than paid the full remaining amount using my father's money. I would have qualified financially as I had under my local authority's threshold to qualify for assistance.
    Council Tax Reduction is calculated differently to the usual council tax rules on backdating and has quite stringent rules. A person is not entitled to Council Tax Reduction unless they make a claim within the relevant deadlines and meet the means test.

    I also believe that my father should have been entitled to a 25% Council Tax reduction for some years on the basis of "severe mental impairment." This is something I can prove applied to him. My local authority has not mentioned this to me at any point of my correspondence which concerns me, especially considering I didn't receive any financial help from the public purse for looking after my father. Which is another story in itself.
    This is a completely different issue to that of Council Tax Reduction and falls under different rules - Disputes over backdating of SMI disregards/exemptions are one of the biggest types of cases that I see. You may well have a case over their failure to pick up on the fact, it's certainly a argument I've used at tribunals and it would seem like a similar case may apply here for you to use (assuming the disregard is applicable).

    How many people were resident in the property ? (It may there should be a 50% discount rather than a 25%).

    Whether or not you received public funds or not is of no concern to the actual SMI entitlement for council tax purposes.
    Last edited by CIS; 10-10-2019 at 2:42 PM.
    I no longer work in Council Tax Recovery but instead work as a self employed 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.
    • Arcade Dreams
    • By Arcade Dreams 11th Oct 19, 12:56 AM
    • 3 Posts
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    Arcade Dreams
    • #3
    • 11th Oct 19, 12:56 AM
    • #3
    • 11th Oct 19, 12:56 AM
    Council Tax Reduction is calculated differently to the usual council tax rules on backdating and has quite stringent rules. A person is not entitled to Council Tax Reduction unless they make a claim within the relevant deadlines and meet the means test.
    Originally posted by CIS
    Thank you, CIS, for taking the time to reply - your response is of great help to me.

    Unfortunately, it therefore seems that there is little I can do about this part of my claim but it does seem morally wrong that my Local Authority is allowed to remain in receipt of a sum of money which they should have not been entitled to in the first place, had I been aware of the rules at the time.

    Failing to qualify for a retrospective refund simply because of arbitrary time frames for applying leaves a bad taste in one's mouth. Especially after I saved the public purse a fair amount of money by looking after my father myself. Not to mention the stress I suffered in doing so.

    But thank you for your reply as it at least saves me time and stress for a battle I cannot win...

    This is a completely different issue to that of Council Tax Reduction and falls under different rules - Disputes over backdating of...exemptions are one of the biggest types of cases that I see. You may well have a case over their failure to pick up on the fact, it's certainly a argument I've used at tribunals and it would seem like a similar case may apply here for you to use (assuming the disregard is applicable).

    How many people were resident in the property ? (It may there should be a 50% discount rather than a 25%).

    Whether or not you received public funds or not is of no concern to the actual SMI entitlement for council tax purposes.
    Originally posted by CIS
    ...and it gives me greater motivation to see this matter through as soon as possible. I will read the link you provided over the weekend.

    It was just me and my father in the property. Also, one of his illnesses was a dementia, so he could not live safely on his own with a malfunctioning memory. So I hope proving the SMI should be a fairly straightforward matter.

    I did apply for Assistance Allowance on the advice of the specialist and team who diagnosed dementia and they seemed certain my father would qualify. Alas we did not and years later I found out that we should have appealed the decision as refusal on first application is quite common. But as I understand it, it is far too late to appeal the AA decision now.

    But I hope that the fact he did not receive AA or any other benefit, does not immediately disqualify me from a partial CT refund or even severely weaken my case.

    Thank you once again for taking the time to reply It really does make a big difference to get straight answers after unsuccessfully trying to find definitive answers myself through hours of internet based research.
    • CIS
    • By CIS 11th Oct 19, 11:26 AM
    • 11,392 Posts
    • 6,662 Thanks
    CIS
    • #4
    • 11th Oct 19, 11:26 AM
    • #4
    • 11th Oct 19, 11:26 AM
    Unfortunately, it therefore seems that there is little I can do about this part of my claim but it does seem morally wrong that my Local Authority is allowed to remain in receipt of a sum of money which they should have not been entitled to in the first place, had I been aware of the rules at the time.
    They're not remaining in receipt of it just because you haven't claimed, it comes out of a pot of money that is there whether a person claims or not. Unfortunately for state benefits the onus to claim rests on the claimant and, unlike council tax discounts, the council have no duty to assess entitlement without a claim.


    But I hope that the fact he did not receive AA or any other benefit, does not immediately disqualify me from a partial CT refund or even severely weaken my case.
    You'd need to show entitlement to a qualifying benefit if it is not being paid - almost impossible to do so.

    Thank you once again for taking the time to reply It really does make a big difference to get straight answers after unsuccessfully trying to find definitive answers myself through hours of internet based research.
    And this is why there's still scope for people who deal with it for a living - the legislation etc can get complicated and confusing.
    I no longer work in Council Tax Recovery but instead work as a self employed 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.
    • Arcade Dreams
    • By Arcade Dreams 20th Oct 19, 11:53 PM
    • 3 Posts
    • 0 Thanks
    Arcade Dreams
    • #5
    • 20th Oct 19, 11:53 PM
    • #5
    • 20th Oct 19, 11:53 PM
    Thank you again, CIS for your reply.

    They're not remaining in receipt of it just because you haven't claimed, it comes out of a pot of money that is there whether a person claims or not. Unfortunately for state benefits the onus to claim rests on the claimant and, unlike council tax discounts, the council have no duty to assess entitlement without a claim.
    Originally posted by CIS
    Ah, I see. How frustrating...in my case, at least!

    You'd need to show entitlement to a qualifying benefit if it is not being paid - almost impossible to do so.
    Originally posted by CIS
    Sorry, I still find all of this a bit confusing. Does the fact that my father did not receive AA or any other state benefit (despite his array of serious health problems in his last years) therefore preclude me from being able to prove significant mental impairment? Or in other words, is my claim for a partial retrospective refund for my father having an s.m.i doomed to fail from the start?

    And this is why there's still scope for people who deal with it for a living - the legislation etc can get complicated and confusing.
    Originally posted by CIS
    From personal experience, I fully agree. It is a bit of a minefield, to say the least!
    • CIS
    • By CIS 21st Oct 19, 10:53 AM
    • 11,392 Posts
    • 6,662 Thanks
    CIS
    • #6
    • 21st Oct 19, 10:53 AM
    • #6
    • 21st Oct 19, 10:53 AM
    Sorry, I still find all of this a bit confusing. Does the fact that my father did not receive AA or any other state benefit (despite his array of serious health problems in his last years) therefore preclude me from being able to prove significant mental impairment? Or in other words, is my claim for a partial retrospective refund for my father having an s.m.i doomed to fail from the start?

    Legislation requires that a person be at least entitled to a qualifying benefit as well as being certified as SMI before the council can apply the SMI disregard (and the resultant discount/exemption).


    The problem you have is proving entitlement where a benefit was not actually paid - DWP will not say a person was entitled where no benefit was actually paid and so you're left with almost no way of proving the entitlement (I've not known of a single case that has won at tribunal by proving entitlement).
    I no longer work in Council Tax Recovery but instead work as a self employed 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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