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  • FIRST POST
    • MSE Megan F
    • By MSE Megan F 29th Sep 17, 8:28 AM
    • 310Posts
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    MSE Megan F
    MSE News: Revealed: Councils overcharging 10,000s who are severely mentally impaired
    • #1
    • 29th Sep 17, 8:28 AM
    MSE News: Revealed: Councils overcharging 10,000s who are severely mentally impaired 29th Sep 17 at 8:28 AM
    A major investigation by MoneySavingExpert.com reveals 10,000s of the most vulnerable people in England, Scotland and Wales are being overcharged up to £400 a year due to a council tax postcode lottery...
    Read the full story:
    'Revealed: Councils overcharging 10,000s who are 'severely mentally impaired''

    Click reply below to discuss. If you haven!!!8217;t already, join the forum to reply.
    Last edited by MSE Luke; 29-09-2017 at 11:57 AM.
    Read the latest MSE News
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Page 2
    • ukwmo
    • By ukwmo 30th Sep 17, 9:32 PM
    • 56 Posts
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    ukwmo
    My Dad has Parkinsonís and vascular dementia. He was awarded Attendance Allowance 2 years ago and the DWP visiting officer whoíd sorted that called me to tell me about this extra help with Council Tax.

    It made a huge difference to my Dad, his works pensions means he normally has to pay top dollar for everything. But after getting a form from the council and a trip to the doctor to get it completed, it means heís exempt from Council Tax.

    So. Thanks very much to that DWP visiting officer ! With his Attendance Allowance awarded and the Council Tax removed it meant he was over £500 per month better off. And thatís enabled us to employ a cleaning lady a few hours each week for him, to pay for his alert buzzer system and to pay for some adaptations to his home (handrails throughout, new steps at his front door and various disability aids).

    Having said that, the council staff were next to useless, I phoned them 3 times and only the third person knew what I was talking about. Itís so secret a loophole that their own staff donít know about it.
    • CIS
    • By CIS 1st Oct 17, 3:48 PM
    • 10,527 Posts
    • 6,082 Thanks
    CIS
    Having said that, the council staff were next to useless, I phoned them 3 times and only the third person knew what I was talking about. It!!!8217;s so secret a loophole that their own staff don!!!8217;t know about it.
    There's no secrecy or loophole - just badly trained staff,
    I no longer work in Council Tax Recovery but instead work as a self employed Council Tax specialist. My views are my own reading of the law and you should always check with the local authority in question.
    • Mersey
    • By Mersey 2nd Oct 17, 1:34 PM
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    Mersey
    ...and how would a Council Tax Department know someone had dementia or suffered a stroke or an NHS Certificate for care had been issued?
    Originally posted by Housing Benefit Officer


    Because the council's social services depts - who clearly know as they eventually arrange the care package on discharge - have a duty to inform them.


    But as Martin Lewis' research proved, some councils are just useless administratively.


    Another FOI request showed that one NW council (on receipt of death cert) stops the council tax bills, bin collection, removes them from the Electoral Roll and so on. Another neighbouring NW council does none of this!
    Please be polite to OPs and remember this is a site for Claimants and Appellants to seek redress against their bank, ex-boss or retailer. If they wanted morality or the view of the IoD or Bank they'd ask them.
    • Mersey
    • By Mersey 2nd Oct 17, 1:38 PM
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    Mersey
    There's no secrecy or loophole - just badly trained staff,
    Originally posted by CIS


    True, but the Senior Officers are at fault as Martin Lewis showed that most Councils don't even list SMI on their websites.
    Please be polite to OPs and remember this is a site for Claimants and Appellants to seek redress against their bank, ex-boss or retailer. If they wanted morality or the view of the IoD or Bank they'd ask them.
    • Housing Benefit Officer
    • By Housing Benefit Officer 2nd Oct 17, 1:56 PM
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    Housing Benefit Officer
    Because the council's social services depts - who clearly know as they eventually arrange the care package on discharge - have a duty to inform them.


    But as Martin Lewis' research proved, some councils are just useless administratively.


    Another FOI request showed that one NW council (on receipt of death cert) stops the council tax bills, bin collection, removes them from the Electoral Roll and so on. Another neighbouring NW council does none of this!
    Originally posted by Mersey
    Social Services are administered by the County Council (unless administered by a Unitary Authority) - not by the Borough Council that administers Council Tax. They have no duty in the legislation to pass on someones private and confidential medical details to another local authority.
    These are my own views and you should seek advice from your local Benefits Department or CAB.
    • Mersey
    • By Mersey 2nd Oct 17, 4:19 PM
    • 1,662 Posts
    • 789 Thanks
    Mersey
    Most of the FOI requests which showed failing Councils were Mets - unsurprisingly as most people live in urban areas - such as the West Midlands, Greater Manchester, Merseyside and the London boroughs.


    But yes what you say is true for 25% of the population in mostly rural areas who have county cllrs.
    Please be polite to OPs and remember this is a site for Claimants and Appellants to seek redress against their bank, ex-boss or retailer. If they wanted morality or the view of the IoD or Bank they'd ask them.
    • tasty_snacks
    • By tasty_snacks 4th Oct 17, 8:43 AM
    • 211 Posts
    • 48 Thanks
    tasty_snacks
    Can MSE release the full list of councils contacted and their respective uptake rates?
    • comments occasionally
    • By comments occasionally 4th Oct 17, 8:51 AM
    • 20 Posts
    • 10 Thanks
    comments occasionally
    Claimed successfully
    Hi,
    After reading here about this last year, I phoned Brent (london) council for form. It came next day!
    Don't be deflected when they won't talk to you because you're not the council tax account holder!! You can get a form sent to their address.
    My father has Parkinson's and is not eligible for any benefit which is means tested. He lives with my mother and needs 24 hour carers on account of mobility problems. He doesn't have Alzheimer's type mental impairment but Parkinsons diagnosis qualifies him.
    His doctor signed form but ticked "not mentally impaired" box. Added that he has Parkinson's.
    He got reply within few months, quick for councils! And received discount backdated to include last year.
    Not sure how backdate worked out, may be all they offer.
    Brent's website lists disregarded adult categories but, although it lists severe mental impairment as a criteria, it doesn't mention Parkinsons in particular and neither does the form. So ring them up and ask for form.
    The woman I spoke to when requesting form, apologised for this wording.
    If people are in this position, they should also apply for attendance allowance which is not means tested and every little they give you helps. Carers can also claim carers allowance if doing 35 hours a week. You don't have to live there.
    Sounds to me quite a few of your readers posting could claim both.
    Remember the council tax discount is applied to the household, so doesn't help if you have two other adults in the house. The disabled adult offspring living with two parents, won't qualify you for this one, though carers and attendance allowance have different criteria.
    It's all ridiculously complicated and shouldn't rely on supporters chancing to find out what help is available.
    As the lady said, when you're looking after people you can't always take in information sent out with bills. Also conditions like Parkinsons aren't always specified.
    My father possibly could have claimed this years ago when diagnosed!
    I've been trying to spread the word but don't know many eligible people.
    Was delighted to see it on TV news the other day.
    Keep up the good word, Martin and team...
    • Greenforgo
    • By Greenforgo 4th Mar 18, 7:48 PM
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    Greenforgo
    Wrong. Bipolar is classed as SMI. It is the sixth leading cause of disability in the world and the third most debilitating mental illness worldwide. Also, your tone seems to suggest that everyone who seeks state help is "taking the urine". Can I ask if you yourself suffer with any type of MH issues?

    And before anyone jumps on this bandwaggon, depression, panic attacks, agoraphobia and anxiety are not severe mental impairments.

    Think severe Autism, severe learning difficulties for this concession. Being nervous on a bus or an inability to use public transport or go to the supermarket isn't really in the scope of this.


    This will be another thing milked to death by MSE readers, sanctioned by over worked GPS, leading to a clampdown making it hard for genuine cases. I suspect this wil end up needing independent medicals like the Blue Badge does due to people taking the urine.
    Originally posted by A Flock Of Sheep
    • BorisThomson
    • By BorisThomson 4th Mar 18, 8:12 PM
    • 1,586 Posts
    • 3,426 Thanks
    BorisThomson
    Wrong. Bipolar is classed as SMI. It is the sixth leading cause of disability in the world and the third most debilitating mental illness worldwide. Also, your tone seems to suggest that everyone who seeks state help is "taking the urine". Can I ask if you yourself suffer with any type of MH issues?
    Originally posted by Greenforgo
    The term severe mental impairment refers to a severe impairment of intelligence and social functioning which appears to be permanent. It would be unusual for someone with BD alone to have a severe impairment of intelligence - it's certainly not part of the diagnostic criteria.
    • Greenforgo
    • By Greenforgo 5th Mar 18, 10:52 AM
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    Greenforgo
    The term severe mental impairment refers to a severe impairment of intelligence and social functioning which appears to be permanent. It would be unusual for someone with BD alone to have a severe impairment of intelligence - it's certainly not part of the diagnostic criteria.
    Originally posted by BorisThomson
    I have Bipolar 2, rapid cycle, mixed episode. Regardless of the term BP "2" which makes it sound like a lesser form of BP1, this is not what it actually signifies. Generally with BP2, regardless of the fact that the manic episodes are not quite as elevated, hence the term hypomanic, the depressions are just as severe. People with BP2 experience shorter spells of "highs" ("high" being another misnomer) and lows with shorter spells in-between. Because I have rapid cycle BP2 this means that the nature of my episodes can change on a monthly, weekly or, when it is extreme, daily basis. On top of that, I experience mixed episodes which means that I can be experiencing high and low symptoms simultaneously or in very rapid succession. Anyone who has experienced this will tell you just how confusing, frightening and debilitating this is. A lot of the time I can't make out just where I am on the bipolar mood scale. I find it difficult to maintain work (and believe me, I am far from a lazy person), A lot of the time I find it difficult to be around people, whether it be because I am fearful when in a hypomanic state of upsetting or alienating people or, when in a depressive state just not wanting to be a burden on those around me, consequently I spend an unhealthy amount of time on my own. The more people take the time to understand just how debilitating Bipolar actually is the more it will be accepted as falling under the category of SMI which according to every government endorsed mental health organisation it is. Under British law Bipolar Disorder is considered to be a high risk serious mental impairment illness. That is the fact of the matter.
    Last edited by Greenforgo; 05-03-2018 at 10:54 AM.
    • BorisThomson
    • By BorisThomson 5th Mar 18, 11:12 AM
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    BorisThomson
    I have Bipolar 2, rapid cycle, mixed episode. Regardless of the term BP "2" which makes it sound like a lesser form of BP1, this is not what it actually signifies. Generally with BP2, regardless of the fact that the manic episodes are not quite as elevated, hence the term hypomanic, the depressions are just as severe. People with BP2 experience shorter spells of "highs" ("high" being another misnomer) and lows with shorter spells in-between. Because I have rapid cycle BP2 this means that the nature of my episodes can change on a monthly, weekly or, when it is extreme, daily basis. On top of that, I experience mixed episodes which means that I can be experiencing high and low symptoms simultaneously or in very rapid succession. Anyone who has experienced this will tell you just how confusing, frightening and debilitating this is. A lot of the time I can't make out just where I am on the bipolar mood scale. I find it difficult to maintain work (and believe me, I am far from a lazy person), A lot of the time I find it difficult to be around people, whether it be because I am fearful when in a hypomanic state of upsetting or alienating people or, when in a depressive state just not wanting to be a burden on those around me, consequently I spend an unhealthy amount of time on my own. The more people take the time to understand just how debilitating Bipolar actually is the more it will be accepted as falling under the category of SMI which according to every government endorsed mental health organisation it is. Under British law Bipolar Disorder is considered to be a high risk serious mental impairment illness. That is the fact of the matter.
    Originally posted by Greenforgo
    You're missing the point entirely. SMI in this context is strictly defined, and bipolar alone does not satisfy that definition.

    (And I do appreciate how debilitating it is, because I have the condition myself.)
    • Greenforgo
    • By Greenforgo 5th Mar 18, 5:06 PM
    • 6 Posts
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    Greenforgo
    I wasn't questioning your experience with the condition, Boris. I have just made a claim for ESA, housing support and council tax benefits. For the council tax rebate and refund I had fill out an SMI form. I have been accepted on all three counts and. as I said, I 'only' suffer from BP2, rapid cycle, mixed episode.
    I too can only talk from experience

    You're missing the point entirely. SMI in this context is strictly defined, and bipolar alone does not satisfy that definition.

    (And I do appreciate how debilitating it is, because I have the condition myself.)
    Originally posted by BorisThomson
    Last edited by Greenforgo; 05-03-2018 at 5:24 PM. Reason: diction
    • BorisThomson
    • By BorisThomson 5th Mar 18, 6:15 PM
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    BorisThomson
    I wasn't questioning your experience with the condition, Boris. I have just made a claim for ESA, housing support and council tax benefits. For the council tax rebate and refund I had fill out an SMI form. I have been accepted on all three counts and. as I said, I 'only' suffer from BP2, rapid cycle, mixed episode.
    I too can only talk from experience
    Originally posted by Greenforgo
    Your first post made generalisations about bipolar disorder and the SMI entitlement which are incorrect.

    Your intellectual capability is far beyond that of someone with a severe impairment of intelligence.

    Some councils are lax in evidential standards when awarding the SMI exemption. I'm glad you've received the benefits you feel you are entitled to.
    • Greenforgo
    • By Greenforgo 5th Mar 18, 8:07 PM
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    Greenforgo
    I did describe a general over view of bipolar (and I'm sorry if that upset your sensibilities) but I didn't feel that I needed to quote from my journal. I am responding to the comment "Bipolar isn't an SMI" and if my GP and my Psychiatrist agree with each other that it is, and they do which is what prompted me to make the claim in the first place,then who wouldn't go for it?

    My intellectual capacity might well be ok but my ability to function wholly for long periods of time is not. And I'm not missing the point at all, what you are saying contrasts to my own experience so I am expressing my view.

    I'm also glad that I am receiving the benefits I "feel I'm entitled to. If you don't "feel" you are entitled to them then don't bother making a claim.
    As for whether Bipolar is or isn't a SMI maybe you could check out the England NHS uk website

    Your first post made generalisations about bipolar disorder and the SMI entitlement which are incorrect.

    Your intellectual capability is far beyond that of someone with a severe impairment of intelligence.

    Some councils are lax in evidential standards when awarding the SMI exemption. I'm glad you've received the benefits you feel you are entitled to.
    Originally posted by BorisThomson
    Last edited by Greenforgo; 05-03-2018 at 8:23 PM.
    • marliepanda
    • By marliepanda 5th Mar 18, 8:21 PM
    • 5,921 Posts
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    marliepanda
    SMI is given on the basis that those with severe mental impairments have such impct on their intelligence that they cannot understand what or who they are voting for in terms of local elections, therefore do not get their say on what council tax is spent on and therefore do not have to pay council tax.

    I imagine if I told someone with bipolar they were too mentally impaired to know who they wanted to vote for Id not be received well.
    • BorisThomson
    • By BorisThomson 5th Mar 18, 8:39 PM
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    BorisThomson
    I did describe a general over view of bipolar (and I'm sorry if that upset your sensibilities) but I didn't feel that I needed to quote from my journal. I am responding to the comment "Bipolar isn't an SMI" and if my GP and my Psychiatrist agree with each other that it is, and they do which is what prompted me to make the claim in the first place,then who wouldn't go for it?

    My intellectual capacity might well be ok but my ability to function wholly for long periods of time is not. And I'm not missing the point at all, what you are saying contrasts to my own experience so I am expressing my view.

    I'm also glad that I am receiving the benefits I "feel I'm entitled to. If you don't "feel" you are entitled to them then don't bother making a claim.
    As for whether Bipolar is or isn't a SMI maybe you could check out the England NHS uk website
    Originally posted by Greenforgo
    You haven't upset my sensitivities. I'm happy to point out your misinformation so as not to mislead others looking for help.

    For council tax purposes, the definition of severe mental impairment is set out in my earlier post. I don't need to check out the NHS UK website because it is irrelevant to this thread.

    (In the hope that it resolves any misunderstanding, here is the relevant law.)
    Last edited by BorisThomson; 05-03-2018 at 8:42 PM.
    • Greenforgo
    • By Greenforgo 5th Mar 18, 9:30 PM
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    Greenforgo
    Actually, in this case I was responding to Boris' comment that bipolar isn't an SMI

    Actually, the comment you first responded to didn't even mention bipolar disorder. They were talking about folk with relatively mild mental illnesses.
    Originally posted by Penitent
    • Greenforgo
    • By Greenforgo 5th Mar 18, 9:33 PM
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    Greenforgo
    I wouldn't call the fact I am getting these benefits a misunderstanding.

    Anyway Boris, thank you for the educational exchange and good luck with your none claim

    [QUOTE=BorisThomson;73980114]You haven't upset my sensitivities. I'm happy to point out your misinformation so as not to mislead others looking for help.

    For council tax purposes, the definition of severe mental impairment is set out in my earlier post. I don't need to check out the NHS UK website because it is irrelevant to this thread.

    (In the hope that it resolves any misunderstanding,
    • SandraScarlett
    • By SandraScarlett 5th Mar 18, 11:41 PM
    • 3,921 Posts
    • 28,741 Thanks
    SandraScarlett
    I am so angry that people are still being denied this reduction, due to the fact that their carers don't know about it. And why some councils back date for several years, and others don't, is totally wrong and yet another example of a postcode lottery.


    When my late DH had Alzheimer's, and was doubly incontinent, I had a lengthy battle before he was supplied with incontinence pants, spending £15 a week on them myself. My LA would only supply pads, which are not always suitable for a mobile adult.


    And yet other LAs supply pads or pants, no problem. I know people think that family members should apply for things, but often, especially with older folk, the primary carer is usually their spouse, who are themselves old, worn out, exhausted and unaware of what is available.


    It was only by browsing this site, in the wee small hours, having been woken again, and unable to get back to sleep, that I found out about the CT discount. I've never seen it advertised anywhere.
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