Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

Vulnerable People Are Missing out on Council Tax Discount

Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

Vulnerable People Are Missing out on Council Tax Discount

Article excerpt

UP TO 100,000 of the most vulnerable people in society are missing out on a council tax discount worth hundreds or thousands of pounds. If you have, or know someone living with dementia, Alzheimer's, Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinson's or other similar conditions - take time to read about the Severely Mentally the SMI discount are disregarded for council tax purposes. That means those living alone don't pay any council tax at all, while those living with another - often their carer - qualify for a 25% reduction. This is worth an average of £400/year.

In some cases it's also possible to get the discount backdated, though it's up to individual councils whether they allow this.

Bob's email shows the impact. "Saw you on This Morning talking about this. In short wife 2 strokes since 2009, we applied to council and got both reduction in council tax and over £2,000 refund."

Personally, I think the rules need changing so that all councils backdate it.

WHO'S ELIGIBLE? FOR someone to qualify for a SMI council tax discount, both of the following must apply: ¦ They must be medically certified as having a severe mental impairment. This is not specific to any particular medical condition - it is officially defined as someone who has "a severe impairment of intelligence and social functioning (however caused) which appears to be permanent".

So it's not a question of someone having dementia or Parkinson's automatically qualifying. Some will, some won't. It's up to a GP to decide and they will have to sign the form (which they should not charge for). ¦ They must be eligible for one of a range of benefits. These include: incapacity benefit, disability living allowance, personal independence payments, severe disablement allowance, income support, constant attendance allowance, disability working allowance, some forms of universal credit and others.

it Just to be clear, some councils wrongly tell people they need to be receiving these benefits. That's not correct - the law says you need to be eligible for them - this may well act as a prompt to claim them too.

TOOL UP BEFORE YOU APPLY IT IS quite likely the person who has the SMI will not be able to claim themselves, in which case their carer can do it for them. …

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