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COUNCIL TAX DISABILITY REDUCTION

Since the Council Tax Reduction Scheme was introduced in April 1st 2013, there are a number of ways that council tax bills can be reduced based on your circumstances, especially if you are a disabled individual and or a carer for a disabled individual.

PROPERTY ADAPTIONS DUE TO DISABILITY

If you have a disability and need extra help to remain independent in your home, you may qualify for a discount. This extra help may take the form of special facilities and adaptions, such as wheelchair ramps, stair lifts, and special kitchen and bathroom layouts. Because these adaptions can often alter the value of a property, and subsequently the council tax valuation banding it is in, it could increase the amount of council tax due.

That’s why there are special rules in place to stop this happening.

First, any adaptions that increase the value of the property are effectively ignored by the council. This means that the property will not be placed into a higher band and so will not increase the amount of council tax owed. However, any adaptions that reduce the value are taken into account.

Council Tax Advisors - Council tax and debt advice

Know your rights and your council tax liability based on your situation

Not all adaptions are considered eligible for council tax reductions, and there are certain criteria that must be met to obtain the reduction. The property must:

  • 1. Be your sole or main residence and you have a substantial and permanent disability.
  • 2. Be essential to meet your needs
  • 3. Have either:
    • i. A bathroom or kitchen for your use
    • ii. A room in the property that is used mostly by you (not including the bathroom, kitchen or toilet)
    • iii. Extra space to use a wheelchair if you use one

 MENTAL IMPAIRMENT

Someone who is mentally impaired is not counted as part of the household when calculating the council tax liability on a property, however, any reduction will depend on the number of adults currently living there with that person. For example, if there is only one adult living in the property with the mentally impaired person, the council tax bill will be reduced by 25%. However, if there are two adults in the property living with the mentally impaired person there is no reduction in the council tax bill. If the mentally impaired person lives on their own in the property they will be exempt from paying council tax.

What is classed as mental impairment?

Generally, someone is classed as being mentally impaired if they have an impairment which affects their intelligence and social functioning which is considered to be permanent, such as a stroke, Alzheimer’s or other type of dementia

In addition to being classed as severely mentally impaired by a doctor, the person must also be entitled to a minimum of one of the following types of qualifying benefit:

  • incapacity benefit
  • attendance allowance
  • severe disablement allowance
  • highest or middle rate care component of a disability living allowance
  • an increase in the rate of disablement pension for constant attendance
  • a disabled person’s tax credit
  • unemployability supplement
  • constant attendance allowance
  • unemployability allowance
  • pension credit which includes a disability premium

CARERS NOT IN A RELATIONSHIP WITH THEIR CHARGES

If you are a carer and live with, but are not in a close relationship with, someone you care for who has a physical or mental disability (such as being their spouse or civil partner), you are not considered to be living in the property. Therefore the council tax bill could be reduced.

For this to happen, however, the person with the disability has to be entitled to:

  • A higher rate attendance allowance
  • The highest rate of care component of the disability living allowance
  • The daily living component of personal independence payment at the enhanced rate
  • An increase in the rate or their disablement pension

You should be living with and providing care to the disabled person for at least 35 hours a week, or be living with and be providing care to someone disabled for at least 24 hours and being paid £36. In the latter case, you might be employed directly by the disabled person, or you might work through volunteering organisation or public body.

You may also be entitled to a reduction or exemption in your own property if you have left it to move in with and care for a disabled person.

HOSPITAL OR CARE HOME

If someone moves into a hospital or accommodation provided by a care home service in which they are receiving treatment, or a high level of care, or both for a long period they will not pay council tax. The bill for their old home may be reduced or may even be exempted.

LOW INCOME

Council tax reductions are available for low income households if the relevant adults in the household are receiving benefits or have a low income, taking into account any savings you may have or allowances you receive, whether there are any people who are classed as non-dependents.

Because there are many situations which could attract council tax reductions, working out whether you are entitled to a council tax discount can be confusing. If you are unsure if your household qualifies for a discount, call and speak to one of our advisers on 0300 302 1806 and they will help.

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