This blog post will answer the question “How do I claim Council Tax Exemption for Dementia?” It covers all the details and necessary steps regarding the same, it defines and explains the head category of dementia, the amount of discounts and related information.
How Do I Claim Council Tax Exemption For Dementia?
To claim council tax exemption for dementia, either you yourself can make the claim, or you can have it done through the family carer.
For this you will need a doctor’s diagnosis, proving that you actually suffer from dementia.
Different medical professionals often have different views as to when a person qualifies as severely mentally impaired. If your GP is unwilling to sign a certificate confirming severe mental impairment you could ask a consultant or another GP at your practice. Medical professionals cannot legally charge for this service.
The ‘severely mentally impaired’ discount
Anyone who is medically certified as having a permanent condition that severely affects their intellectual and social functioning may be eligible to a severely mentally impaired Council Tax discount. The term Severely Mentally Impaired (SMI) is defined in the Council Tax Bill as a severe impairment of intelligence and social functioning that appears to be permanent.
Some medical conditions that may be included under severe mental impairment are dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, severe learning difficulties, a stroke, etc.
In order to avail the tax reduction, the SMI person must be entitled to at least one of the following government benefits:
- Incapacity Benefit
- Attendance Allowance
- Severe Disablement Allowance
- Disability Living Allowance (higher or middle rate care component)
- An increase in disablement pension (as constant attendance is needed)
- Disability Working Allowance
- Income Support (which includes a disability premium)
- Unemployability Supplement or Allowance
- Constant Attendance Allowance
- Personal Independence Payment
- Armed Forces Independence Payment
- Universal Credit (in circumstances where a person has limited capability for work and/or work related activity)
Disregard for people suffering with dementia
Disregard is a type of tax reduction that is applicable on people living in a property. People who are disregarded means that they are not counted for council tax purposes. For example, if two people are living together and one is disregarded, it will be charged as if the other person lives alone, and they will get a 25% single person’s discount on their council tax.
There are different types of disregards based on the reasons for them. Anyone can be disregarded if they are classed as ‘severely mentally impaired’. The legal definition of ‘severe mental impairment’ is broad and can be open to interpretation. It does not depend on someone having a diagnosis of dementia or losing mental capacity.
It applies to anyone who meets all of the following criteria:
- They have a severe impairment of intelligence and social functioning which appears to be permanent.
- They have a certificate confirming this impairment from a registered medical practitioner, usually the person’s GP or consultant.
- They are entitled to certain disability benefits (but they don’t have to actually be receiving them).
The disregards to claim council tax exemption for people with dementia are:
- If a person suffering with dementia lives with another person, he is treated as living alone, even though he is living with one adult person. This couple will, therefore, get a 25% reduction on their bill. Their income and savings won’t affect this. However, if they have a low enough income they may be entitled to additional council tax support.
- However, if the person who is recognised as being severely mentally impaired lives with two or more adults, there will usually be no reduction in the overall council tax bill on this basis.
- If all the people living in a property are suffering from dementia, it is exempt from council tax. This means that the normal 50% council tax charge incurred when a group of “disregarded” individuals live together does not apply.
- If a person having dementia lives alone, then they can claim a 100% council tax exemption for dementia on their council tax. This means that a person with dementia living alone does not have to pay any council tax on the particular property.
Who pays the council tax?
The legal responsibility of paying the council tax does not rest solely upon one fixed person. The payment and claim for exemption depends upon a property , and nt the number of people living therein. Only one bill is sent per property, regardless of the number of persons living on it.
Joint owners or joint tenants are jointly responsible for council tax. The same applies to married couples, civil partners and people living together as partners.
Council tax in England and Wales
Council tax is a tax that local authorities make on residential properties in England and Wales to help pay for local services. If you are a person suffering with dementia, or someone living with or caring for a person with dementia, the amount of council tax you pay gets reduced.
Council tax applies to both owner-occupied and rented homes. The bill for each property is worked out on the basis that two or more adults are living there. However, you will usually still need to pay council tax if there is only one person living there.
The amount that needs to be paid in council tax on each property depends on a number of things.
- Which pricing ‘band’ (category) the property is in, based on its value
- The rate set by the local authority
- Whether the people living there are eligible for any support, reductions or exemptions.
Claiming council tax exemption for people with dementia in England and Wales differs and depends upon the respective local council and their rules.
Since April 2019, the Welsh Government and all 22 Welsh local authorities have agreed to standardise the application form to claim council tax exemption for dementia, all across the country. The new law has also allowed backdating across every council in a standardised way.
The Welsh government also has a separate webpage, detailing all the necessary requirements of the exemption and the procedure on how to claim the exemption on council taxes.
Council tax in Ireland
Northern Ireland has a rates system, in place of council tax, which is charged on the value of individual properties. The details regarding discounts and exemption for people with dementia are provided by the Land and Property Services in your local area.
The tax exemption option available for a person with dementia in Northern Ireland is the disabled person’s allowance. It gives a 25% discount on rates for homes where a disabled person lives and the property has been adapted to suit their needs.
How to claim the council tax exemption for dementia
The process to claim council tax exemption for dementia varies per the locality. The exact procedure depends upon the local council of the state.
But the basic steps are:
- Getting a claim from your council. You’ll need to contact your local authority for a claim form to register for a council tax discount. The contact details for the respective local authorities can be found via the government’s apply for council tax reduction portal.
- Getting a doctor’s diagnosis. You must have been diagnosed as a dementia patient by some medical practitioner. Some local councils demand a medical diagnosis attached in written along with the form, or the details of the concerned medical practitioner.
- The third step is filling the form and sending it to your local council. You also need to attach any supporting evidence required by the council, proving your eligibility, along with your application.
- If you are anywhere in Wales, in order to claim council tax exemption for dementia, you need to print out the application form from the Welsh government official website, and then carry out all the procedures as mentioned above.
How do I claim for a reduction or reclaim if I’ve overpaid in the past?
The process for making a claim varies by area, so you’ll need to check your local authority’s procedure. But either the family carer or the person with dementia can make the claim.
The basic steps to claim council tax exemption for dementia if you have overpaid in the past are:
- A doctor’s diagnosis proving that you had dementia. The specifications again vary from council to council. In some cases you’ll need to attach a written diagnosis to your claim – in others you just give your doctor’s details and the council directly contacts the doctor for confirmation.
- Getting a claim to apply for council tax reduction for dementia. You’ll need to contact your local authority for a claim form to register for a council tax discount. Fill this in – you may be asked to attach some supporting evidence, such as the doctor’s diagnosis or evidence of receipt of relevant benefits.
- If it is some other person living with you who suffers with dementia. If the person with dementia doesn’t claim a benefit, you may need a letter from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP). If the person you’re living with qualifies for a benefit but for whatever reason doesn’t claim it, then in some cases councils will ask you to get a letter of confirmation from the DWP saying you’re eligible.
- Now , if you have overpaid in the past, to claim council tax exemption for dementia, you need to apply for a backdated discount separately. If you’re making a retrospective claim, you’ll need to write to your local authority explaining the circumstances – you’ll need to do this separately even if you’re claiming for a reduction going forward as well, though you can attach your letter to the claim form.
- You don’t need to explain why you didn’t apply for a reduction earlier, but you will need to prove the criteria for a discount applied at the relevant time in the past.
Appeal against rejection
If your application to claim council tax exemption for dementia is rejected, and you are unhappy with the decision, you can ask your local authority for a reason behind their action, and appeal before them to reconsider their decision.
If this appeal is again refused, you have an option to present your case before the Valuation Tribunal to take your case into consideration. Ths appeal must be filed within two months from the date that the council has given its decision.
This blog post answered the question “How do I claim Council Tax Exemption for Dementia?” It covered the a to z procedure to claim council tax exemption for dementia. The basic steps include filling the firm available at your local council and attaching a proof of your diagnosis made by any medical practitioner. The minute details might vary from council to council, and the applicant can confirm those from their respective council offices.
Feel free to comment if you have any query regarding the content, or if you have any questions or suggestions, in the comment section of this blog.
What benefits can I claim if I have dementia?
If you have dementia, you can claim several benefits under the numerous government schemes, such as Attendance allowance, Personal independence payment, disability living allowance etc. besides these, you can get upto a 100% council tax discount depending upon whether you are living alone, or with one or more adults.
Can carers get council tax reduction?
If you are a carer living in the same property as the caree, that is the person you are caring for, then yes, you might claim a council tax discount for you if you fulfill the conditions as per your local council.
What disabilities qualify for council tax reduction?
Any disability, wherein you have to make or assign some extra space for the purpose of aiding you in that disability, qualifies for a council tax reduction. Besides this, if you are severely mentally impared, for example if you have dementia, Parkinson’s etc., then you can claim council tax deduction for SMI.
Can I claim PIP for dementia?
Yes. If you are living with dementia, you may be entitled to several government schemes. These include Attendance Allowance, Personal independence payment (PIP) etc.
Does someone with dementia pay council tax?
Dementia is one of the conditions that qualifies under the severely menatlly impaired category. If you have a severe cognitive impairment which appears to be permanent, you will be exempt from council tax. Therefore, someone with dementia, if living alone, is exemot from paying council tax.