SMI - Council Tax Discount
Tens of thousands of people who are entitled to a council tax discount could be missing out due to a lack of awareness about the concession.
It is available to those who are medically certified as being ‘severely mentally impaired’ (SMI). For example, this may be the case if they have dementia (including Alzheimer’s), Parkinson’s, severe learning difficulties or have had a stroke. It will depend on each individual’s case and simply having been diagnosed doesn’t automatically mean they qualify – a doctor must also certify they are severely mentally impaired.
If someone is diagnosed as SMI they can be ‘disregarded for council tax purposes’ in England, Scotland and Wales. To qualify for the reduction, not only does the person have to be medically certified as being SMI, but they also must be eligible for – but not necessarily actually receiving – at least one of a number of benefits such as disability living allowance. It is important to point out that some councils wrongly tell people that they need to be receiving such benefits, but that is not correct, the law simply states that you need to be eligible for them.
- A 100% discount – if they are diagnosed as SMI and live alone.
- A 25% discount – living with someone who’s SMI and no other adults, or only adults who have also been disregarded for council tax purposes, in effect a single person’s discount.
- No discount applies if living with two or more adults who are eligible to pay council tax.
How to Claim
Contact the local authority to register for a council tax discount and request a claim form. In some cases you will need to obtain a doctor’s diagnosis which will need to be attached to the claim, others will ask for the doctor’s details and they will be contacted directly for confirmation. Evidence of eligibility for relevant benefits may also be required. The claim process varies by area, so we recommend seeking further advice from the websites below before submitting a claim.
www.moneysavingexpert.com/reclaim/severe-mental-impairment-dementia-council-tax-rebate/ & www.gov.uk/apply-council-tax-reduction