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Welsh Government champions council tax discounts for mentally impaired

Posted: 11/04/2019


The Welsh Government has agreed this week to a standardised format both for claiming severe mentally impaired discount and backdated claims across all of its 22 local authorities. The move follows a two-year campaign by consumer website MoneySavingExpert.

Even if you are not a resident of Wales, it is worth considering your eligibility. For many, council tax is a significant outgoing for most months of the year. Severe mentally impaired discount is a council tax reduction scheme a substantial number of eligible people in the UK still do not claim.

According to the Local Government Finance Act 1992, a person is severely mentally impaired if they have a severe impairment of intelligence and social functioning, however it is caused, which appears to be permanent.

Eligibility

To claim, you are likely to be eligible for, or already claiming, one of the following benefits:

  • Employment and Support Allowance
  • Attendance Allowance
  • higher or middle rate of the care component of a Disability Living Allowance
  • Personal Independence Payment (standard or enhanced daily living component)
  • Universal Credit including an element for limited capability for work or limited capability for work and work related activity.

In addition to this, you will need to be confirmed as being severely mentally impaired by a registered medical practitioner.

How to apply

The process to apply in England varies for each local council, so consult your council’s website for its policy regarding severe mental impairment. This will confirm its specific requirements which will generally involve:

  • completing an application form confirming you or the claimant are severely mentally impaired;
  • obtaining evidence from your GP that this is the case. This will either need to be obtained in writing from your GP, or you will be required to provide telephone details for the local authority to call them and confirm the situation verbally;
  • submitting the application form, either enclosing your GP’s note or enclosing their contact details.

What is it worth?

If you live with someone who is found to be eligible for severely mentally impaired status and no other adults, you will be eligible for an annual 25% reduction in council tax.

If you live alone and are found to be eligible for severely mentally impaired status, you will be eligible for a 100% exemption in paying council tax. 

For most claimants, this will represent a saving of many thousands of pounds annually.


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