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Council Tax Discount for people over 65 with Dementia

Browny10

Registered User
Dec 20, 2019
64
0
Thank you everyone for signing the petition, I need to reach 100,000 signatures by 9th September so please pass on the message and any suggestions would be welcome.
 

silkiest

Registered User
Feb 9, 2017
362
0
Hi @Browny10 , have you tried contacting your local newspapers or radio stations - even hospital radio station if your local hospital has one. If they take the story up and the story generates enough interest then the nationals sometimes take the story up too. Good luck
 

MartinWL

Registered User
Jun 12, 2020
988
0
For SMH read SMI
Contact LA and ask about it, some LAs send you the form for you to send to the GP, others ask your permission to do this.
This link was very useful, thank you. The problem for me and I am sure for others is that everything hinges on the definition of " severe". When does mild become severe? My PWD may reach that threshold in the next year or two but I am not sure how I will know that the time has come to apply. Can anyone point to a definition?
 

nitram

Registered User
Apr 6, 2011
23,202
0
North Manchester
The problem for me and I am sure for others is that everything hinges on the definition of " severe". ..... Can anyone point to a definition?
The certifying doctor has to sign
"severe impairment of intelligence and social functioning (however caused) which appears to be permanent”

It's up to the doctor to decide, not being able to articulate their medical problem could be a criterion.
I would regard being unable to join in any group chat or discussion as being a severe impairment of social functioning.
If unsure ask the GP.
 

MartinWL

Registered User
Jun 12, 2020
988
0
Thank you @nitram for your reply. Unfortunately leaving it to a GP to decide isn't necessarily going to work. As we all know GPs are very variable and this is really a question of law rather than medicine. The doctor has to sign essentially that the facts are correct but one GP might have a different view of the meaning of "severe" from another. I wonder if anyone knows of a decided court case in the upper level courts, or of any authoritative guidance from a public body on the meaning of "severe" that a GP should be expected to follow?
 

nitram

Registered User
Apr 6, 2011
23,202
0
North Manchester
If you want to go legal start at

Method. The assessment instruments used were the WAIS‐R, GSS2, Vineland Adaptive Behaviour Scales (4th ed., Survey Version) and a set of structured questions devised for this particular participant. The functions being measured were intelligence, social function, suggestibility and the ability to accurately and truthfully report factual information.
https://bpspsychub.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1348/135532502168351 .
 

Browny10

Registered User
Dec 20, 2019
64
0
Just to clarify the situation regarding the GP signing that the person is Severely Mentally Impaired. The deffinition is laid down in a document issued to General Medical Practitioners headed "Criteria for persons to be exempt from council tax discount on the grounds of severe mental impairment" the document was issued by the Department of Health in March 1993 (PL/CO(93))
 

Browny10

Registered User
Dec 20, 2019
64
0
Hi @Browny10 , have you tried contacting your local newspapers or radio stations - even hospital radio station if your local hospital has one. If they take the story up and the story generates enough interest then the nationals sometimes take the story up too. Good luck
Hi silkiest I have contacted several local and national radio stations and newspapers and I am hoping for an article in a national newspaper very shortly, thank you for your encouragement.
 

MartinWL

Registered User
Jun 12, 2020
988
0
Many thanks,
Just to clarify the situation regarding the GP signing that the person is Severely Mentally Impaired. The deffinition is laid down in a document issued to General Medical Practitioners headed "Criteria for persons to be exempt from council tax discount on the grounds of severe mental impairment" the document was issued by the Department of Health in March 1993 (PL/CO(93))
Many thanks, that sounds like what I was looking for. Now the question is how to find a copy!
 

nitram

Registered User
Apr 6, 2011
23,202
0
North Manchester
Many thanks, that sounds like what I was looking for. Now the question is how to find a copy!
It was a circular to GPs and I think the only way of obtaining a copy is via a GP
However several LA websites quote sufficient to show that determining SMI is down to the GP's clinical judgement and not a specific diagnosis.
eg

Advice for medical practitioners
The Department of Health letter PL/CO (93) 1 issued to all general medical practitioners in March 1993 states: “Doctors should note that the decisions to whether a person is severely mentally impaired is not consequent on any specific diagnosis. A person is severely mentally impaired if he has a severe impairment of intelligence and social functioning, however caused, which appears to be permanent. A decision about the presence of severe mental impairment will, in all cases, depend on the doctor’s clinical judgement as to whether the applicant meets these criteria.”
“If a doctor is uncertain whether an applicant’s intelligence and social functioning are such as to constitute severe mental impairment, he may wish to seek information and advice from appropriate medical colleagues or from colleagues in other professions, or from carers, who may be able to help with information based on their knowledge of the applicant. If, after such consultation, a doctor is still uncertain
whether or not an applicant is severely mentally impaired, he or she should not sign the certificate."

 

Browny10

Registered User
Dec 20, 2019
64
0
Returning to the main issue of Council Tax Discount, as you will see the quotation of PL/CO(93) stated by nitram above is taken from Eden District Council's Application for Council Tax Discount SMI Disregard. Not all councils state PL/CO(93) in full on the application form that the GP has to sign to say that the person has SMI and some only give the reference. Therefore many GPs may rely on their own definition of SMI. As many councils only start the discount from the date of receipt of the qualifying benefit the date specified by the GP as the date the person has SMI becomes of little relevance and as with Eden District Council they only apply Council Tax Discount from the date the person is in receipt of the qualifying benefit. Thus the requirement to change the laws as in the petition:- https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/572993
 

MartinWL

Registered User
Jun 12, 2020
988
0
It appears that PL/CO(93) is not published anywhere at all online. Strangely enough if it were a few years earlier it would be available from the National Archives! The definitions quoted from local council websites merely say that, essentially, "severe" means "severe", which isn't a lot of help but may be all there is. I suspect that the mysterious PL/CO(93) doesn't answer the key question of where the boundary lies between mild and severe but anyway I have asked the Department of Health and Social Care if they will send me a copy of PL/CO(93) and if I get one I'll share any additional insights here. This must be of interest to a lot of people because as carers, in many cases managing the financial affairs of a PWD, we need to understand at what point we can ask the GP to sign the form, without wanting to waste his/her time if the PWD has yet to reach the point at which his/her condition is "severe" rather than "mild".
 

Moggymad

Registered User
May 12, 2017
611
0
This must be of interest to a lot of people because as carers, in many cases managing the financial affairs of a PWD, we need to understand at what point we can ask the GP to sign the form, without wanting to waste his/her time if the PWD has yet to reach the point at which his/her condition is "severe" rather than "mild".
It is of interest to us as is exactly the situation we are in with FIL. I consider he would qualify as SMI but his son(my partner) & sister are not sure. They intend to take the form to the GP at the next visit but he very rarely has to go, he sees the nurse more often due to asthma checkups. The GP who knew him best has long since retired. The other GPs don't really know him & there is no involvement of anyone else other than family.
 

Browny10

Registered User
Dec 20, 2019
64
0
Having been the first (and only ?) person to take the issue of council tax discount to the High Court ( last December) and having faced the councils solicitor and their 2 appointed Barristers there is only one legal definition that counts
and that is in The Local Government Finance Act 1992, Schedule 1 :-

Persons Disregarded for Purposes of Discount

The severely mentally impaired

2(1)A person shall be disregarded for the purposes of discount on a particular day if—

(a)on the day he is severely mentally impaired;

(b)as regards any period which includes the day he is stated in a certificate of a registered medical practitioner to have been or to be likely to be severely mentally impaired; and

(c)as regards the day he fulfils such conditions as may be prescribed by order made by the Secretary of State.

(2)For the purposes of this paragraph a person is severely mentally impaired if he has a severe impairment of intelligence and social functioning (however caused) which appears to be permanent.

This will always be a subjective decision by the GP.

Even with the GP certification, the GP's decision date is ignored by 255 out of 382 councils in favor of (c) the date the DWP approve the application for Attendance Allowance.

Thus my petition. https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/572993
 

Jacques

Registered User
Apr 4, 2020
50
0
I have just printed the form asked for by local council. The GP only had to give the date that he was informed by the consultant that my husband has Alzheimer’s. I also enclosed a copy of the letter received giving the date that attendance allowance was started. There was a time difference so I'm not sure how far back they will go.
I didn't even know that this benefit was available until I read this post so many thanks.
 

Browny10

Registered User
Dec 20, 2019
64
0
Jacques, you have pointed out one of the main issues, no one tells you that either benefit is available, there is no "pathway" as with many other conditions. As I mentioned previously, the problem with Council Tax discount is that many councils will only backdate to the date of receipt of Attendance Allowance and not the date of GP certification so it depends on the time difference and your council tax band. The present system means, depending on your postcode, you may lose out on anything between £200 and £2,600. You have highlighted the injustice in the present system and the exact purpose of my petition. https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/572993