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Council tax refund for Severe Mental Impairment

Discussion in 'Legal and financial issues' started by Egeon, Nov 13, 2017.

  1. Egeon

    Egeon Registered User

    Oct 12, 2012
    98
    #1 Egeon, Nov 13, 2017
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2017
    My mother came to live with me from a country in the EU a few years ago but was not entitled to Attendance allowance for a number of weeks after she came to live with me because of some residency rule. She had a diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease and was seen by a doctor not long after she arrived and it was obvious she had severe mental impairment at that appointment. I was her carer from the time she came to live with me until she moved into a care home.

    I have applied for a council tax refund (which I have only just found out about) for severe mental impairment but the council are insisting I produce the entitlement for AA and say that she has to be entitled to that, but that will mean I won't get a refund for the first few weeks she came to live with me even though she had SMI from the start.

    I have searched on other threads but can't find a link to any thing that could back up the fact that I only have to prove SMI and the entitlement to AA is not needed.

    If anyone could point me to that information please?
     
  2. nitram

    nitram Registered User

    Apr 6, 2011
    19,264
    Male
    North Manchester
    Disregards

    Disregards apply to people living in the property. Some people are disregarded and become invisible for council tax purposes. So, for example, if one of two occupants is disregarded, it will be 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. The different types of disregards are important because of how they affect exemptions (see below).

    A person with dementia may be disregarded if they are severely mentally impaired. This applies to anyone who meets all of the following criteria:

    has a severe impairment of intelligence and social functioning which appears to be permanent
    has a certificate confirming this impairment from a registered medical practitioner, usually the person’s GP or consultant

    is entitled to certain disability benefits - the most common qualifying benefits are Attendance allowance (lower or higher rate), Disability living allowance (higher or middle rate care components) and Personal independence payment (lower or higher rate of the daily living component).
    Many people with dementia meet all three criteria, so are disregarded under the severe mental impairment rules.

    https://www.alzheimers.org.uk/info/20032/legal_and_financial/83/council_tax/3
     
  3. jenniferpa

    jenniferpa Volunteer Moderator

    Jun 27, 2006
    39,438
  4. Kevinl

    Kevinl Registered User

    Aug 24, 2013
    4,776
    Salford
    You can get a rebate to the date you can prove that a suitably qualified person diagnosed it as such and it has to be a "severe" mental impairment and called as such.
    Getting AA is one of a number of "passport" benefits the LA accept as proof there is a list including PIP, DLA and the rest.
    If you can supply suitable proof of an SMI then the LA have to refund to that date as they were collecting CT from someone that wasn't eligible so it depends what you have in the way of evidence of an SMI.
    K
     
  5. Egeon

    Egeon Registered User

    Oct 12, 2012
    98
    Thank you for the replies. I don't think it should be a problem getting a letter from the doctor to say she had SMI who saw her not long after she first came to live with me. Will the council accept that or say she had to be in receipt of AA as well?

    They have asked me for the letter from the DWP saying when she first got AA. I supplied them with proof that both Carer's allowance and AA with the NI references beside them went into my bank account but they said that wasn't enough - they need the letter from the DWP
     
  6. Kevinl

    Kevinl Registered User

    Aug 24, 2013
    4,776
    Salford
    If you can get a letter from the doctor confirming the date that she had an SMI then both the AA and CT discount should be backdated to that date,
    My wife went to the memory clinic and the consultant wrote to the GP saying she'd seen my wife that day and that my wife had an SMI. The DWP sent someone to see her and gave her DLA and mobility allowance to that day.
    I applied for the CT discount on line, simple set of questions, they e-mailed my back and asked for proof and I took a picture of the letter on my phone from the consultant and the DWP and e-mailed it back to them and got a rebate from the date on the consultant's letter to the GP.
    If you only have proof by virtue of getting a passport benefit like AA then the LA only really need to go back to that date, if you can prove a doctor knew it was the case that the SMI was present an earlier date then they should accept that and backdate to that date.
    K
     
  7. Egeon

    Egeon Registered User

    Oct 12, 2012
    98
    #7 Egeon, Nov 13, 2017
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2017
    Kevinl,
    I could only get the AA and CA after she had been living in the UK for a number of weeks
     
  8. Kevinl

    Kevinl Registered User

    Aug 24, 2013
    4,776
    Salford
    Certain benefits do have a residency requirement but the law on CT is from the Local Government Finance Act 1992. Section 6, Paragraph 4 (3) says that:

    (4)Subsection (3) above shall not apply as respects any day on which one or more of the persons there mentioned fall to be disregarded for the purposes of discount by virtue of [F2paragraph 2 (severely mentally impaired) or 4 (students etc.) of Schedule 1 to this Act] and one or more of them do not; and liability to pay the council tax in respect of the dwelling and that day shall be determined as follows—..."

    On any day that a person has an SMI or is a student they're not liable for CT, they're no mention of residency qualifications or indeed the often quoted line that you need to be getting AA. Link to the legislation below.
    K

    http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1992/14/section/6
     
  9. Egeon

    Egeon Registered User

    Oct 12, 2012
    98
    Brilliant Kevinl! Thank you
     
  10. Ludlow

    Ludlow Registered User

    Jul 20, 2016
    108
    SE England
    Kevinl, I think you are mistaken about it being possible for AA to be backdated (although you are right about the council tax disregard being back-dateable). When I applied for AA, they would only backdate to the date of application.
     
  11. Beate

    Beate Registered User

    May 21, 2014
    11,745
    Female
    London
    I was always told that as AA is a prerequisite for getting the SMI disregard it can only be paid from the date that AA was granted. Then I took the form to the GP and in the field where it asked from which date the SMI is applicable he wrote the date of diagnosis, which was several years earlier. The council accepted this as gospel and we got a nice council tax refund. So... anything's possible I guess.
     
  12. Kevinl

    Kevinl Registered User

    Aug 24, 2013
    4,776
    Salford
    As I've said before my wife doesn't and never has received AA but I go the CT reduction about 4 years ago, AA is only available to the over 65's and even then it isn't needed it is just one of a number of qualifying benefits that are a passport, that is to say that if you get one you should automatically get the other. The law is as per the link to the Act where the only requirement is an SMI. The reason for the SMI isn't limited to people with AZ you can get it at any age often for conditions like Autism, Downs or an acquired SMI from a head injury.
    From the day you can prove an SMI existed the LA are no longer allowed to charge CT on that person, the law does not allow it and any money they have taken in error should be refunded.
    I've never heard of an LA doing anything other than by the book, if they collected CT unaware that someone had an SMI then when you draw their attention to this they either have to refund the money or keep money they are not entitled to, which I doubt will happen if you speak to their legal department not the call centre.
    K
     
  13. jenniferpa

    jenniferpa Volunteer Moderator

    Jun 27, 2006
    39,438
    I'm wondering if the key here is entilement. That is, you don't have to be receiving the benefit, just be entitled to it (or another one that is applicable).
     
  14. jenniferpa

    jenniferpa Volunteer Moderator

    Jun 27, 2006
    39,438
    Looking at it, it would appear that schedule 1 is the relevant part of the act.

    And I'm wondering if c) above may have resulted in a requirement that that there be a benefit requirement as well. I think it quite possibly does.
     
  15. jenniferpa

    jenniferpa Volunteer Moderator

    Jun 27, 2006
    39,438
    #15 jenniferpa, Nov 14, 2017
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2017
  16. Pete R

    Pete R Registered User

    Jul 26, 2014
    2,045
    Staffs
  17. Egeon

    Egeon Registered User

    Oct 12, 2012
    98
    Have had a letter from the council today asking for doctor to complete a form and also:
    "To qualify to be disregarded as severely metally impaired, a person must be entitled to one of the following benefits, or, in the case of a benefit which ceases to be payable on reaching pensionable age, have been in receipt of that benefit until it ceased for that reason" and then goes on to list 11 benefits.
     
  18. jenniferpa

    jenniferpa Volunteer Moderator

    Jun 27, 2006
    39,438
    That is correct.
     
  19. missdior

    missdior New member

    May 23, 2019
    1
    I live in Wales and as no doubt you have all seen,the Welsh Government have been all over the media saying they have put measures in place to make claiming SMI easier. I claimed last year and am still in a battle to get the discount backdated. The first medical declaration I sent in from my doctor had the wrong date on (she inadvertently put the date I transferred to her surgery and not the date my condition started). I was only made aware of this when I rang my local council to check on my claim. To correct it I got a new form from my GP and sent it in. The LA claim they refunded me back to the date on first medical declaration..this was not the case. In that period of time I had made payments of £6k yet they only refunded me £1800. They will basically try and get out of paying you this backdated refund in any way they can. I rang the Welsh Government (Robin Jones) and he confirmed they should of backdated my claim to 2004 and rang them on my behalf to tell them this is what they must do. I then received a letter saying the reason they hadn't refunded the whole £6k was that I had not been living alone for some of the time. Untrue! My son had gone straight from school to University and not worked..those in full time education are not counted for purposes of Council Tax. My reply to them has been sat in a tray waiting to be looked at for a month I am told despite my local MP writing to them and the Welsh Minister telling them to pay me!
    The rules say you must get a medical declaration signed by your doctor or other health professional giving the date your SMI started and...this is where they trick you..you must be in receipt of OR have an UNDERLYING ENTITLEMENT to one of the listed benefits.
    It is impossible to get written proof that you had an underlying entitlement to one of those benefits and the LA know this. The very fact you have a SMI means that you do not know which benefits you are entitled to and most of us go for years before we are given help in this area. The LA hide the discount and as in my case, even if you tell them you are behind in your payments because you have a SMI, they still do not tell you of the SMI discount scheme. The law states you only have to be entitled, not in actual receipt of one of the listed benefits! If you have the letter from your doctor confirming your diagnosis then that proves you would have been entitled to one of the listed benefits had you known about them. If you are now on one of those benefits and have an award letter, this proves that you would also have been entitled to it if you had claimed from day one of your condition starting. This has to be proof of the UNDERLYING ENTITLEMENT surely?
    I also spoke to PIP today and explained things to them..they told me that there is no need for us to have to send in proof of our benefits because the LA can ring them for verification. They are on the list of persons allowed under law to be given out information.
    Nothing has changed despite promises made by the Government and I think it is appalling that this discount scheme has been kept secret by the LA's for over 26 years! They have been taking advantage of the disability that makes us eligible to get this financial help!!
     
  20. AliceA

    AliceA Registered User

    May 27, 2016
    2,518
    Was your mother with you for very long? You mentioned a care home.

    My husband's AA was back dated to when I applied on his behalf. I was tardy in applying as I did not want to label him.
    The Council Tax was back to diagnosis.
    I was fortunate to have a written one.
    Should he go into a home I could still get a reduction for single occupancy, if others lived with me I could not.
    The Council were quite tough on the amount of evidence needed. They needed hard copies, for some disregards they seemed happy with electronic copies.

    On financial assessments there seems some difference between county to county. The rules are not national it seems. Confusing!
     

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