BENEFITS EXPERT: Exempt from council tax due to severe mental impairment

Q. This is a query on behalf of a family member and their liability to pay council tax. I’ve been advised they may qualify for an exemption due to their health? Is this correct and if so how would they apply for this?

"Your council will require that you complete a form which is typically available online."
"Your council will require that you complete a form which is typically available online."

A. You may be referring to an exemption on the grounds of severe mental impairment which in effect would mean your family member has no legal liability to pay council tax.

The advice given is based on the assumption that only your relative lives in the property, if other liable adults reside in the property then they may be eligible to a reduction of up to 25% of their council bill.

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To qualify for the exemption the applicant must be in receipt of benefits, a number of the listed benefits are no longer in existence for new claimants but some people may have received these in the past and continue to receive these due to transitional protection.

Your local council will have the full list of benefits, we will only be concentrating on common benefits that are/can be claimed now.

The benefits: Employment and Support Allowance, Attendance Allowance, Disability Living Allowance (care component only and paid at middle or high rate), PIP (only daily living at either standard or enhanced rate), Working Tax Credits that includes the disability element, Income Support that includes a disability premium because you cannot work and Universal Credit if you either have limited capability to work or limited capability for work related elements.

Your council will require that you complete a form which is typically available online, if you don’t have online access they will be able to post one out to you to be returned with proof that you get a qualifying benefit.

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The form will also request confirmation of your GP so they can be contacted to medically confirm there is a severe mental impairment. The council will then confirm if the exemption applies.

Your relative may have been eligible for the exemption for some time but still be paying council tax.

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“Backdating” of this exemption is possible but can vary from local authority to local authority. If the exemption is granted but only from the date you applied contact the council if you think the exemption should be backdated.