It is likely that most of us will have seen an increase in our council tax bills this month.
Local authorities in England can raise council tax by 1.99% as standard plus a further 3% for social care. Therefore, 4.99% is the maximum amount a local authority can increase their bills by rather than a set increase. The reality is many local authorities have imposed the maximum increase permitted.
Council tax increases are nothing new but the pandemic has impacted people’s finances and it may be that paying bills like council tax is now a struggle.
This article considers what discounts and reductions are available for those living with a disability.
What is my council tax band?
In England, properties are banded from Band A to Band H. Your band is based on the value of your property at a specific point in time.
Your council tax band determines how much council tax you pay – you will find your council tax band on your bill.
It is possible to challenge your council tax band if you think it is wrong.
What help is available with council tax?
There are ways you may be able to get help with your council tax:
- Your home or property may be exempt from council tax altogether;
- You can get a discount;
- You can pay less because you are disabled; or
- You can get a reduction of you are on a low income (or if you have someone living with you with a low income).
What council tax discounts or exemptions should I consider if I have a disability?
Acting on behalf of clients with a disability, we regularly review our client’s council tax and ensure they are receiving any help they are entitled to. For clients with a disability, the following council tax discounts and exemptions should be considered:
Disregarded persons discount – some adults are not counted for council tax purposes. A discount is allowed on the council tax bill if the number of adults counted as living at the property is one or none. An occupant can be disregarded for council tax purposes if they are classed as having a severe mental impairment, for example a brain injury or dementia. The person must be certified by a doctor as being severely mentally impaired and must by in receipt of a qualifying state benefit. The discount will remain in place as long as the conditions are met.
Reductions for disabilities – if there is a permanently disabled person living in the property as their main home, they do not have to be the council tax payer and the disabled person can be an adult or a child, and he/she requires at least one of the following features to meet the needs of their disability, a reduction on the council tax payable may be due:
- A room (other than a bathroom, kitchen or toilet) used mainly by the disabled person to meet their needs;
- An additional bathroom or kitchen adapted for use by the disabled person; and or
- Space in the property to allow for the use of a wheelchair.
If you are entitled to this reduction, council tax will be reduced to that of a property in the valuation band immediately below your property.
Other council tax discounts and exemptions will often be available by local authorities so it is worth contacting your local council or looking at their website to see what is available.
An application to your local council for Council Tax Support (this replaces Council Tax Benefit) may also be worth exploring.
If you have any queries or questions about council tax for a disabled person then please contact our Court of Protection team by email on firstname.lastname@example.org.