Your professional provider of Domiciliary Care Services throughout the region.

January 17th, 2018

There’s so much information and misinformation out there about the benefits system and who is entitled to what, that it can be easy to overlook your entitlements.

Council tax savings

Older people in particular may well fall into the category of being entitled to help with council tax, so do check if you think this could be you.

There are three categories to look out for, and if you fit into any of these then you may be entitled to help.

Discounts

Certain people will get a discount and so pay a reduced rate of council tax. For example, anyone living on their own, or treated as living on their own (more of this under ‘Disregards’ below) is entitled to a 25% reduction on their bill. This is called the ‘single person’s discount’. There are other types of discount too.

Disregards

Disregards apply to people living in the property. Some people are ‘disregarded’ 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.

To be disregarded the person must:

  • have a severe impairment of intelligence and social functioning which appears to be permanent
  • have a certificate confirming this impairment from a registered medical practitioner, usually a GP or consultant
  • be entitled to certain disability benefits, such as Attendance Allowance, 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.

Exemptions

Exemptions apply to properties, rather than people. An exemption means the whole property is exempt from council tax and there is nothing to pay. For example, when the only people occupying the property are ‘disregarded’ (as explained above).

But not all disregards mean the property will be exempt from council tax. Some disregards mean the person doesn’t count for council tax purposes, but the property is treated as if it is empty and will be charged an empty property rate. This might happen if a carer who meets certain criteria lives at the property.

Do you live with a carer?

Some carers can be disregarded for council tax purposes if they fall into one of two groups. First, they may be disregarded if they:

  • care for at least 35 hours a week
  • live in the same property as the person they care for
  • are not the partner of the person they care for
  • are not the parent of the person they care for, if the person cared for is aged under 18.

Also, the person being cared for must be entitled to certain benefits, such as Disability Living Allowance, Personal Independence Payment, higher rate Attendance Allowance, or Constant Attendance Allowance.

The second group applies to people who provide live-in care or support on behalf of a local authority, government department or charity, or provide care through an introduction by a charity, where the person being cared for is the carer’s employer (and where they care for a minimum number of hours and have a maximum income from the work).

Someone who falls into either of these carer groups is disregarded for council tax purposes. However, this type of disregard doesn’t mean that the property will be exempt for council tax purposes. The person will pay a reduced council tax bill but they will pay something.

It is a complicated system, but if you believe you are entitled to a discount, disregard or exemption it is worth exploring. There is more information about this on the Alzheimer’s Society’s excellent website.

 

This blog was written by Una Mills, DoCare Director. If you have a relative who you think would benefit from DoCare’s services, or would like assistance yourself, please get in touch. If you are interested in a rewarding career as a support worker, we would love to hear from you – please give us a call or you can apply online.