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Council tax discount for dementia.

Byline: MARTIN LEWIS

Do you live with someone with a mental impairment? Those with a severe mental impairment (SMI), such as Alzheimer's or dementia are, like students, "disregarded" for council tax purposes.

So if they live alone they shouldn't pay any council tax. Or, like hundreds of thousands of people, if they live with one other, usually their carer, the house should get a 25 per cent discount - worth an average PS400 a year.

Sadly many councils don't publish this and some front line staff don't even know about it, inadvertently giving out misinformation. Each council seems to have its own rules on how it works.

For a year my team at MoneySavingExpert.com and I have been campaigning to get the Government to standardise the SMI application process and policy for backdated claims.

Many have got in touch to tell of their successes, like Tom's tweet: "@MartinSLewis Thank you! After seeing you talk about Council tax exemption for severe mental disorders, after a brief battle I've claimed back PS9,649.65 for my dad who suffered a stroke in 1999. This will make a big difference!"

Now things are changing. The Welsh Government is the first to agree to put out a leaflet to help SMI residents access information, and to push for standardised backdating rules. I hope the rest of the UK will follow with the discount.

Here are the three key need-toknows to see if you're affected:

An SMI affects intelligence and social functioning.

To be eligible for the discount it must be medically certified, so speak to a doctor.

You must also be eligible for (though not necessarily claiming) one of a range of benefits including severe disablement allowance, disabled person's tax credit, incapacity benefits, and employment and support allowance.

For more info, how to apply, and how to ask for backdating, see www.mse.me/SMIdiscount.

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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Sunday Mirror (London, England)
Date:Oct 7, 2018
Words:311
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