Council tax concessions

If you are a homeowner in the UK then your home is subject to Council Tax. Council tax is levied at different rates (bands) and is dependent on the value of your home. However concessions are available.

Concessions for Persons with Special Needs

There are Council Tax reductions for persons with Special Needs, subject to certain conditions.

Essentially, the requirements for a reduction in Council Tax are that the property must be the main residence of the special needs person, though they do not have to be the person responsible for paying the council tax.

In the case of a physically disabled person the property must have at least:

  • One room which is adapted for and mainly used by the person, or
  • An additional bathroom or kitchen adapted to that persons needs or
  • Sufficient space for the use of a wheelchair indoors

The special facilities provided in the property must be either essential or of great importance to the disabled person’s well being or comfort and quality of life.

A room does not have to be a newly built addition to the property. The room must however pass the test that it is of essential or major importance to the special needs of the disabled person concerned.

Your home will not qualify for a reduction unless the ‘essential or of major importance’ condition is met. For example,

  • A wheelchair bound person would need a ramp to ascend any steps into the house unassisted
  • Internal doors would need to be wide enough to allow easy passage of the wheelchair into at least one room.
  • A specially adapted downstairs lavatory might need to be provided

and so on. Note however that a house with only one bathroom would not qualify even if the bathroom contains extra facilities for the disabled person.

Clearly theses rules exist only to prevent abuse of the concession and a little sensible planning should normally allow genuine claimants to qualify.

Reduction amounts

If your home is eligible, the reduction you normally get is that your Council Tax charge band is reduced to that of the next Council Tax band down. In other words, a Band E property will be charged a Band D rate. If your property is already assessed as being in the lowest band (Band A) you will still receive a reduction though how this is calculated will vary across the country. In Hammersmith and Fulham for example it is presently specified as being one ninth of the band D charge whereas in Wolverhampton or Norwich it is defined as being one sixth of the normal band A charge. 

Other Council Tax Concessions for People with Special Needs

People who are severely mentally impaired

A person is accepted as being severely mentally impaired if they have a severe impairment of intelligence and social functioning which appears to be permanent. This is the definition used when considering concessions of Council Tax.

To be eligible for the Council Tax reduction, the person will need a doctor’s certificate saying that they are severely mentally impaired and to be entitled to one of the following benefits:

  • Attendance Allowance
  • Disability Living Allowance care component at the middle or highest rate
  • Disability element of Working Tax Credit
  • Incapacity Benefit
  • Income Support including a disability premium
  • Severe Disablement Allowance

People who are severely mentally impaired are not counted when determining the number of people in a property. So for example if two people occupied a property together and one had a severe mental impairment, they would get the usual discount of 25% that a single adult living alone would get.

No Council Tax is levied on a property occupied solely by people with a severe mental impairment.

People receiving care in their own home

A resident carer (but not a relative doing the caring) is not counted when determining the number of people in a property. For example, if there is just you and a carer living in your home then a 25% single person discount is likely to apply.

People in a hospital or care home

Council Tax is not charged on properties left unoccupied by people who have moved into a hospital, a nursing home or similar to receive personal care. As a general rule, the residents of care homes and those whose main home is a hospital do not have to pay Council Tax.

To find out more about applying for a council tax reduction visit the Directgov website

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