Ten of hundreds of weak individuals could possibly be lacking out on a council tax low cost that would save them hundreds of kilos, the BBC has discovered.
These recognized as “severely mentally impaired” do not should pay the tax and two-individual households, the place one is a sufferer, qualify for a 25% low cost.
However councils are accused of being sluggish to supply any info on the scheme.
Authorities ministers stated all native councils ought to ensure that these entitled obtain the cash.
Cathrine Nicholas helps take care of her mom Vivien, sixty nine, who has Alzheimer’s.
Vivien cannot learn, write, gown herself, course of dates or numbers or inform left from proper. She will converse, however she struggles together with her reminiscence.
Cathrine came upon concerning the SMI low cost by probability, from a employee who fitted a care alarm in her mum’s home.
However even when she knew concerning the low cost, she discovered it very troublesome to seek out on the council’s web site.
Ultimately she managed to say a one hundred% low cost for her mom, and 4 years again cost, amounting to £6,000.
She stated: “It is fairly unfair that you must exit and ask. You are by no means simply provided the knowledge and that is been considered one of my largest points with this journey for the final six years.
“We have all the time needed to struggle for one thing to make life higher and simpler for Mum. We have needed to ask and we have needed to struggle and no one provides the knowledge freely, and that is actually irritating.”
An individual is severely mentally impaired if they’ve a extreme impairment of intelligence and social functioning which seems to be everlasting, similar to dementia.
A Freedom of Info investigation carried out by cash recommendation web site MoneySavingExpert.com discovered large variations within the numbers of individuals claiming the council tax low cost throughout Nice Britain.
In Spelthorne Borough Council in Surrey, solely 10 residents have claimed, in East Ayrshire it is eleven whereas in East Dunbartonshire it is 447 and Ashford in Kent it is 423 – all areas with comparable populations.
The report stated some variations have been anticipated however they might not clarify these giant disparities between councils.
East Ayrshire Council stated it will speak to councils who had a excessive uptake for the low cost to see “whether or not that is an accident of geography or in the event that they do something in a different way that we will study from”.
It isn’t recognized how many individuals are eligible for SMI low cost in every space, and MoneySavingExpert.com is now calling on the federal government to hold out a full audit of individuals with extreme psychological impairments.
Based mostly on knowledge from 265 councils out of 380 throughout England, Scotland and Wales, the report estimates that as much as one hundred,000 extra individuals might begin claiming, and that the typical declare could possibly be value £four hundred a yr.
To say for a severely mentally impaired or SMI low cost, the individual should have been licensed as having a extreme psychological impairment by a physician, and be eligible for, however not essentially receiving, at the least one profit similar to attendance allowance, private independence or incapacity dwelling allowance.
Martin Lewis, founding father of MoneySavingExpert.com, stated the low cost was there to guard probably the most weak in society, and to provide them extra funds to adapt their houses as their situation deteriorates.
However he added: “The truth that bureaucratic ineptitude is stopping individuals getting that low cost isn’t a great state of affairs.”
Dr Hilda Hayo, chief government of Dementia UK, stated native authority employees typically merely did not know the principles.
“Principally there’s a lack of communication, they do not know concerning the exemption or the discount, they usually give false info to households, which suggests it places them off truly making use of,” she stated.
A spokesman for the Division for Communities and Native Authorities stated: “The regulation is obvious that the place individuals are severely mentally impaired, their council tax invoice ought to take account of this.”
Do you take care of somebody who’s mentally impaired and have you ever had points with tax low cost on their behalf? You possibly can share your expertise by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
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