Council Tax – are you entitled to help?
It is likely that most of us will have seen an increase in our council tax bills this month – the increase will depend on your local council, but most can expect to see an increase of around 2.99%, if not higher (local councils in England can raise council tax by 2.99% plus a further 2% if they provide social care).
With added pressures from the National Insurance increase and rising energy and fuel costs, it is worth checking your council tax bill to see whether you may be able to get help with your council tax.
A council tax rebate scheme has been introduced by the government this year to help with increased living costs. If you live in a council tax band A to D property and pay your council tax by direct debit, then you will receive a one-off £150 rebate directly into your bank account from April. You will not need to repay the £150. If you live in a council tax band A to D property but you do not pay your council tax by direct debit, then you should be contacted by your local council and invited to make a claim.
If you live in a council tax band A to D property and don’t pay your council tax by direct debit, then it would be worth you setting up a direct debit now so that the rebate can be paid to you as quickly as possible.
Funds are also being made available to councils to provide discretionary support to vulnerable households who may not qualify for the rebate, for example, low-income households living in a council tax band E to H property.
If you are unsure what your council tax band is, you can check your latest bill, check online or you can contact your local council.
There are other 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.
- You can get a reduction if you are on a low income (or if you have someone living with you with a low income).
Acting for vulnerable and disabled clients, our Court of Protection team regularly reviews our client’s council tax to ensure they are paying the correct amount.
For clients with a disability, there are various council tax discounts and exemptions that should be considered, including:
- Disregarded persons discount – some adults are not counted for council tax purposes, for example, if they have a severe mental impairment. This could be a brain injury or dementia. A doctor’s certificate would be needed and the person must also receive a qualifying state benefit.
- Reductions for disabilities – if you or a family member living with you has a permanent disability and you have had to alter your property or have a room set aside to meet the disabled person’s needs, for example, an adapted bathroom or space for a wheelchair, then you may qualify for a council tax reduction.
There are other council tax discounts and exemptions, for example, if you are the only adult living in the property then you will be entitled to a single person discount of 25%, so it is worth speaking with your local council or checking their website to see what help is available.
You may also be able to make an application for Council Tax Support (this replaces Council Tax Benefit). This may help pay towards some or all of your council tax bill if you are a homeowner and you are on a low income or receive certain means-tested benefits. A claim can be backdated for up to six months.
How can we help?
If you have any questions or queries about council tax for a vulnerable or disabled person, then please contact the writer Charlene Hughes by email at Charlene.Hughes@freeths.co.uk
Charlene Hughes is a Managing Associate in the Court of Protection team at Freeths LLP. Charlene specialises in property and affairs deputyships for adults and children who have an acquired brain injury often due to medical negligence, a serious accident or dementia. Charlene is also experienced in Statutory Wills, Personal Injury Trusts, statutory funding, and welfare benefits.