For Families and Carers : Council Tax

Council Tax Support

Council Tax Support is a means-tested benefit for people on low incomes to help pay for council tax.  Confusingly, it may also be called Council Tax Reduction.

The national scheme of Council Tax Benefit was replaced by Council Tax Support from April 2013.  Each local authority now has their own scheme.

For details of Council Tax Support/Reduction in your area, contact your local council.

Council Tax Band Reduction scheme

If you need a larger property because you have a family member with a disability, for instance, if they need an extra room, or room to use a wheelchair, you can apply to have your council tax band decreased.  This will reduce your council tax.

For details, contact your local council.

Council Tax Discount Scheme – reduced Council Tax when your child reaches 18

Council Tax is based on two people aged 18 or over living in a dwelling.  You get a discount if there are less than two adults resident in your household.  If there is one adult, the discount is 25%.  If no one counts as resident in your household, the discount is 50%.

Some people are disregarded for council tax purposes.  So even if two or more adults actually live in your household, it is still possible that you may be eligible for a discount.

People who are disregarded:

  • People who are “severely mentally impaired”.  Most people with Down’s syndrome will count as “severely mentally impaired”. You will need a certificate from a doctor confirming that your child has a “severe impairment of intelligence and social functioning which appears to be permanent”. And they have to get the middle or highest rate of the care component of Disability Living Allowance, or either rate of the  Personal Independence Payment daily living component, or Employment and Support Allowance
  • Everyone under 17, or 18/19 year olds for whom child benefit is payable
  • Full time students

So if you live alone with your son or daughter with Down’s syndrome, you can continue to get the 25% discount, once they turn 18.

However, carers may also be disregarded, if all the following conditions are met:

  • Your child gets the middle or higher rate of the care component of Disability Living Allowance or either rate of the Personal Independence Payment, and
  • You provide at least 35 hours a week or more of support, and
  • Your child is over 18.

In these circumstances, you are disregarded for council tax purposes as a “carer”.   So both you and your son/daughter are disregarded and therefore you get a 50% discount.

Note – you do NOT have to be getting Carer’s Allowance.  And if more than one person also cares for 35 hours a week or more, you can both be “disregarded” as a “carer”.

So it is possible for both parents/carers of an 18 year old with Down’s syndrome to be disregarded, as well as the person with Down’s syndrome themselves, as long as the parents/carers both care for 35 hours a week or more.  If there are no other adults in the household, or they are also disregarded (for example, students), the council tax discount will be 50%.

Often, local authorities do not seem to be aware of these rules and claim that discounts are not payable.  If you think you should be getting a discount, and you meet problems, please contact us.

If you did not know about the Discount Scheme and realise that you should have been getting a discount, you can get full backdating to when you first became eligible.  You have to ask your local authority to backdate it.

For details, go to your local council.