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Require council tax SMI discounts be backdated to diagnosis - Carers UK Forum

Require council tax SMI discounts be backdated to diagnosis

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Require council tax discounts for dementia are backdated to the diagnosis date

People with dementia are only 'disregarded' (not counted) for council tax if they have a medical certificate and are eligible for certain benefits. Some benefits have waiting periods of up to six months, meaning many people with dementia have to wait months to qualify for council tax discounts.
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We want the Government to require that council tax disregards are backdated to the date a person was certified as being severely mentally impaired, where they then go on to qualify for a relevant benefit. This should mean that people with dementia - no matter their age - receive additional council tax discounts for longer periods, potentially saving them thousands of pounds.

There are over 600,000 people with dementia who receive care at home. We believe current rules are unfair, and need to be reformed.
Sign this petition https://petition.parliament.uk/petition ... atures/new
Are you aware that it was always the case until very recently? Have a look at Martin
Lewis's website, lots of useful information on this subject. I've helped lots of people claim successfully.
When you say it was always the case "until very recently", That is not quite correct.
The "recently" you and Martin Lewis refer to is the case I took to the High Court in December 2020.
In reality according to a Freedom of Information request I did prior to the High Court Hearing only 127 out of the 382 UK councils already backdate to the date of GP Certification (Councils use this date as the diagnosis date for their calculations)
That means that only 25,161 out of the 177,542 people with dementia receiving Council Tax SMI Discount or Exemption receive it from the date of GP Certification.
Firstly, I'd like to say well done for taking the issue to Court. Can you give us a link to the ruling?

I'm shocked at the figures you have given. Pre Covid, every council I've been involved with has caved in eventually.

Pre Covid the .gov website actually said that it should be backdated to the date of diagnosis, then one day I referred someone to that, to give to their Council.
This meant it was simply a case of the councils not doing what the government said, not a case of us versus them.

More recently, I checked and it wasn't there any more. Now I know why.

This needs to be taken up nationally by the disability charities. Of course if consultants and doctors and social workers understood the importance of giving families a proper diagnosis in the first place, then all the information was given to the patient immediately, it would be so much easier.
The High Court Hearing was Brown v Hambleton District Council.
At that time I could not find any .gov ruling the said that Council Tax Discount SMI disregard should be backdated to the date of GP certification.
The High Court ruling was based on the Local Government Finance Act 1992 Schedule 1, Section 2(1) which says:- (b)as regards any period which includes the day he is stated in a certificate of a registered medical practitioner to have been or to be likely to be severely mentally impaired; and (c)as regards the day he fulfils such conditions as may be prescribed by order made by the Secretary of State.
The "and" between the two sections legally means that both (b) and (c) must apply before they can receive Council Tax Discount or Exemption.
The prescribed conditions under the Council Tax (Discounts Disregards) Order 1992 are that under 3 -1The condition prescribed for the purposes of paragraph 2(1)(c) of Schedule 1 to the Act is that the person in question is entitled to one of the qualifying benefits listed in paragraph (2) below (2) (b) an attendance allowance under section 64 of that Act;
And the term "entitled to" under the Social Security Administration Act 1992 1(1) Entitlement to a benefit dependent on claim (a) he makes a claim (and thus is in receipt of the benefit)

Effectively all the existing laws above say that the person must have both The GP Certification "and" be in receipt of the Qualifying Benefit (Attendance Allowance or PIP/DLA) before they can receive council tax discount or exemption.
I think the issue is going to be that as the discount is awarded only when claimed, the situation is that all other forms of benefit and discount are awarded only from the date of claim, not from the date of diagnosis. That sets a legal precedent that could cause the government serious conniptions because it would cost them considerably more than just the SMI discount paybacks - it would almost certainly change the law for all benefits.

That said, any decent lawyer should be able to make the case that this is a very different situation and should therefore be treated differently. Whether a judge would accept it or not is a different issue.
I appreciate what you are saying but the date of claim for Council Tax Discount is not at issue.
Council Tax Discount SMI Disregards can be claimed at any time the only dates that apply are the date of receipt of Attendance Allowance or PIP/DLA and the date of GP Certification. Even more contradictory the actual date of diagnosis i.e. hospital diagnosis does not apply nor is required to make a claim.
The main problem is that people and families with dementia are not made aware of AA (over 65s) or PIP/DLA (under 65s) nor are they made aware of CT discount.
In reality because of the statute of limitations, even if they do manage to meet both criteria, councils are only obliged to credit a person's Council Tax by up to 6 years.
It sounds odd but at the High Court, the councils barrister understood and empathised with my case but even though there are situations in law where "state benefits" can be backdated, legally speaking Council Tax Discount is not (listed as) a state benefit and therefore any backdating issue is not included in present laws.
Therefore any government ruling on Council Tax Discounts would not have implications on any other state benefits.
Sorry to sound a smart ____ but having faced two barristers, the council's top solicitor and a judge pedantic on the present wording of the laws and having started the process to go to the supreme court I established that the only solution is to have the issue specified in law, i.e my 3rd GOV.UK online petition.
What frustrates me is that none of the main UK charities including Carers UK are prepared to adopt the campaign when 152,000 families with dementia could benefit.
Fair enough - thanks for the clarification.

Major charities are careful in choosing the projects they will support because the Lobbying Act restricts charities more than it does lobbyists. A couple of charities fell foul of that one when a snap General Election was called. Here's an article explaining the problem: https://www.devex.com/news/uk-charities ... -act-90429
I cannot see why this EXEMPTION is nottreated as such.It's not a DWP benefit.
If you have SMI due to dementia you become exempt from CT with a doctor's certificate.

I am similarly frustrated over another issue, the fact that family carers are treated differently from paid carers when doing exactly the same thing.
Dear Charles_2112.
Unless I have misread the reference you gave the issue relates to activities performed by charities during the run up to an election, I cannot see that that reasoning applies to the petition. That does not explain why carers UK do not support the petition https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/614616
The reply I received from Helen Walker said:- Carers UK receives many requests for us to promote petitions and research surveys and unfortunately we are unable to directly promote these. This is primarily because we also run our own campaigns and research surveys throughout the year, such as our annual State of Caring Survey, and we don't want to burden our members and other carers with too many of these.
Even though I replied:-
However, you more than anyone will be well aware that there is only one state benefit available to people with dementia independent of their financial circumstances, either Attendance Allowance for those over pensionable age and PIP/DLA for those under pensionable age.
Only 127 out of the UK's 382 councils backdate council tax discounts to the date of GP certification and that translates into only 25,000 out of the 177,000 people receiving either AA or PIP/DLA receiving council Tax discounts. That in itself is out of over some 6000,000 people with dementia living at home.

The only response I received was to go on to Carers Forum