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Advice appreciated - Carers UK Forum

Advice appreciated

For issues specific to caring for someone with mental ill health.
Hi I would be grateful for any thoughts or advice . My son moved into supported accommodation in may and prior to moving in we were both told his housing benefit would cover the rent and council tax. His support worker helped him set up his other bills and he has coped well with paying them. A month later he had a council tax bill for £133 and we asked his support worker to help him sort this out as I have been told I need to step back and let the support workers help him. I kept seeing reminders for this bill ad I went to the main office and voiced my concerns and was told nobody in supported accommodation pays council tax and was assured it would be sorted out. I later had a phone call from the lady that is in charge of the supported accommodation and she also assure me he didn't need to pay it so I relaxed. I recently spotted a letter on his table from the council tax saying they are now adding £80 to the bill as it is unpaid and this was dated July ! He has had no access to his post for the past month as he lost his keys and they have not yet prvoided a replacement key. I'm freaking out a bit as when I rang his support worker he said nonchalantly that he does have to pay it so there is probably a court summons in his post box that he has no access to . I feel that all these extra costs are in no way my sons fault and it's unfair. Sorry for long post
Hi Debra, can I ask why your son is in supported living. If he has severe mental impairment then he is totally exempt from Council Tax. Who is acting as DWP appointee for him? (My own son is brain damaged, 38, living in supported living).
He is in supported living due to his mental illness (schizophrenia) . I don't know if that counts as he has capacity but cannot cope with organizing his bills and such.
Does he have a DWP Appointee to claim benefits on his behalf? Sounds like that is what he needs. I'm my son's appointee, so all the benefits come into an acvount I manage. I pay all the utilities from this account, keep some in reserve for major purchases, clothing etc. Then I pay £100 a week into an account my son manages with support.
He had si ilar problems to your son initially until I adopted this system. Support staff are useless.
I don't think he would agree to this as he is actually doing very well paying his bills and shopping for food etc and he is proud of how well he is doing generally in fact we all are but it's more the fact we have both been wrong gly advised by the support workers so now he is going to end up paying way more than he owed in the first place. It feels like I have done as everyone asked and stepped back but now my confidence is shaken as he not only owes all this money but they still haven't replaced his key to his post box it's a secure lock so we can't do it and he has already missed one outpatient appt with his new psychiatrist because he couldn't access his post. It's so frustrating but I'm scared that if I make a complaint he will lose his accommodation which will devastate him
There can be no reasonable excuse for not providing a new key. What exactly do they have to do to replace it ?! Would it just be easier to get a locksmith in?

I suggest it's time for you to write a "grovelling" letter to the Council Tax people and explain your son's situation - first, you will have to get him to sign a letter to say that he agrees to the council talking to you on all aspects of his CT.

that you apologise on his behalf that arrears have built up
that he was wrongly advised that he didn't have to pay it in future
that you will support him to set up a standing order/direct debit from now onwards if they send the forms.

Ask if, in view of the situation, they could waive the late charge?

Ask if all correspondence can go to your address for the time being (i.e. until the key is provided)

Hopefully all the utilities etc. are paid by standing order/direct debit already?

Is he on Housing Benefit? Did you know that as a vulnerable adult the council can pay his HB direct to the landlord?

As for the support workers, if you don't want to make a formal complaint you can always write a letter of "concern" that support workers need extra training around council tax issues.
Thanks for the advice bowling bun some good ideas. I phoned his support worker today to be told she doesn't think he needs to pay it and said she will make a phone call next time she sees him. I'm really conf used now as we're being told a different story every time I contact them and all the time this debt will be mounting up its infuriating !
She sounds useless. I think the time has come for you to ring her line manager and ask him/her to clarify the situation IMMEDIATELY. Either your son does, or does not, have to pay Council Tax. If they say he doesn't, then they need to explain why not. If they can't say immediately (which given the nature of their job I would expect them to be able to do) then set a clear deadline of the end of the week.
There is a possibility that if his income is entirely from benefits, then for that reason he will not have to pay, however he must fill in a form declaring his financial position. (Forgot about this previously).
She did mention a form when I rang her but my son is away at the moment and she can't ring the council until my son is with her.I've decided I'm going to be there too when she makes the phone call then I might stand an outside chance of understanding the situation. I tried her line manager but not answering her phone maybe she is on leave but this proves that I can't step back and let the support workers help him as I was advised
Agreed. They now have to prove they are competent, THEN and only then can they gradually take over. This situation should never have happened.