Council Tax Reduction for Disabled People

Focus on Disability - For Disabled People, the Elderly and their Carers in the UK

Council Tax Reduction now falls under the umbrella of Council Tax Support.

If you are disabled or have a disabled person living with you there may be entitlement to a reduction in Council Tax. Council Tax helps pay for local services like policing and refuse collection.

see also: Benefit Rates

Disabled band reduction scheme

The disabled band reduction scheme aims to ensure that disabled people do not pay more Council Tax because they live in a larger property than they would have needed if they were not disabled. Having a disability does not automatically entitle you to a reduction.

In summary, the requirements for a reduction are that the property must be the main residence of at least one disabled person and it must have at least one of:

  • an additional bathroom or kitchen required to meet the needs of the disabled person
  • a room (other than a bathroom, kitchen or toilet) required to meet the needs of the disabled person, and used predominantly by them
  • extra space inside the property to allow for the use of a wheelchair – wheelchairs for outdoor use only are excluded

The room or the wheelchair must also be essential or of major importance to the disabled person’s well-being, due to the nature and extent of their disability.

‘Disabled person’ in this context means a person who is substantially and permanently disabled. The disabled person can be either an adult or a child and does not have to be responsible for paying the Council Tax bill.

An extra room does not need to have been specially built, but your home will not qualify for a reduction unless the ‘essential or of major importance’ test above is met. Simply rearranging rooms – for example, having a bedroom on the ground floor rather than the first floor – is unlikely to make your home eligible for a reduction.

What reduction you may get

If your home is eligible, your bill will be reduced to that of a property in the next Council Tax band down. For example, a Band D property will be charged a Band C rate. Even if your property is in Band A (the lowest band) you will still receive a reduction. It will be the same in cash terms as the reductions for homes in Band B, C or D.

Other Council Tax reductions for disabled people

People who are severely mentally impaired

For Council Tax purposes, a person is severely mentally impaired if they have a severe impairment of intelligence and social functioning which appears to be permanent. To be eligible for a Council Tax reduction, the person will need a doctor’s certificate saying that they are severely mentally impaired and to be entitled to one of the following benefits:

  • Disability Living Allowance care component at the middle or highest rate
  • Attendance Allowance
  • Constant Attendance Allowance
  • Severe Disablement Allowance
  • Employment and Support Allowance
  • Incapacity Benefit
  • Income Support including a disability premium (this includes anyone whose partner has a disability premium for them included in their income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance)
  • the disability element of Working Tax Credit

If the person is over State Pension age but would have been entitled to one of the above benefits if they were under State Pension age, they may also be eligible for a reduction.

People who are severely mentally impaired are not counted when adding up the number of people in a property. So for example if a husband and wife were living together and one had a severe mental impairment, they would get the usual discount of 25% that a single adult living alone would get. No Council Tax is payable on a property occupied solely by people with a severe mental impairment.

People receiving care in their own home

In some circumstances, though not for example if you are receiving care from your spouse or partner, a resident carer is not counted when adding up the number of people in a property. So for example if just you and a carer live in your home then a 25% single person discount may apply.

People in a hospital or care home

No Council Tax is payable on properties left unoccupied by people who have moved to receive personal care, whether in a hospital, care home or elsewhere, if it is now their main residence. Generally speaking, the residents of care homes or those whose main home is a hospital do not have to pay Council Tax.

how to apply

If you think you are eligible for Council Tax reduction for disabled people, you should apply to your local council.

How to apply for a reduction

You should write to or telephone your council if you think you may be entitled to a reduction on your Council Tax. You will need to apply for the reduction; your council will not automatically apply it, even if you receive care and support from social services.

The council will send you a form to fill in and return. You can also find out about, and in some cases apply for, Council Tax reductions on your local council’s website. The following link will let you enter details of where you live and then take you to your local council’s website. This service is only available for councils in England.

What happens next

A council officer may make an appointment to see you in your home. All council officers have an identification badge; ask to see it before you let them in. The council officer will make notes on what adaptations you have made to your home (if applicable), and may want to see proof of any benefits you receive.

If you don’t receive a visit, you may need to prove that you are disabled. You may need to tell the council your social worker’s name or provide some paperwork.

If you are not receiving any care from social services your doctor may be able to confirm (in writing) that you are disabled. Usually the council will contact your doctor and ask for information after they receive your application.

If your application is approved

You will see your reduction at the top of your next Council Tax bill. Normally the reduction is backdated to the date you applied. Councils may backdate a reduction if you can demonstrate you were entitled to it before you applied.

If your application is refused

If you disagree with the council’s decision, you should write to them again setting out why you believe the reduction should apply. The council has two months to change or confirm its decision.

If you still disagree with the decision, or if you don’t get a response within two months, you can appeal to the Valuation Tribunal, which is independent from the council. You should continue to pay your original bill while your appeal is outstanding.

Valuing properties that have been adapted for disabled people

Separate from the Council Tax reductions for disabled people, the rules for valuing properties for Council Tax purposes make special provisions for those adapted for physically disabled people.

When valuing a property for the purpose of determining its Council Tax band any fixture required by a physically disabled person that reduces the value of the property will be taken into account, but anything which increases the value of the property will be disregarded.

Valuations are conducted by the Valuation Office Agency. If you think they may not have not taken into account any special fixtures designed to make your home suitable for independent living when placing it in a valuation band you should contact your local Valuation Office Agency office. You can find contact details on the Valuation Office Agency website.