Claim your council tax discount

How to claim the ‘severely mentally impaired’ council tax discount if a member of your family has dementia or is, as they class it, severely mentally impaired.

There are thousands of people each year who are entitled to this benefit and who can be missing out on about £400 a year. We have written about it previously and know that people who have impaired memories do not like to think of themselves as being severely mentally impaired (SMI). Unfortunately, until the terminology is changed, it will remain. We will be talking to MPs about this label and see what can be done. Not everyone diagnoses with dementia will be classed as having SMI, you can look on your diagnosis form, contact your consultant or your GP.

At the moment, council tax bills are arriving through the doors of everyone and they are not particularly good at explaining that people who have a mental impairment, can claim a discount. Well, why should they – they are saving money.

The underlying causes of the medical diagnosis of SMI could be dementia (including Alzheimers), severe learning difficulties or something else. As Martin Lewis, the Money Saving Expert says, ‘having an underlying condition does not automatically mean a person is ‘severely mentally impaired’. They just have to be defined as having SMI and permanent social functioning.

If you, or a member of your family has SMI, they can be disregarded for council tax purposes – just like students are.

If you live alone and have SMI, you should not be paying any council tax at all.

If you live with your carer – you are entitled to a 25% discount. When you put in a claim, you need to specify that you require a discount because you are living with someone who is severely mentally impaired. 

To qualify for the reduction, you need to be medically certified as being SMI and be in eligible for (but NOT necessarily receiving the allowance) of at least one of the following benefits:Disability living allowanceIncapacity benefitAttendance AllowanceSevere disablement allowanceIncrease in disablement pensionUnemployability supplement or allowanceConstant attendance allowanceIncome support (which includes a disability premium)Personal independence payment (standard or enhanced daily living component)Armed forces independence paymentDisability working allowanceUniversal credit

Some councils will inform you that you need to be receiving these benefits – you only have to be eligible to receive them and not actually be receiving them.


You contact your local authority and ask them for a claim form to register for a council tax discount.

You will then need a doctor’s diagnosis. GPs are not allowed to charge you for this certification. You may just be asked to give your doctors details.

Council’s do vary. Here is Worthing and Adur’s link

If you have already paid, or want to get a rebate on an earlier year (it can get backdated) you will need to write to your local authority separately from your claim. You don’t need to explain why you didn’t apply earlier.

You may be able to claim if the person you lived with who had SMI, has since passed away. 

If you have been rejected for a discount, you can appeal. In these circumstances, please use this link to the Valuation Tribunal Service. 

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