Many of us have been deeply affected by COVID and the resulting restrictions, the effects on mental health, physical health and finances have been devastating for too many people. So I hope that in some small way this post helps those who have not applied for what they should be claiming from their council.
This post is for people in the UK who pay Council Tax and live in England, Scotland and Wales. Northern Ireland has a slightly different system so please see the link below.
A big thank you to my lovely mum for sharing this information with me.
The following text is from the excellent Martyn Lewis, Money Saving Expert website and details ‘how to claim’:
“Who is eligible for the severe mental impairment discount?
Both of the following must apply for someone to qualify for a severe mental impairment (SMI) council tax discount:
- They’ve been medically certified as being severely mentally impaired. For example, this may be the case if they have dementia, Parkinson’s, severe learning difficulties or have had a stroke. It will depend on each individual’s case though and simply having been diagnosed doesn’t automatically mean they qualify – a doctor must also certify they are severely mentally impaired.
- They’re eligible for (but NOT necessarily actually receiving) at least one of the following benefits:
- Incapacity benefit
- Attendance allowance
- Severe disablement allowance
- Disability living allowance (higher or middle-rate care component)
- Increase in disablement pension (due to constant attendance being needed)
- Unemployability supplement or allowance
- Constant attendance allowance
- Income support (which includes a disability premium)
- Personal independence payment (standard or enhanced daily living component)
- Armed forces independence payment
In England and Wales you can also be eligible for:
- Disability working allowance (based on getting income support including disability premium)
- Universal credit (including an element for limited capability for work or limited capability for work and work-related activity)
In Scotland you can also be eligible for:
- Tax credits (including disability element)
- Employment and support allowance
- Universal credit
Just to be clear, some councils wrongly tell people they need to be receiving these benefits. That’s not correct – the law simply says you need to be eligible for them.
In Northern Ireland it works differently
There’s a rates system there instead of council tax, meaning every property is valued individually. The only roughly similar discount is the disabled person’s allowance, which gives a 25% discount on rates for homes where a disabled person lives and the property has been adapted to suit their needs. See full info on the NIdirect website.”
This link also walks you through the steps of how to calm a rebate and how to claim if you live with someone who was eligible but has since died.
The money comes from Central Government and not the individual councils and this has been highlighted over the years by MSE because only a fraction of people who are eligible actually claim. Check if you can, all conditions are not listed and each case is individual, you have nothing to lose.
So if your B12 deficiency has lead to severe mental impairment (SMI) or you know anyone at all who should claim, please pass this information on and don’t be fobbed off!
We are all still trying to get used to life again and unravelling the mysteries of how to do normal things, how to communicate, who we can and can’t see or touch, where to stand, what to wear, how to shop and how to generally be, this takes its toll in many ways and impacts us all differently.
I have struggled with the separation from people in this period and many of us have experienced loss or a sense of loss and a whole heap of confusion.
Some of us try to look like we’re coping on the outside but it’s turmoil within, this can result in even more isolation and less contact than we are now allowed. So if you are struggling, please make sure you let someone know, just so that they can quietly keep an eye on you. We all need each other.
My advice back in March, for what it’s worth, was to limit exposure to the news, I still hold solidly to that, so much of what is given out induces fear, anger and anxiety.
A very wise woman (Lynne M) once taught me about the power of baroque music in times of great stress and although not baroque, I hope this link may be of interest to you.
I’d love to hear from you so please comment below.
P.S Just a quick note to let you know I am still working with my MP on trying to make B12 OTC in the UK. I will keep you updated!