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Council tax for the severely mentally impaired

Find out about council tax exemption for people with a severe mental impairment.

If you have been certified by a medical professional as having a severe mental impairment (SMI), you are not counted as occupying your property for the purposes of council tax.

People who qualify for an exemption

If you live alone and have a severe mental impairment you will be exempt from paying any council tax at all.

People who qualify for a discount

  • If you live with others you will still qualify for a discount. If everyone in a property is disregarded, a 50% discount is awarded.
  • If everyone but one person in a property is disregarded, a 25% discount is awarded.
  • If more than two people are not disregarded, no discount can be awarded.

How to tell if you qualify as SMI

You are deemed severely mentally impaired if the following apply:

  • you have been certified by a medical practitioner as having an impairment of intelligence and social functioning which is expected to be permanent.

You are eligible to receive one of the following:

  • attendance allowance under 64 of the Social Security Contributions and Benefits Act 1992
  • severe disablement allowance
  • the highest or middle rate of the care component of a disability living allowance
  • the daily living component of personal independence payment
  • an increase in the rate of your disablement pension (where constant attendance is needed
  • the disability element of working tax credit
  • incapacity benefit
  • employment support allowance
  • unemployability allowance or supplement
  • constant attendance allowance or income support including a disability premium
  • universal credit under part 1 of the Welfare Reform Act 2012 which includes an amount if a person has a limited capacity for work.

You will need to supply proof of receipt or entitlement to any qualifying benefit.

If you live with your carer

If anyone with a severe mental impairment lives with a carer (or carers), you will all be disregarded for council tax purposes and the property will be treated as if it were empty.

A 50% discount will apply if the following are true:

  • the carer lives permanently with the person for whom they care
  • the person cared for is not a spouse or a child if under the age of 18 (they can qualify if the child is over the age of 18)
  • the carer provides care for at least 35 hours per week.

You are receiving one of these:

  • the higher rate of attendance allowance
  • the highest rate of the care component of disability living allowance
  • the highest rate of disablement pension
  • an increase in a constant attendance allowance.

You will need to supply proof of receipt or entitlement to any qualifying benefit.

Council tax reduction scheme and people with severe mental impairments

The council tax reduction scheme is intended for those with a low income who may have difficulty paying their bill. If you have only been awarded a discount because some or all the people who live with you are severely mentally impaired, you may still be entitled to claim council tax reduction against the remainder of your charge.

Joint and several liability

Joint and several liability applies to any household where more than one person shares the property either as joint owners or joint tenants. It means that all of the occupants are jointly responsible for paying the bill.

Joint and several liability will not apply to anyone that is disregarded because of a severe mental impairment.

Any council tax due for payment is the responsibility of all other members of the household. The local authority will not specify any person or persons to pay - it is their responsibility to agree how the bill will be paid within the household. All others will be held jointly responsible for any arrears.

This applies equally to households consisting of the severely mentally impaired, carers, non-carers, benefit claimants, or any other combination. It is very important therefore that everyone living in the property registers so that all of the names appear on the bill.


Council tax

Council Tax Team, Po Box 58993, Bromley Road, London, SE6 9GZ