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Published On: August 16, 2021 | Blog | 0 comments

Severe Mental Impairment: Obtaining a Council Tax Exemption

Council Tax exemptions and discounts are available if a mental health condition permanently affects a person’s ability to perform normal daily tasks. Whether you are a Deputy, Attorney or a Benefits Appointee, you many need to consider making an application on behalf of a vulnerable individual if you are managing their finances.

A person is considered severely mentally impaired (SMI) if they have a severe impairment of intelligence and social functioning, which appears to be permanent. It does not matter how the impairment is caused. The definition includes people who have been diagnosed with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease but can also include those who suffer from mental health difficulties or impairments due to injury.

A person is usually deemed fully exempt from paying Council Tax if they are diagnosed with an SMI and live alone. Where they live with another adult who is not exempt, usually a 25% exemption is applied.

Qualifying for an Exemption

To qualify, a person has to be medically certified as having a permanent SMI. Usually a GP can complete the relevant forms which will be obtainable from the relevant Council.

An individual must also be eligible for (but not necessarily receiving) any one of the relevant Social Security benefits:

  • Incapacity benefit or Employment Support Allowance
  • Attendance allowance
  • Severe disablement allowance
  • Disability Living Allowance (Middle or Higher rate)
  • an increased rate of disablement pension for constant attendance
  • Disability working allowance
  • Constant attendance allowance payable under the industrial injuries or war pension schemes
  • Unemployability allowance
  • Income support which includes a disability premium on grounds which include incapacity to work
  • Retirement Pension where the person concerned would have qualified for one of the above except that they are over pensionable age
  • Universal Credit
  • Personal Independence Payment

Provided the medical practitioner also confirms the date the person was first considered mentally impaired, then that person may also be eligible for a refund on previous Council Tax payments made.


If the Council rejects your SMI application but you disagree with its decision, you might consider appealing directly to the Council itself. The Council will have two months to issue its final response.

Should the Council disagree, you can apply to the Valuation Tribunal Service for reconsideration of that decision. This must be done within two months of the Council’s final response.

If the Council doesn’t respond to your initial Appeal within two months, you can automatically ask the Valuation Tribunal Service to consider the Appeal. However, this must be done within four months of sending the initial Appeal.

Guidance in relation to Council Tax exemptions and Appeal tailored to each Borough can be found on each respective local authority’s website and we can also offer advice on the issue where required.

*Disclaimer: The information on the Anthony Gold website is for general information only and reflects the position at the date of publication. It does not constitute legal advice and should not be treated as such. It is provided without any representations or warranties, express or implied.*

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