Council tax discounts as a mental health carer
Council tax discounts are available for certain types of carers, including mental health carers. Find out more and how to apply.
Understanding Council Tax as a Mental Health Carer
The standard rules for council tax are:
- All homes are given a Council Tax Valuation Band – you can check your council tax band on the government website.
- The first 50% of the Council Tax bill is for the property
- The other 50% of the Council Tax bill is based on two adults living in the property
- The Council Tax bill should not go up if more than two adults live in the property
- If you own or rent your home, you are responsible for paying the Council Tax bill.
- If two people or more own a property or share a joint tenancy agreement, they are jointly responsible for the bill.
Certain mental health carers and the people they care for will not be counted for the purpose of paying Council Tax. This is known as ‘being disregarded’. You can read more about council tax discounts and exemptions here.
How do I qualify for a Council Tax Discount as a mental health carer?
You will qualify for a council tax discount if you meet all the following conditions:
- You provide care for at least 35 hours a week.
- You live in the same property as the person you care for.
- You are not the partner or spouse (wife/husband) of the person you care for.
- You are not the parent if you care for a child under 18 years old.
- The person you care for is receiving 1 of the following benefits:
- Disability Living Allowance (DLA) care component - middle or higher rate.
- Personal Independence Payment (PIP) daily living component – standard or enhanced rate.
- Attendance Allowance (AA) – lower or higher rate.
- Constant Attendance Allowance (CAA) – higher rate only.
- Armed Forces Independence Payment (AFIP).
H2: How much council tax discount will I get?
Council tax discounts are:
- 25% - single person’s discount for council tax.
- 50% - carer’s discount, if the person you care for is also considered ‘disregarded’ for council tax.
If you are the only adult (18+) living in your home, you should get a 25% discount on your council tax bill. If you care for a ‘disregarded’ person (e.g. due to ‘Severe Mental Impairment’), you should get a 50% discount on your council tax bill.
Case study: How a welfare & benefits adviser helped Susie get a single person’s council tax discount
Susie is 52 years old and spends 35 hours a week caring for her 23-year-old son, Darren.
Darren has severe learning difficulties and psychosis. As a result, he often hears or sees things that Susie cannot.
He also finds it hard to understand new information and concentrate. Susie’s 48-year-old sister, Helen, also lives in the house but does not spend 35 hours a week caring for Billy.
Darren has been assessed by his local Community Mental Health Team (CMHT) and diagnosed as ‘severely mentally impaired’ (SMI) by his psychiatrist, Jill. Jill is an Approved Mental Health Practitioner (AMHP).
Susie is worried about money and how to pay the council tax bill, so she seeks advice from a welfare and benefits adviser.
The adviser looks at Susie’s situation. Because Susie is Darren’s full-time carer, Susie can be ‘disregarded’ for council tax.
Because Darren is diagnosed as SMI and in receipt of PIP enhanced rate, Darren can also be ‘disregarded’ for council tax.
Susie’s sister, Helen, cannot be ‘disregarded’ as she is considered an adult (18+) living in the same house.
The adviser informs Susie that the local council will consider Helen as one adult resident living at the property and liable for council tax.
Therefore, the single person’s discount of 25% will apply. The adviser helps Susie and Helen apply for the 25% council tax discount.
Do I need to be receiving Carer’s Allowance to get a Council Tax Discount?
You do not need to be receiving Carer’s Allowance to qualify for a Council Tax Discount. However, the rules can be complex, so always speak to a welfare and benefits adviser if you are unsure about your carer status.
Can I get a 100% total Council Tax exemption as a mental health carer?
The only way to receive a 100% council tax exemption would be if no one counts as a resident in your home because they are:
- All SMI or,
- All students.
The rules are complex, so you should always speak to a welfare and benefits adviser if you are unsure about your carer status. If you need more information about mental health carer support services, Rethink Mental Illness have a ‘Carers’ hub’ that can be accessed directly via their website.
How do I apply for a Council Tax discount as a mental health carer?
You apply for council tax discounts directly through your local council. You can find your local council here.