If you are a disabled council tax payer, or you have a disabled person living permanently with you, you may get a reduction.
The disabled person does not have to be the person who pays the council tax but can be any member of the household, including a child. For the purposes of receiving this relief a disabled person is defined in the council tax rules as a 'person who is substantially and permanently disabled'.
The reduction is awarded by treating the property as if it is in the council tax band immediately below the actual band. So a Band B property is treated as if it is in Band A. In the case of Band A properties, a reduction of one sixth in the base charge is allowed. The reduced base charge is then used when calculating any entitlement to council tax benefit or discounts.
To qualify the property must be the sole or main residence of a person who is permanently and substantially disabled and
- there is a room, other than a kitchen, bathroom or lavatory, in the property which is mainly used for meeting the needs of the disabled person; or
- there is a second kitchen or bathroom which is used for meeting the needs of the disabled person (a second lavatory cannot qualify); or
- there is sufficient floor space to permit the use of a wheelchair by the disabled person.
The following notes clarify some terms used above and illustrate situations where a reduction might be given.
Sole or main residence
The property must be the sole or main residence of the disabled person. No reduction can be awarded if the disabled person has their sole or main residence somewhere else and is only staying with you temporarily.
Permanently and substantially disabled
The disabled person must be permanently and substantially disabled by illness, injury or congenital deformity or other reason. They need not be an adult. Some conditions are progressive and, in such cases, a judgement will need to be made when a disability becomes substantial. Although it is helpful if people apply when the condition first arises, backdating will be sympathetically considered if late applications are made.
A room (other than a kitchen or bathroom or lavatory) mainly used
The primary use of the room will usually have been taken over. So a room that is now mainly used for treatment or therapy or the storage of equipment used by the disabled person will qualify. In other cases, a downstairs room that has been converted to a bedroom or bedsitting room for a person who cannot manage stairs will not qualify. An upstairs room that would normally be used as a bedroom but which has been converted to a bedsitting room for a person who is mainly bedridden and only able to get about with great difficulty will not qualify. A room which has additional facilities such as extra heating or a hearing loop will not qualify. The use of a commode by a person who finds it difficult to get to a lavatory will not qualify.
Second bathrooms and kitchens
These do not have to be "mainly used" for meeting the needs of the disabled person, so even occasional use for meeting the disabled person's needs would be enough to qualify. A shower room is treated as a bathroom. A second lavatory is not treated as a bathroom.
Need to use a wheelchair indoors
The disabled person must both need and be able to use a wheelchair indoors. So a person who normally uses a wheelchair but cannot do so indoors because corridors or doorways are too narrow will not qualify. The storage of a wheelchair indoors is not sufficient to qualify.
If you believe you are entitled to the disabled relief you should complete an application form and send it to the council tax section. You will be visited by a council tax inspector who will normally be able to make a decision. Some cases may, however, be referred to senior staff for a decision.
If you are given disabled relief and already get council tax benefit or a discount these will be recalculated on the basis of the reduced charge. You should still apply for disabled relief because you may not always get council tax benefit or discount.