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If you or a loved one have been diagnosed with dementia, you may be able to get a reduction in your council tax bill…

Whether you’re renting or buying, you usually have to pay council tax on the property you live in. However, a dementia diagnosis might affect this, and could result in you – or the person you’re caring for – paying a lot less, or even nothing at all.

Your home may be exempt from council tax if:

– You have dementia and live on your own. If your condition is considered to cause ‘severe mental impairment’ (which is likely if you have a medical diagnosis of dementia) it could mean that you no longer have to pay council tax on your home.

– You have dementia and live with a carer who is not your partner or parent, and who spends at least 35 hours per week caring for you.

– You have dementia and have moved into a care home or hospital, leaving your home unoccupied. But if your home remains unoccupied for more than two years, you may have to start paying council tax on it again.

You may qualify for a reduction in council tax if:

– Your partner has dementia. This means that he/she will be exempt from paying council tax and that you will be charged a ‘single person’ occupancy rate, which normally means a 25 per cent discount.

– The person you live with has dementia and needs special facilities to help them in the home. For example, an extra bathroom. If this is the case, your council tax bill could be reduced by one band. For example, if you were in band ‘C’ you will now pay the lower band ‘B’ rate.

– You can prove financial hardship. Some councils have special discretionary funds to help people who are struggling to pay their council tax. Contact your local council tax department to find out more. Make sure you explain how caring for your loved one impacts on your finances and ability to pay.

Good to know

If you’ve only just realised you may be entitled to a reduction or exemption – and probably have been for quite some time – don’t panic. It is possible to get your claim backdated. Ask your local council tax department for more information.