Alzheimer’s Society: Play fair on council tax discounts for dementia

Alzheimer’s Society urges councils to play fair on discounts for households where family member has dementia

Charity Alzheimer’s Society is urging local authorities to stop playing hard ball over paying council tax discounts to households where a family member has dementia. 

It believes too many councils are not classifying those hit by Alzheimer’s as having a severe mental impairment. 

As a result, households are missing out on a 25 per cent discount normally granted when people fall into this group. 

Unfair: Alzheimer’s Society believes too many councils are not classifying those hit by dementia as having a severe mental impairment

The problem stems from the fact that the legal definition of ‘severe mental impairment’ is open to interpretation. 

It does not depend on someone being diagnosed with dementia or losing mental capacity. Instead, the person should have a severe impairment of intelligence and social functioning that appears to be permanent – with a certificate from a doctor confirming this.

Gavin Terry, director of policy at Alzheimer’s Society says: ‘No person with dementia should be losing out on a council tax discount because of where they live. It’s a postcode lottery.’ 

One Somerset-based reader is outraged that he gets no council tax discount even though his 78-year-old wife suffers from dementia. 

He said: ‘My wife now gets lost looking for rooms. She needs constant support – but I would rather provide this myself than have her placed in care. Although I have a doctor’s certificate confirming her condition, North Somerset Council refuses to bend. Indeed, it threatened to take me to court unless I paid the full council tax demand.’ 

The council failed to provide a comment. Alzheimer’s Society provides a support line for carers: 0333 150 3456.