An alarming number of people who have survived a serious brain injury may be missing out on council tax discounts worth £400 a year.
According to MoneySavingExpert.com, who published the report, local authorities could be overcharging upwards of 100,000 severely mentally impaired people who are entitled to relief on their council tax payments.
While council tax discounts for the severely mentally impaired were introduced in England, Scotland and Wales in 1992, councils have failed to raise awareness and promote the scheme to the people who need it the most.
Headway, the brain injury charity, also criticised irregular council policies from postcode to postcode, “meaning tens of thousands of people who are eligible are not benefiting”.
To qualify, someone must be medically certified as having a severe mental impairment, such as a brain injury, severe learning difficulties or dementia.
The relief allows an individual living with someone who is severely mentally impaired (and no other adults) to claim a 25 per cent discount. People living alone with a condition can claim 100 per cent off.
Commenting on the scheme, Martin Lewis, founder of MoneySavingExpert.com, said: “Many of the most vulnerable within our society, those who are living with a ‘severe mental impairment’, have been eligible for a council tax discount for years, but sadly, across Britain they have rarely been about told it – meaning they’ve missed out on money that could’ve transformed their quality of life.
“Most councils haven’t helped spread the word, and disgracefully have often hindered people claiming by giving out misinformation. Some staff in our cold-calling exercise even said the discount doesn’t exist, meaning there are huge differences in take-up across the country. That simply isn’t right.”
For more information on how to claim the benefit, please click here.