MoneySavingExpert and Welsh Government team up to ensure ‘severely mentally impaired’ get council tax discount
The Welsh Government has teamed up with MoneySavingExpert.com’s Martin Lewis to ensure a long-standing council tax reduction is no longer hidden for people diagnosed as ‘severely mentally impaired’
Developed with MoneySavingExpert.com – the UK’s biggest consumer website – and local authorities, this new approach puts Wales at the forefront of steps to make council tax fairer.
For the first time, people who have received a severely mentally impaired (SMI) diagnosis and meet the eligibility criteria will be treated consistently throughout Wales to ensure they receive the same support and discounts no matter where they live. They will also be able to claim back any council tax discounts, to the point when they were diagnosed.
To access this support the Welsh Government, MoneySavingExpert.com and Welsh local authorities, have developed a single, simple and easy-to-use form, which people with SMI can use to claim what they are entitled to. The form is now widely available in all local authorities and advice centres across Wales.
Finance Minister Rebecca Evans said:
“I am pleased the Welsh Government is leading the way with this new approach, helping some of the most vulnerable people access the discounts and support they are entitled to, and I’m very grateful to MoneySavingExpert and Martin Lewis for bringing this issue to our attention and working with us to address it.
This is a great example of collaborative working and supports the Welsh Government’s commitment to make council tax fairer.
We will continue to work closely with local authorities and the WLGA to encourage consistency in approaches to administering discounts and exemptions for everyone who is eligible.”
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 have rarely been 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 told people the discount doesn’t exist, meaning there are huge differences in take-up across the country. That simply isn’t right.
I’m delighted that our research and campaign has been so warmly welcomed in Wales, and congratulate the Welsh Government and Welsh local councils for their swift and comprehensive action once it was alerted to the issue.
Wales will be a beacon of light on this, bringing justice and real, significant change that will help some of society’s most needy. My hope is that the rest of Britain comes out of the dark soon too, and we will continue to work on pushing that.”
In light of Money Saving Expert’s campaign to promote council tax discounts for the mentally impaired in Wales, please see below a comment from Dementia UK’s Director of Clinical Services, Paul Edwards:
‘Through calls we get to our Admiral Nurse Dementia Helpline, we know how often families are left in the dark. They struggle to work their way through a system which doesn’t give them consistent, accurate information around their incredibly complex needs. We therefore welcome this important step so vulnerable families can claim council tax reductions simply and accessibly, and local authorities as well as health and social care professionals are more accountable to them.’
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