Disabled bills & Council Tax Discounts
HELP WITH YOUR BILLS
Having a child with additional needs can add to the costs to running your home and also reduce your income because of your caring responsibilities. Thats why there are lots of support systems in place to help level the playing field and help you support your child without worrying about how to pay the bills.
Some gas and electricity suppliers have set up funds that give grants if you're in financial hardship because of fuel costs. Your supplier will let you know what's available. Some charities, such as Macmillan, also make grants towards fuel costs. Even if you fall behind in your payments, you shouldn't have your electricity or gas supply cut off during the winter months especially if your home has someone who is disabled living there or if you have a child under 18 living with you.
Check that you are receiving the Cold Weather Payment. You may be eligible because your child's disability. You’ll get a Cold Weather Payment if the average temperature in your area is recorded or forecast to be zero degrees celsius or below for 7 consecutive days.
Some water companies can offer you help from their charitable trust schemes, so contact your water company for more information. The WaterSure scheme is available to families on certain benefits who have a water meter. It will allow those families to have their bills capped so they won't get a massive bill out of the blue. To find out more, have a look at the OFWAT website.
COUNCIL TAX DISCOUNT
You can get a discount on your Council Tax if your child needs extra space or an additional bathroom because of their disability. Your bill will be reduced to the next Council Tax band down. For example, a C property will be charged at a B rate. Even if your property is in Band A (the lowest band) you will still receive a reduction. Contact your local authority for more information.
Finding the right Discounts for Council Tax Bills
There are three different kinds of council tax reductions that you should know about...
- The disability reduction scheme
- The single person’s discount
- Low income and hardship funds
- The Disability Reduction Scheme
If someone in your household is ‘substantially and permanently disabled’ you may qualify for a reduction in the banding of your council tax bill.
There must be a disabled person or child living in your property and one of the following must apply....
- Wheelchair - They use a wheelchair indoors
- Extra bathroom or kitchen - That you have a second bathroom or
kitchen in your home that is needed by your disabled child.
- Extra room - Your child’s disability is such that one of the rooms in your property (other than a bathroom, kitchen or toilet, and in addition to their own bedroom) is needed by and mostly used by them. Possibly an adapted room, a treatment room or where you store all of their kit.
Your local authority will assess your home and decide if you qualify for a reduction in your council tax.
Single Person’s Discount, Who Counts?
Council tax bills assume that there are at least two adults in the household. If only one adult is ‘visible’ then you qualify for a 25% discount.
• Call your LA and ask them to send you details of their schemes.
• Talk to your disability social worker about what you might be able to be eligible for. They may have more local information.
• Take notes when to talk to your Local Authority on the phone and if you’re not sure, write down when you both chatted about and email it to them to check your details are right.
Here is a list of people that may not be counted as ‘visible’.
- Please contact your Council Tax department for a complete list in your area.
- Children under 18 years of age
- People aged 18/19 years of age for whom Child Benefit is payable
- They can then be counted as ‘invisible’ until 31 October of that year
- Full time students, most apprentices and trainees aged under 25
- Anyone who has a ‘severe mental impairment’, for example learning disabilities or are on the autistic spectrum. They must also get a disability benefit like DLA or PIPs.
- Some live-in care workers providing care on behalf of an LA or charity. It also includes some carers providing at least 35 hours of care a week to someone who claims:
• Attendance Allowance at either rate (only the high rate in Scotland)
• Disability Living Allowance care component at the middle or high rate (only the high rate in Scotland)
• Personal Independence Payment daily living component at either rate (only the enhanced rate in Scotland)
PLEASE NOTE that you do count if you are caring for your child under 18 years of age.
Low Income and Hardship Funds
Each council reviews and decides on what level of income qualifies. That means that each scheme can be different and change each year so check with your local council annually to see if you qualify. Most local authorities run hardship funds. Even if they don’t you can still request extra help. A council has the power to make discretionary payments in individual cases.
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Not sure where to turn?
Contact our helpdesk
Do you need specific help for your disabled or special needs child? Click here to tell us more about what you're looking for and our helpdesk team will do their very best to find you what you need. All of our advice is confidential and we will not share your details or personal information with anyone.