The Welsh Government is set to announce significant changes so that a long-standing council tax reduction in Great Britain is no longer hidden for people diagnosed as ‘Severely Mentally Impaired’ (SMI).
The announcement, responding to a campaign by the UK’s biggest consumer website MoneySavingExpert.com (MSE), will ensure some with conditions such as dementia (including Alzheimer’s disease), are told that they may be due £1,000s in rebates.
Sally Copley, Director of Policy, Campaigns and Partnerships, said: ‘This will be welcome news to the 45,000 people living with dementia in Wales, but what about the people in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland? ‘Dementia is a devastating condition, with the average person spending £100,000 to cover their care. As it stands, people with severe dementia are eligible for discounts or even exemptions on their council tax, but we know from talking to people with dementia that they often aren’t aware of these crucial entitlements.
‘It’s criminal that people with dementia aren’t getting the financial help they are entitled to. We echo Martin Lewis’ call for this discount to be backdated and for all local authorities to ensure there’s a clear and consistent process going forwards. No person with dementia should be losing out because of their postcode.’
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.’