Carer benefits

Help with council tax for carers

If you look after someone, you could be eligible to receive a discount on your council tax, or even be exempt from paying council tax altogether. Or you may be able to apply for the council tax reduction benefit to help cover the cost of your council tax bill.

Exemptions and discounts

If you live with the person you care for
If you are the only other person who is liable to pay council tax living with the person you care for, they may be eligible for a discount on their council tax bill. This is because live-in carers are disregarded (treated as not liable) for council tax.

To be disregarded as a carer, you must meet the following criteria:

  • you must provide care for at least 35 hours a week, and
  • you must live in the same property as the person you are caring for, and
  • you must not be the spouse or partner of the person you care for, or their parent if you care for a child under 18
  • the person you care for must receive either the highest rate of the care component of Disability Living Allowance or the higher rate of Attendance Allowance or Constant Attendance Allowance.

You do not have to claim Carer's Allowance to qualify for this discount, and your income and savings will not affect your eligibility. If there is more than one carer living in the property, they can both be ignored for Council Tax purposes as long as they both meet the conditions.

If you normally live elsewhere
Because of your caring responsibilities you may need to leave your own home and go to live with the person you are looking after. If your home is empty (or if nobody living there is liable to pay council tax) because you are living elsewhere so you can provide care for someone, then your home will become exempt from council tax.

Your home may be exempt for other reasons as well. You can find out which other circumstances could mean that a property is exempt from council tax.

Council tax disability discounts
You may be able to get a discount on your council tax under the disability discount scheme if anyone resident in the property (adult or child) is 'substantially and permanently disabled' and if the property meets certain requirements, for example:

  • there is an additional bathroom or kitchen in the property which is needed by the disabled person or
  • there is a room (other than a bathroom, kitchen or toilet) needed by and mainly used by the disabled person or
  • there is extra space needed in the property for the disabled person to use a wheelchair indoors

There is no general test of who is considered 'substantially and permanently disabled'. Previous cases have clarified that if an extra room is required it means that it is additional, meaning it would not be required for the relevant purpose if the person were not disabled. For example, a treatment room that is only used for a disabled person's physiotherapy treatments would count, but a bedroom wouldn't.

A disability discount means that the council tax bill is reduced to the amount payable for a home in the valuation band below yours. If you are in the lowest band already (Band A) you get a discount of one sixth of the bill.

Council Tax Reduction
If you are on a low income or in receipt of certain benefits, you may be eligible for council tax reduction (replacing the old council tax benefit) to cover some or all of your council tax bill. Sutton has an on-line benefits calculator to check if you are eligible for any council tax reduction.

How to apply to your council for council tax discounts, exemptions and reductions
Council tax is managed by your local authority. If you live in Sutton and would like to apply for a Council Tax discount, exemption or reduction, you can make an application online.

Other information and advice
Sutton Carers Centre provides information, advice and support services for carers, including in relation to benefits and other financial issues. Find out more about the support the Carers Centre can offer you by getting in touch: 020 8296 5611, enquiries@suttoncarerscentre.org.

Sutton Citizens Advice Bureaux provides information and advice around finances (including benefits, debt and other financial matters). Find out more about the support the Sutton CABx can offer you by getting in touch: 020 8405 3552, contact form.

Gov.uk has advice on all aspects of council tax and council tax reduction.

Carers UK has advice and information on council tax discounts and benefits you may be able to claim.

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