Disability reduction scheme

The disability reduction scheme aims to ensure that a disabled person does not pay more council tax because they live in a larger property than they would have needed if they were not disabled, or lives in a house where the living area available for normal use is reduced.

A liable person who qualifies for the disability reduction scheme may also be eligible for a discount and council tax reduction.

This content applies to Scotland

Eligibility

To be eligible for the disability reduction scheme, the property[1] must be the sole or main residence of at least one person (adult or child) who is substantially and permanently disabled (whether physically or mentally). S/he need not be responsible for the council tax bill for the scheme to apply. There can be only one reduction under this scheme, even if more than one disabled person lives at the address.

The property must have at least one of the following:

  • an additional kitchen to meet the needs of the disabled person (a single kitchen or bathroom which is predominantly used by the disabled person will not count, but an additional kitchen or bathroom necessary for the disabled person should count); oror kitchen to meet the needs of the disabled person (a single kitchen or bathroom which is predominantly used by the disabled person will not count, but an additional kitchen or bathroom necessary for the disabled person should count); or

  • any other room (not a kitchen, bathroom or toilet) which is mainly used by the disabled person to meet his/her needs; or

  • enough space indoors for the disabled person to use a wheelchair.

The room does not need to have been adapted in any way to meet the needs of the disabled person, but it must be essential or of major importance to the disabled person's well-being, by the the nature and extent of her/his disability.

Amount

Where the scheme applies, the council tax charged will be based on the valuation band below the one the property has been valued at.

For example, a band D property will be charged at the band C rate. If the property is in band A the reduction is worked out proportionally.

The reduction will apply from the date of application and the local authority has discretion to backdate it for up to five years.[2]

How to apply

The liable person, or one of them if there is more than one, must apply in writing to the local authority for a council tax band reduction under the disability reduction scheme. If more than one disabled person lives in the property, an application for each of them can be made, but only one reduction can apply. The liable person may have to apply every year, or the local authority may require confirmation that the circumstances have not changed. The local authority is likely to request evidence, for example letters from social workers, health professionals or proof of works carried out.

Forms are available from the local authority.

Appeals

In the first instance a request for an appeal should be made in writing direct to the local authority. The local authority must respond in writing within two months.[3]

Further appeal

A further appeal can be made by writing again to the local authority, (who should pass to the secretary of the local valuation appeal committee). The appeal must be made within four months of the initial appeal, provided either the local authority review process has already been used, or where the local authority fails to respond within the two month time period.

Last updated: 30 November 2020

Footnotes

  • [1]

    reg.3 Council Tax (Reductions for Disabilities) (Scotland) Regulations 1992/1335

  • [2]

    HS v Leicester City Council [2015] Appeal Number 2465M142876/037C (In this case it was accepted that a backdate could be awarded for up to six years as per Limitation Act 1980. The equivalent legislation in Scotland is the Prescription and Limitation (Scotland) Act 1973 which, presumably would make the time limit five years)

  • [3]

    reg.81 Local Government Finance Act 1992