Barnet's Labour councillors are calling for the Council to provide more proactive advice to residents living with dementia after learning that fewer than 979 are claiming the council tax exemption, or discount they are entitled to.
Residents with dementia are eligible for 100% discount on council tax if they live alone, and 25% discount if they live with only one non-disregarded resident. Eligibility also relies on a statement by their GP and a qualifying benefit.
In answer to a Full Council question submitted by Labour Councillor Pauline Coakley Webb, the Council said: "Currently we are awarding 568 exemptions and 411 discounts to households in the borough. All of these households have residents suffering with a permanent severe mental impairment. Not all of those cases will be as a result of dementia. Information has been circulated to Social Workers to provide a fact sheet to assist with identifying any additional households. Eligibility can be checked by speaking with the Council Tax team on 020 8359 2608 or through the website www.barnet.gov.uk/council-tax."
The council's own data estimates that between 2012-2020 the number of people over 65 in Barnet living with dementia will increase by 63% from 4,006 to 6,528.
Cllr Coakley Webb said:
"The council tax information on the Council's website does not refer specifically to dementia - it only refers to 'permanent severe mental impairment'.
"Many people living with dementia, or their carers, will not know or be able to find out easily that they are entitled to help with their council tax.
"We really need to be specific about this on the website, and in information given to carers. We should also ensure that GPs are aware of the exemption and discount so we are proactively identifying people who are eligible.
"Dementia is a terrible condition, and those living with it deserve all the support they are entitled to."
- A link to Cllr Coakley Webb's Council Question can be found here (Question 32): http://barnet.moderngov.co.uk/documents/s43098/Members%20Items.pdf
- For more on the Council's services to residents with dementia see: https://www.barnet.gov.uk/citizen-home/adult-social-care/advice-and-support/Dementia-services-in-barnet.html