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Hello everyone,

 

I care for my mother who has dementia.

She has a few things, mostly relating to her health and divorce that I've been trying to sort out.

I had advised the local council that I was struggling to cope and that my step dad, her ex husband had suddenly cut off all her bills and not paid them.

My social worker said that it was finance related and that she couldn't help.

 

The council tax bill was addressed for number 46- not sure why they had suddenly got our address wrong.

when I first heard that the council tax bill hadn't been paid, it'd been a couple of months already, as the letter had gone to my neighbour.

 

I explained this to them on the phone and they sent me some forms to fill in on behalf of my mum, but several other things have happened, including waiting for evidence to come through etc.

 

The person I spoke to was sure my mum was entitled not to pay because of her condition, but I'm not even sure what category she fell into.

 

I suffer with depression and it's a lot of pressure to deal with when caring for someone.

She's recently had a massive decline in her condition but it seems like no one cares or wants to help.

 

I've now received a magistrates court summons for an amount of £1300 to be paid upfront

From the letter, they're not interested in the ins and outs and just want payment.

 

Please can you advise. I will of course speak to them, but they're not open until Monday.

 

Thank you.

Edited by dx100uk
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Magistrates summons would actually be issued by council as an admin process, which go before Magistrates if you don't respond to the summons.

 

Speak to the council on Monday and advise them of the issues. If they are not interested, advise that you will turn up at the Magistrates on the date advised on the Summons and speak to Magistrates regarding the issues with the council tax bill having the wrong address and the council not being interesting in resolving the issues.

 

If you Mum has severe health issues she may be entitled to claim for a reduction in the council tax. Have a look at the councils website.


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Thank you for your reply.

 

So, what you're saying is the summons is actually from the council and not from the court and I can still discuss this with them before they send it to court? Because, they've given me a court date actually.

 

The council have since corrected the address, but I'm not sure how it got changed in the first place, so I'm not sure they will take me seriously. I will try though!

 

She has dementia and the website wasn't clear, so they've sent me the forms, which are also unclear, because she doesn't seem to fall into any of the categories. I was supposed to check with them, but other things happened and it's taken me longer to get round to things.

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Yes the Council issue the Summons and the date set at Magistrates is a one the Council have booked. They arrange a room at the Magistrates where they attempt to gain payment arrangements and if not agreed, the debtor is dealt with by Magistrates.

 

If you manage to get the Council to deal with this before the Magistrates date, they can cancel the summons and make arrangements with you.

 

You really need to speak to someone at the Council that deals with vulnerable people and can assist with this. The Council will have teams that help in this situation. The Council tax collections team might have been outsourced to a private company, just interested in collecting money. Your local councillors can put you in touch with relevant people at the Council.


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Thank you- I wasn't sure.

 

I will definitely speak to them and I tried calling yesterday but they're only open Mon- Fri.

 

Hopefully it will get sorted, but I know for a fact we can't pay the full amount upfront. The back of the letter is filled with scenarios and they've basically said they don't care they want everything now, which is quite scary.

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You should contact her local Councillor(s) today - even though it is Sunday - best done by phone and ask they take this up for you. If they refuse or are reluctant then go straight to the Leader of the Council and their opposite number. Councillor details can be had from http://www.writetothem.com


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I should just like to add – the advice you are getting here is excellent all through and you should follow it. However, you are being advised all the time to use the telephone. Firstly you should make sure that you have read our customer services guide and implemented the advice there. This is essential. Secondly, you should be putting everything in writing. Take sure you follow up every telephone conversation with a letter which confirms what was said on the telephone. You absolutely do need a paper trail here so that nobody later on can deny that they want told. Also, if you end up having to go to court then I'm afraid that simply telling the court that you told people over the phone when be very impressive. Far better to turn up with the copies of several letters that you sent and show them to the court so that it is clear that you did write and you did explain the situation.

 

Finally, even though you may be told by the council that everything will be sorted and you don't need to worry, I should go to court anyway on the date. I'm afraid that there are lots of people on this forum who think that they have made some kind of arrangement but the word doesn't filter through and eventually some anonymous council clerk turns up in court with an armful of files and they are just rubberstamp through.

 

If you do go to court then you should go there early – at least half an hour before the hearing time. Don't just wait outside the court but speak to the Usher and find out which court your case is going to be heard in.

 

Then go into the court and find the clerk of the court and pass a note to the clerk saying that you are present to answer to your case – give the case number and full name and address.

 

Explain to the clerk that you will want to talk and to object to the application.

 

You have to be very careful not to be ignored. The court dealing with loads of files. Hardly anybody ever turns up and they just like to process them and get them out of the way. You really have to make sure that you get there early and also make sure that people know that you are there and make sure that your case will be taken out of the pile and treated individually and that you will be given a chance to talk.

 

Hopefully they really will be sorted out – but I'm giving you "worst case" advice.


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I suffer with depression and it's a lot of pressure to deal with when caring for someone.

She's recently had a massive decline in her condition but it seems like no one cares or wants to help.

If you're resident at the property then the best discount could be 50% - if you're not resident then the best case would be a council tax exemption. It all depends on whether she is SMI for council tax purposes (and, if you are resident, if you qualify as a carer or not). https://lgfa92.co.uk/council-tax-severely-mentally-impaired-smi/

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Thank you to everyone who took the time to give me advice and I'm sorry I haven't been on to give you feedback.

 

I spoke to the council and they said they will be able to withdraw the summons once the receive the forms back proving that my mum indeed has a medical condition.

 

I explained to them that the forms were outdated and nowhere did it list PIP as a qualifying benefit.

They've asked me to manually amend the form and the guy I spoke to said he will bring it up next in the team meeting, because DLA is being phased out.

 

I sent them back the form on the same day.

The guy I spoke to told me, I had been sent the wrong form for myself.

I'm most likely exempt from council tax but the form they sent me in the first place isn't the right one.

 

I will let you know if and once this has all be resolved. Thank you :)

Edited by dx100uk
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looking good!!

 

dx


please don't hit Quote...just type we know what we said earlier..

 

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Thank you to everyone who took the time to give me advice and I'm sorry I haven't been on to give you feedback.

 

I spoke to the council and they said they will be able to withdraw the summons once the receive the forms back proving that my mum indeed has a medical condition.

 

I explained to them that the forms were outdated and nowhere did it list PIP as a qualifying benefit.

They've asked me to manually amend the form and the guy I spoke to said he will bring it up next in the team meeting, because DLA is being phased out.

 

I sent them back the form on the same day.

The guy I spoke to told me, I had been sent the wrong form for myself.

I'm most likely exempt from council tax but the form they sent me in the first place isn't the right one.

 

I will let you know if and once this has all be resolved. Thank you :)

 

DLA will remain as a qualifying benefit (it will do so for historical claim purposes) so I hope they don't remove it ! PiP was added as a qualifying benefit for SMI with effect from 1 April 2013 - so only 5 1/2 years ago... There are a few different councils where I've had to point out similar (mind, the most commonly used council tax handbook also has a error along the same lines for qualifying benefits but with the carers disregard).

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Hello everyone,

 

A small update. So I've sent the form back for my mum to show she has a mental impairment but they've said the court case will go ahead as it is in a queue waiting to get processed. The person on the phone has put our account on hold and has already removed the summons charges for us and he said we don't have to attend court. The summons is to obtain a liability order.

 

What is your take on this? Should I still go?

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Hello everyone,

 

A small update. So I've sent the form back for my mum to show she has a mental impairment but they've said the court case will go ahead as it is in a queue waiting to get processed. The person on the phone has put our account on hold and has already removed the summons charges for us and he said we don't have to attend court. The summons is to obtain a liability order.

 

What is your take on this? Should I still go?

 

If the council have marked the summons as withdrawn on their system then they should, at the liability order hearing, advice the magistrates that they no longer wish to pursue the order and that the application is withdrawn. There's usually no problem but if you feel you need something in writing then ask the council to confirm the application is being withdrawn.

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