This page contains definitions of the following terms in relation to Council Tax

  • Students
  • Severely mentally impaired people
  • Dependant relatives
  • Apprentices
  • Care workers
  • Carers
  • Care leavers


For the purposes of Council Tax, the term 'student' covers:

  • Any person who is enrolled in a full-time course of education at a prescribed educational establishment
  • A person under the age of 20 undertaking a qualifying course of education
  • A foreign language assistant

For a course to be considered ‘full-time’:

  • The student must attend for at least 24 weeks in an academic (or calendar) year and
  • The course must require the student to undertake periods of study, tuition or work experience which together amount to an average of 21 hours per week

Students are disregarded during any period in which they fall within this definition.

The period of a student’s course runs from the day they begin the course and continues until it is completed or the student leaves the course uncompleted. Vacations during the course are treated as part of the period of the course.

Prescribed educational establishment

A prescribed educational establishment is:

  • A university including a constituent college, school or other institution of a university or
  • A central institution or college of education in Scotland or
  • A college of education in Northern Ireland or
  • A theological college or
  • Any other institution in England or Wales established solely or mainly to provide courses of further or higher education or
  • Any other institution in Scotland or Northern Ireland established solely or mainly to provide courses of further education or
  • An institution accredited by the Teacher Training Agency or, in Wales, by the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales

Student certificate

A certificate is required as evidence of student status and must be received before a reduction may be applied. A student certificate must contain the following information:

  • The name and address of the prescribed educational establishment issuing the certificate
  • The full name of the student to whom it is issued
  • The student’s date of birth (if known to the institution)
  • A statement certifying that the person is (or has) followed a course of education as a student
  • The date when the person became a student and the date the person’s course is expected to end (or has ended)

If you are a student and would like to apply for a student discount please download, complete and return this form to us: Student discount form (PDF Document, 0.11 Mb)

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Severely mentally impaired

The term Severely Mentally Impaired (SMI) refers to people who have ‘a severe impairment of intelligence and social functioning (however caused) which appears to be permanent’.

To qualify, a medical practitioner must certify you meet this definition and you must be entitled to one or more of these benefits:

Qualifying benefit
a) Incapacity benefit under s.30A of the Social Security Contributions and Benefits Act 1992
b) Attendance allowance (under s.64 SSCB Act)
c) Severe disablement allowance (under s.68 SSCB Act)
d) The care component of a disability living allowance payable either at the highest rate or at the middle rate (under sections 71 and 72 SSCB Act)
e) An increase in the rate of disablement pension (under s.104 SSCB Act)

A disability working allowance under s.129 SSCB Act for which the qualifying benefit is:

i) One falling within s.129(2)(a)(I) or (ii), or

ii) Income support, and the applicable amount formerly payable included a disability premium,

or is a corresponding Northern Ireland benefit

g) An unemployability supplement under Part 1 of Sch7, SSCB Act
h) A constant attendance allowance under article 14 of the Personal Injuries (Civilians) Scheme 1983 or article 14, Naval, Military and Air Forces etc. (Disablement and Death) Services Pensions Order 1983
i) An unemployability allowance under article 18 of either of the provisions referred to at (h) above
j) Income support where the applicable amount includes a disability premium

Incapacity benefit under ss.40 and 41 SSCB Act 1992.


Universal Credit (Limited Capability for Work/ Work related Activity) Element.

You can apply for a severe mental impairment disregard by completing this form: Severe mental impairment disregard form (PDF Document, 0.13 Mb)

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Dependant relative

A dependant relative is:

  • Someone aged 65 years or more, or
  • Someone who is severely mentally impaired, or
  • Someone who is substantially and permanently disabled (whether by illness, injury, congenital deformity or otherwise)

The list of people to be regarded as being a relative of another is extensive. It includes great-great-grandparents and great-great-uncles, and also allows a relationship by marriage to be treated as a relationship by blood and a relationship between a couple living together as married to be treated as a relationship by marriage.

Confused? Contact us and we'll advise!

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You can be an apprentice regardless of your age - provided you're employed for the purpose of learning a trade or profession, and are on a training programme leading to a qualification accredited by the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority or the Scottish Vocational Educational Council.

But you mustn't be paid more than £195 a week to qualify.

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Care workers

For the purposes of council tax, you would be considered a care worker provided you satisfy these conditions.

A carer worker must be:

  • Providing care or support through a connection with the Crown, a charity or a local authority
  • Employed for at least 24 hours a week
  • Paid no more than £44 per week and
  • Resident where the care is given or in premises which have been provided for the better performance of the work

To apply for a care workers discount, please contact Customer Services to request an application form.

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For the purposes of council tax, you would be considered a carer if you are:

  • Providing care for a person who is entitled to one of these benefits:
    • A higher rate of Attendance Allowance
    • The highest rate of the Care Component of Disability Living Allowance
    • An increased Disablement Pension
    • An increased Constant Attendance Allowance and
  • Resident in the same property as the person who is receiving care and
  • Providing care for at least 35 hours a week on average and
  • Not a spouse of the person being cared for or a parent caring for their child who is under 18 years of age

(For the purpose of Council Tax, couples living together are treated as married couples).

To apply for a carers discount, please complete an application form: Carers form (PDF Document, 0.11 Mb)

For more information relating to carers, visit our carers page.

Care leavers

If you are a care leaver between 18 and 25 years of age and are liable for council tax you might not have to pay council tax until you reach your 25th birthday. To apply for a care leavers discount, please visit our care leavers page.

Last updated: Fri 12 November, 2021 @ 14:15