Use of term "severe mental impairment" by councils — Scope | Disability forum
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Use of term "severe mental impairment" by councils

salsacat Member Posts: 2 Connected
Hello - I was shocked to receive a letter from my council which said to claim the 25% council tax discount my son, who has a learning disability, needs to provide evidence of his PIP award but also we would have to go to our GP to get him to sign a statement stating that my son has a "severe mental impairment".  Does anyone else think this is discriminatory?  Firstly disabled people have to go through a very detailed and at times upsetting assessment to even qualify for PIP, which as we know is not awarded lightly.  So surely the fact someone has been awarded PIP should be sufficient evidence for local councils to then award the 25% discount?  To then expect someone who has been given labels throughout their life, to have to make an appointment to see their GP (who often has had minimal contact with them over the years as with our GP), to ask them to make a judgement on their mental capacity by signing a statement to say that they have a "severe mental impairment" I think is just awful and surely discriminatory?  I have raised this with my local disability charity but have looked on other council websites and it seems to be a government directive that this terminology is used and that the double evidence is needed.  In all the assessments and support my son has received over the years I have never heard anyone refer to him as having a "severe mental impairment".  He has a learning disability which impacts on his day-to-day abilities.  Why should anyone with a disability be labelled by such negative terminology and be expected to provide two pieces of evidence when benefits awards should be evidence enough?  I would be interested to hear if anyone else has come across this and feels as I do that it is another way to discriminate and prevent disabled people from claiming any kind of support they are entitled to.  I won't put my son through the demoralising experience of seeing a GP who does not know him at all but is expected to sign a statement saying he has a "severe mental impairment"!


  • Antonia_Alumni
    Antonia_Alumni Scope alumni Posts: 1,781 Pioneering
    Hi @salsacat welcome to the community. Thank you for sharing this with us. I can understand why you would think it is discriminatory, this is a common terminology across government sources, it's broad and not very pleasant. You may be able to get a statement or a signed certificate from a Doctor/Specialist instead of your GP and maybe they will be able to assist you.

  • forgoodnesssake
    forgoodnesssake Member Posts: 406 Pioneering
    That sounds odd...not least because the council tax reduction (here certainly) is based on having adaptations or more rooms because of disability needs, which basically means equipment etc.  So it is the physical side of disability that is the issue..  And if a person needs a doctor to say that they have a "severe mental impairment" in order to qualify then an awful lot of significantly physically (not cognitively) disabled poeple woudl not be eligible...even if they needed all sorts of bulky equipment .  We get it and my son does not have a learning disability (better or at least more current terminolgy than what they are using!)


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