A CARDENDEN woman has issued a warning to fellow Central Fifers after losing out on what she believes is thousands of pounds paid in council tax payments.

Morag Allan found out at the beginning of lockdown that because she was claiming disabled living allowance, she was entitled to a reduction in her council tax – despite being told nearly a decade ago that she was not.

Back in 2011, following the death of her husband, Mrs Allan, of Gammie Place, said she had contacted the local authority and asked if she was entitled to a discount.

However, she said she was told that she was 30p over the threshold of household income because of her daughter's earnings.

She was shocked to be told by another council employee in 2019 that because of the DLA benefits she was on, she was entitled to reduced payments.

"My daughter was made redundant the day before furlough," she explained. "I was to pay the lump sum in July and I phoned up and asked if I was entitled to a council tax rebate. The woman I spoke to on the phone said 'Mrs Allan, you shouldn't be paying be paying council tax in full because of your DLA.

"She said you were told in 2010 that you were not entitled to it because of your daughter's wage. She said that doesn't come into the equation. All these years I have paid thousands of pounds of council tax when I should not have had to.

"I have been fighting this for two years. During the last year, I had to phone up about something and again I was told you shouldn't be getting a council tax reduction because of your daughter and had to tell her to go back to her supervisor and she came back and apologised and said you are right."

Mrs Allan – who is now paying just over £260 a year compared to her previous bill amount of around £1,550 – has taken legal advice, made a complaint to the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman and attempted to get answers from the Scottish Government.

All avenues have failed although she did received six months' of back payments however has been told that this is the furthest back any repayment can go.

"My point is, if they are doing that to me, how many other people out there that are on DLA are paying full council tax not knowing they are entitled to a huge discount?" she added.

"I have been told from everyone there is nothing they can do. Fife Council are sticking their heels in and are not willing to pay the bill.

"If it was the other way, I would have to pay it back."

Responding to the claims, Fife Council Revenues Team Manager, Kerry Hutchison, said: “Our records show that Mrs Allan was told she wouldn’t qualify for a 25 per cent sole occupancy discount because her daughter was living with her.

"There are no notes in our records to advise that she was told that she wouldn’t qualify for means tested Council Tax Reduction and an application form was sent out to her on the 13.01.11. However, we never received the completed form back from her.

“All staff receive in-house training, have a guidance manual to refer to and receive regular updates and training as legislation changes.

“Council Tax Reduction regulations which are set by the Scottish Government, only allow us to backdate claims for a maximum period of six months and in Mrs Allan’s case we backdated her claim for the maximum period.

“Mrs Allan took her case to the Scottish Public Service Ombudsman (SPSO) and the Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service, but the decision remained unchanged."