Campaigner argues bedroom tax victimises patients with mental health problems

  • A mental health campaigner has said that the government's bedroom tax is victimising patients with mental health problems./images/rent_due.jpg

    Pam Jenkinson, president of Wokingham Mental Health Association in Berkshire, is currently disputing rules that deny people with mental health problems the space that allows a carer to stay with them overnight.

    Last week Mrs Jenkinson represented a woman suffering from depression, anxiety and anorexia at an unsuccessful appeal against the bedroom tax last week, reports 24dash. 

    The social housing tenant has fallen into arrears by £845 as she was deemed by the local authority to be under-occupying her two-bedroom flat. If she had qualified for the higher rate of disability living allowance she would have been exempt for the bedroom tax. However, she only qualified for the middle rate of DLA and consequently, she was hit with the tax and lost 14% of her weekly housing benefit.

    Mrs Jenkinson said: "I believe a person qualifying for the high rate does not require a second bedroom where their carer can sleep overnight, because a person needing a lot of care has to have a waking carer in the same room in order to receive the frequent care necessary. Such people may well require extra space in which to store oxygen cylinders, wheelchairs, dialysis equipment but it is actually people like this lady who need a second bedroom so they can get day care and night care, from time to time, as needed. The mentally ill do not slot into the simplistic pattern of physical handicap. Those who make the rules don't seem to have a clue about mental illness, although it is so terribly common. It is so easy to make a ruling if someone is in a wheelchair because you can see the disability."

    Mrs Jenkinson is currently applying for the higher rate of DLA for the bedroom tax victim.

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