Councils are failing to prioritise disabled tenants affected by the bedroom tax
- 11 Feb
A study claims that councils are ignoring government guidelines and are failing to prioritise disabled people for payments that help them cope with the bedroom tax.
Freedom of information requests issued by Papworth Trust have revealed that 67% of applications from non-disabled people are successful when applying for discretionary housing payment, however only 59% of applications from disabled people are, reports Inside Housing.
The charity's strategy director, David Martin, has said that councils were ignoring government guidance by not taking disability living allowance into account when means testing DHP. This has meant that disabled people were appearing to have higher incomes than those who did not have a disability.
In the discretionary housing payments guidance manual, the government states: ‘You [the council] may decide to disregard income from disability-related benefits as they are intended to be used to help pay for the extra costs of disability. Where the claimant or someone in their household has a disability which requires them to have a larger property than would usually be the case for the size of their household due to, for example, a medical condition that might mean they are unable to share a bedroom.'
The charity's research is ongoing and shows that almost 90% of disabled people who are refused DHP have to cut back on essentials such as food and drink or household bills.
Mr Martin said: "This policy is penalising disabled people living in adapted homes. We are calling on the government to immediately ban councils from taking disability living allowance into account when assessing income, as they have already done for other mean- tested benefits such as housing benefit."
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