A third of disabled people are refused DHP
- 20 Dec
In some areas less than 14% of disabled applicants are given help from a fund intended to ease the introduction of bedroom tax.
A third of disabled people applying for support from a government fund, designed to give temporary financial support to cope with the cuts to their benefits due to bedroom tax, have had their application refused. However ministers have rejected arguments that the bedroom tax discriminates against disabled people due to the availability of discretionary housing payment to vulnerable households.
A survey by the National Housing Federation has found that 29% of disabled people who were affected by the bedroom tax were turned down for help in the first six months from the start of bedroom tax. In some councils less than three in ten disable applicants were successful, reports the Guardian.
Another set of research has found that disabled people refused DHP had to cut back on the amount spent on living essentials like food, utility bills and transport in order to pay the difference bedroom tax has created.
Although there is a fund of £25m to help affected tenants who live in properties adapted for their disabilities, only 14% of disabled applicants got DHP help in one council in Kent, and less than 30% of applicants were successful in the North East.
It is estimated that 420,000 disabled people are affected by bedroom tax.
The National Housing Federation chief executive, David Orr, said: "Whenever ministers are challenged on the bedroom tax, they tell us vulnerable people are not at risk because of these discretionary housing payments. But many disabled people and vulnerable families are facing miserable odds of getting help. Even those who are lucky enough to get support will have to reapply time and time again, each time facing the stress and worry that the funds will be withdrawn, while councils are being inundated with applications."
A spokesperson for the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) said: "We more than tripled the money we give to local authorities to £190m this year to ensure that help was available to those who need it most. The cash was given to local authorities to distribute because they deal with their customers on a day-to-day basis and are best placed to see to it that the money reaches those who have the greatest need. We will continue to monitor progress closely while our reforms bed down."
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