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    Over 120 families in Westminster could receive refunds of over £700 each after finding themselves to be exempt from paying the bedroom tax.

    The DWP is currently changing the regulations so that the oversight in the bedroom tax policy is amended. This oversight sees people who have been in continuous receipt of housing benefit since January 1st 1996 should not be paying. Money Notes 2

    It has been confirmed by Westminster Council that there are 124 households in the borough who qualify for this exemption, reports 24dash.

    In a note to councillors, officers said: “In January 2014, the DWP (Department of Work and Pensions) announced that tenants whose tenancy commenced before 1st January 1996 and have received HB continuously should not be affected by the under occupation cap. Analysis confirms that there are 124 under occupation cap cases that qualify for the “1996” exemption. The benefits team are now organising their re-assessment.”

    Currently there are 382 families in council flats who are hit by the bedroom tax and the council has only moved 48 families into smaller properties within the nine months between April and December last year.

    The DWP have said that nationally they estimate less than 5,000 people are affected, however housing benefit experts have questioned these estimations as they believe the figure to be closer to 40,000.

    Councillor Paul Dimoldenberg, leader of the Labour Group, said: “This huge government bungle has cost 124 of the most vulnerable families in Westminster over £700 each, some of whom are now in rent arrears or have had to cut down on essentials in order to pay the new tax. The bedroom tax has caused nothing but misery and the sooner it is scrapped the better.”

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    February 05, 2014 by Laura Matthews Categories: Housing And Benefits

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