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Stairlift user wins appeal against bedroom tax

1st November 2013

This news article is from Handicare UK. Articles that appear on this website are for information purposes only.

A stairlift user has won an appeal against the so-called 'bedroom tax', otherwise known as the under occupancy charge. Following on from this recent article that revealed how South Tyneside Council were finding the new tax problematic for members of their community looking for adapted housing, this recent appeal also suggests that the new reform is in need of revision.

The disabled woman in question, who has decided to remain anonymous, is living in the Teesside area in a three-bedroom home that she shares with her husband. Due to a number of complex health conditions, she requires the use of a wheelchair and stairlift and needs to sleep in a separate bedroom from her husband. The council cut her housing benefit on the grounds that the couple did not need all of the bedrooms in their home; however, this did not take into account the fact that the couple require two bedrooms for their basic needs, leaving them with only one free bedroom.

After a housing benefit tribunal considered the case, it was found that the council had not taken into account the woman's "reasonable requirements" and the couple have since had their benefit entitlement reduced by the lower rate of 14 per cent that is applicable to council homes with one spare bedroom. This is in comparison to the 25 per cent reduction that they were previously struggling with.

Although the couple’s housing benefit payment has still been lowered, it is now at least affordable for them to stay in the home that has all the mobility aids and adaptations needed for the woman to live independently. The success of this appeal is good news for the couple and for others who find themselves in a similar situation; despite the Department for Work and Pensions insisting that the ruling does not set a precedent for other appeals, it does suggest that councils can be persuaded to take into account the individual situations that people living in adapted housing face.

Image Credit: Hayes MKII (flickr.com)