What does the bedroom tax mean for the disabled or elderly
For many of those who try to survive on state benefits, the failure of recent High Court Appeal to urge the government to change their stance on the bedroom tax and the rights of the vulnerable will mean a huge change in their lifestyle.
Campaigners had argued that the hated bedroom tax should not apply to the disabled, as the needs of this group of people should exempt them from the new law. The Daily Mirror has reported that over two thirds of the 6660,000 households affected by the tax comprise disabled family members.
Spare bedrooms are often used for essential equipment and some families are unable to store this in the user’s bedroom. One way to help hard-pressed vulnerable people is to investigate a used stairlifts scheme. This idea could alleviate some of the financial strain faced by the disabled and can also ensure that all the bedrooms in the house can be accessed.
The government has introduced an extra £25 million “to help disabled people who live in adapted properties to stay in their own homes”.
The bedroom tax relates to any bedrooms that remain unused where the occupier lives in social housing and therefore will not be covered by State housing benefit.
Currently, pensioners are not affected by this policy but any new claimants will have to abide by the law. The new law means this group of people will face a 14% increase in their rent at a time when benefits are diminishing rather than increasing, and there is a genuine fear that families could end up on the street.
The housing charity, Shelter, has labelled this ruling “devastating news” before commenting that homelessness would be a real risk of the outcome. The High Court Judgement hasn’t ended the matter and those who brought the original case have vowed to appeal the judges’ decision.
Already many of the disabled are living in insecurity and fear as a result of the DWP’s disability reassessment tests which have led to sweeping changes in their benefits.
The government itself is unsure of the outcome of its Welfare Reforms, in a recent paper, the working party concluded that the potential impact of further changes to welfare and support programmes for the disabled remained unclear.