Stop Press: Financial help with the bedroom tax – DHPs and moving house

STOP PRESS: Discretionary Housing Payments and Moving Costs – help is there!

Here is the latest information for people to get Discretionary Housing Payments to help with the bedroom tax and for financial help with moving house

Affected by Bedroom Tax? Not got financial help from the council (Discretionary Housing Payment?) Read this

If any of the following applies to you, you should be getting a Discretionary Housing Payment (DHP) and it should be extended until at least March 2015 (after that you may have to reapply):

  • If you are severely disabled and live in a significantly adapted property
  • If you need a room for children under a child access arrangement
  •  If you are a foster carer
  • If you are pregnant and will need the extra room once your baby is born
  • If you are approaching pension credit age

 

If you fall into one of these groups and are not getting DHP you should apply now. Your housing provider should help you, but if not you can go to any One Stop Shop for a form and help to fill it in. If you have difficulty, contact an advice service or get in touch with us.

If you do not fall into one of these groups but are getting DHP, the payment will probably end in July 2014. You will then need to re-apply. If your need is long term you could re-apply straight away. Get as much supporting evidence as you can, because there is no guarantee that your new claim will be successful.

 

If you do not fall into one of the above groups you may still be able to get DHP, and you should apply now. There are two main principles here:

  1. If your circumstances are unlikely to change (ie you will not be able to downsize or find paid work). For example, you may need an extra room for reasons to do with an illness or disability in the family, or because you have carer responsibilities. You may not be well enough to cope with a move, or have a need to stay close to friends and family or facilities close to where you live.
  2. If your circumstances will be changing soon so that you will no longer be affected by the bedroom tax – for example, if you have children who will soon be too old to have to share a room.

There could be many other grounds for applying, so don’t be put off from having a go. You can contact us for support and advice about this.
Could you be eligible for  help with moving costs?

 Maybe (you have to apply and be assessed), but only if you are a Council tenant with a “good tenancy record” (ie, not in arrears!), and you want to do a mutual exchange. You have to be one of the following:

  • In one-bedroomed accommodation and overcrowded
  • In two-bedroomed accommodation and overcrowded
  • In two-bedroomed accommodation and “under-occupying” (ie the Housing Benefit rules say you only need one room).
  • In a property with significant adaptations which you don’t need

The scheme is meant to cover the “reasonable costs” of the move (things like furniture removal, refitting your carpets, plumbing in appliances etc). However, it is unlikely to cover all your costs, and there is only £200 000 allocated to the scheme for all of Leeds. If you want to move, this scheme may help – get more info from your local housing office or by calling 0113 3760410. If you do not want to move, you should not under any circumstances be pressured to do so.

 We repeat: if you do not want to move you should not in any circumstances be pressured to do so
We are hearing a lot of stories of tenants being put under pressure to downsize – especially Housing Association tenants who may be occupying 2- or 3-bedroomed houses which are wanted for other families. These tenants are being told that they are likely to lose their DHPs and that in effect they will be forced to move.

We do not believe it is fair for tenants to be targeted with pressure to leave their homes just because they are on low incomes or unable to work, and therefore affected by the bedroom tax. Your housing provider should not be doing the government’s dirty work for them; they should:

  • help you to get a Discretionary Housing Payment if possible
  • see if there are grounds on which you can appeal against your Housing Benefit (bedroom tax) decision.

 

Many tenants will have grounds for appeal. See our advice sheet and appeals guidance – and contact us for more information. Phone 07504017322,  Email handsoffourhomes@gmail.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

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