Statistics revealed recently by leading disability charity Papworth Trust confirm that almost 90 percent of disabled people refused DHP (Discretionary Housing Payments) are cutting back on essentials such as food and household bills.
Discretionary Housing Payments are additional funding granted to individuals by the council. They were supposed to assist those struggling most with the bedroom tax.
The payments are of course discretionary and it is a matter for each council who they grant the limited funding to. It seems the issue is that a number of councils are choosing to take payments of Disability Living Allowance into account when assessing the finances of the applicants. Applications from non-disabled people are 8% more likely to be successful than applications from disabled people.
The Government guidance states: ‘You [the council] may decide to disregard income from disability-related benefits as they are intended to be used to help pay for the extra costs of disability.
‘Where the claimant or someone in their household has a disability which requires them to have a larger property than would usually be the case for the size of their household due to, for example, a medical condition that might mean they are unable to share a bedroom.’
Each council has a tough decision to make - which household should face potential eviction and which deserves to be helped? Not a decision that most would want to make.
I would advise any tenant who has received a notice from their landlord to seek specialist legal advice.
By Joanne Ellis, housing law partner
Our nationally recognised team of housing law solicitors deals with all aspects of housing law and related disputes. For advice contact us on 0175 321 6399.