The government’s plan to change Housing Benefit has been in the news lately, with the so-called “bedroom tax” coming under fire from disabled rights groups. The change will see housing benefit reduced for social housing tenants of working-age that have one or more spare bedrooms in their property. Claimants will be assessed to see the number of bedrooms they “actually need”, with the change intended to reduce “under-occupancy”.
This has prompted concern, as the Department for Work and Pensions estimates that nearly two thirds of those that are likely to be affected report a disability. A coalition of charities, including Disability Rights UK has written to the Chancellor to express their concern at the impact of these changes, arguing that disabled people often need a bedroom of their own to sleep in, or a spare bedroom for a carer to stay in.
Additionally, it has been claimed that these “spare” bedrooms are often required to store bulky disability equipment, such as mobility aids. In response, Welfare Secretary Ian Duncan Smith has said that the government will re-examine the impact on disabled people.