Appeal against the bedroom tax!

 

DISCRETIONARY HOUSING PAYMENTS

 

 

Everyone hit by the Bedroom Tax should apply for a Discretionary Housing Payment – if awarded this tops up your Housing Benefit.  It is normally reviewed regularly.  The application form can be downloaded from the url below in the Council site or ask for one at the local council office.

http://www.edinburgh.gov.uk/downloads/file/3839/discretionary_housing_payments_form

Don’t be put off making a DHP application.  As the housing charity Shelter write:

“Who can get a discretionary housing payment?  Anyone can get a discretionary housing payment. It's up to your housing benefit department to decide who should be given the payments.”

Some tips for filling in the DHP form.  

Write down as much info as possible.  If possible get letters of support, eg from your GP, CPN, consultant, any medical specialist, any other professional eg social worker.  If you are not used to filling in forms its good to get someone whose good at that, or a good advice/ support agency, to help.

When you submit the form, either

– deliver it personally, and make sure you get a receipt, or

- post it by the “signed for” service, about £1.50 extra, keep the receipt, checking online its been picked up

– or do it by e mail, making sure it is acknowledged with a “received” e mail

Some pointers on the questions in the form…

2. Why did you move to this address?

Explain fully, making it clear that you were not given the choice of somewhere with less bedrooms.

3. What, if anything, makes this address especially suitable for you?

If you have any health problems explain why your home and/ or its location is especially suitable.   Eg if it has been adapted for your disabilities.  Or, if you have mental health issues, then you need a familiar environment and/or an environment where you have a network of friends, family, carers - this could equally apply if you have physical health problems.

If you have school age children explain how it would be really disruptive to their education if you had to move to another area.  Explain if a move would disrupt child care arrangements.

4. Please tell me about any health problems that you or any member of your family might have.

It is important to answer this very fully, and it is very important to get letters from your GP or other medical professionals to back you up.  However don’t delay putting in the form to wait for letters – you can put the form in, indicating that letters will follow, then submit them when you have them.

DHP should be available for couples with long term medical condition or disability that create difficulties in sharing a bedroom, according to the government, also for people whose homes have had significant disability adaptations http://www.disabilityrightsuk.org/bedroom-tax

6. Do you have any relatives or friends who could help you?  Answer NO.

Income/ expenditure form - They ask you to list all income and expenditure.

Clearly it is important to show that you have no spare money, ie your expenditure is equal to, or slightly greater than, your income.

If you are too ill to cook, then you will have to buy more expensive take-aways.  If you are too ill to get the bus, you will have to pay for regular taxis.  If you are sick/ have disabilities, you will have to spend a lot of time indoors and your heating bills will probably be very high, especially if your illness means you need warmth.  Remember to list all debts you are paying back.

7.If you have any other circumstances you would like us to take into account please tell us.

If you are nearing the exemption age of 61 years and five months then explain that.

If you were homeless before getting your home, explain fully, also if you were homeless in the past.

These are just two examples, put down what is relevant to your circumstances.

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EDINBURGH COALITION AGAINST POVERTY is based at the Autonomous Centre of Edinburgh (ACE), an open campaign space & infoshop providing resources and solidarity. Resources available include free computer/internet access, cheap copying, free leaflets, books, pamphlets and mags for sale, and a library. Every Tuesday from 12 to 3pm support and solidarity is available for benefits, debt hassles, housing and other problems. Please contact us at Edinburgh Coalition Against Poverty c/o ACE, 17 West Montgomery Place, Edinburgh EH7 5HA, 0131 557 6242 or ecap@lists.riseup.net. We invite you to join our solidarity phone tree and get involved. ACE is also open at other times for particular events (but the support and solidarity sessions are only on Tuesday).