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Are Changes in Benefits Putting Disabled People into Debt?

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It was recently reported that the “Bedroom Tax” is putting more and more people into debt, but further reports indicate that it is the disabled that are most at risk. The removal of the “spare room subsidy” means that many people in social housing are required to either move to a smaller property, or face a minimum 14% reduction in their benefits.

MPs want Benefits Policies Changed

The Work and Pensions Committee urges the government to rethink the current system as changes in benefits are causing “hardship and distress” to disabled people all over Britain. The Committee calls for people who have had their houses adapted due to their disability to be exempt from the benefit cuts. Labour MP, Dame Anne Begg points out that many people with disabilities are unable to work to cover the shortfall in rent caused by the benefit cuts, and they may also find it difficult to physically move into a smaller property.

Government Defend Reforms

A spokesperson for the Department of Work and Pensions defends the decision to cut benefits by stating, “Our reforms are necessary to restore fairness to the system and make a better use of social housing. Unreformed, the housing benefit bill would have grown to £26bn in 2013-14.” They go on to say,”We have given councils £345m since reforms came in last year to support vulnerable groups, especially disabled people.”

Room for Improvement

Labour’s shadow work and pensions secretary, Rachel Reeves, believes exemptions should be made for those that need extra space to store equipment or other paraphernalia associated with their disability. According to reports, of those experiencing the changes in benefits, just 6% have moved to smaller accommodation, freeing up homes for larger families.

Current Exemptions

Although siblings of the same gender, under the age of ten are expected to share a room, disabled children are permitted to have a separate bedroom. If a disabled tenant requires overnight care from a non-resident carer, then an extra room is allowed.

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About Denise Morgan

About Denise Morgan

Denise has five years' experience writing for various web-based companies. During this time she has also contributed to magazine articles and brochures. In addition to writing, Denise is a gigging singer/songwriter and is proud to have featured on the first series of BBC One's The Voice UK, having been selected by the great Sir Tom Jones. Denise is mother to the most talented and ridiculously intelligent two year old that has ever been and ever will be (until she creates another one that is). This kind of hyperbole is restricted only to her progeny and is not a reflection of her usual writing styles... Denise and her son live in Manchester along with their five cats - yes that's right, five.

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