Meg T on 11 June 2021

Today is all about a phone call out of the blue can leave you out of pocket. I am now liable to pay Spare Room Subsidy aka Bedroom Tax as my eldest son is in the RAF who is currently stationed away, lives in barracks and is not deemed worthy by the government to be deserving of a bedroom to come home to on leave. I have been liable since October last year. Initially I qualified for a Discretionary Housing Payment to cover the shortfall in my Housing Benefit for a total of 6 months. That extra help ended on the 1st of May. Being the dutiful social renter I am, I set up a standing order to pay the shortfall in Housing Benefit weekly - approximately £15. All has been going well, or so I thought. Today, the Housing Association telephoned to say I was in arrears to the tune of £116 and somehow the arrears on my account had somehow "fallen through the cracks". Thankfully I was able to pay it off in full by using some of my Personal Independence Payment that had been paid to me today, but it's a lot to shell out in one go. To be fair, I was given the option of paying it off in instalments, but to be honest when you are someone like me who has only recently paid off all there debts via a Debt Management Plan with StepChange, the debt charity - the thought of owing anything, particularly with the potential of losing your home if you don't resolve it (having been homeless with my children once before) is truly terrifying. Thank goodness for my PIP payment - it should be used on making my disabled life more tolerable but instead, because of living on a low income, becomes subsumed into my household budget. How is that right?

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