Meg T on 08 November 2020

ow that my middle son has moved out and drove somewhat of a cloud, I informed my local council. I live in a housing association property and am currently in receipt of full housing benefit. However, because my son has moved out I have been informed that I am now liable to pay spare room subsidy a.k.a. bedroom tax. This is in spite of having an older son in the RAF who currently lives in barracks up at his posting in Scotland and needs a room to stay in when he comes home on leave. My housing benefit has consequently been reduced by £15 per week. I appealed the decision and asked for a reconsideration in light of my son being in the RAF. However the local council is still deem his barracks as a permanent home which I find ridiculous. That said my income support officer at the housing association was very kind and helped me to apply for discretionary housing payment - a temporary stay on charges for six months. Thankfully I qualified for it, but in my opinion having a son in the Armed Forces who has yet to purchase a home of his own thus needs a room at my house to come home on leave to, I shouldn't have had to apply in the first place. Not only that the letter I received from the council was quite derogatory in its tone and appeared to give the impression that anyone needing to apply was a scrounger for want of a better word and I quote: "Discretionary housing payments are not normally made for long periods of time so I would expect you to use the time we have giving you the award over to take steps to reduce your reliance on the scheme for example by finding a property that is most suitable for your financial situation, reducing your expenditure or increasing your income". This is a slap in the face to someone whose family has been torn apart by Domestic Violence, is disabled, has chronic depression, cannot work full time as I used to and have been doing my utmost to get my finances for the past three years via a debt charity back on track. Not only that, I'm not entirely convinced that there will be a suitable property available for me in my current condition given that I need a bungalow, I've already had some adaptations made to my home and am on the waiting list for an assessment for a disabled facilities grant to make my home more accessible than what it is currently so I can maintain my independence. I've done my time in a slummy skyrise flat - no way will I go back in one of them again. I feel extremely angered by it all.

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