New exemptions from the bedroom tax come into law

From 1st April 2017 the rules are changing to allow an additional bedroom for disabled children or non-dependent adults who require overnight care and for couples who are unable to share a bedroom for health reasons. Previously people in these circumstances could have been subject to the bedroom tax.

The ‘bedroom tax’ means that working age people who get help towards their rent through Housing Benefit can have the amount they receive restricted if they are considered to have too many bedrooms.

Ever since the policy was proposed Carers UK have campaigned for it to be scrapped. We’ve argued that these bedrooms are not spare but needed by families providing care.

In November the Supreme Court ruled in favour of two families; Carers UK member Paul Rutherford and his wife Susan care for their profoundly disabled 14-year-old grandson, Warren, and live in a specially adapted home, which has a room for a care worker to stay when providing overnight care. This had been deemed as a spare bedroom and, as a result, their housing benefit had been reduced.

The Court also ruled in favour of Jacqueline and Jayson Carmichael, who are unable to share a bedroom due to Jacqueline’s severe disability.

To reflect the Court’s ruling the Government has changed the law to create further exemptions for carers from the Bedroom Tax. This means that from the 1st of April:

  • A couple that could not share a room because of a disability – could now have an additional room. This is already allowed for disabled children that cannot share a bedroom with another child.
  • A child that is disabled – may need overnight care from someone other than the parent/s and may need an additional bedroom can have one.  This was previously allowed for a disabled adult, but not for children.

Although we are delighted that the law is being changed we are concerned about the way the change is being communicated to local authority staff in charge of Housing Benefit as the guidance given to them appears to attempt to  limit the kinds of health conditions that could result in an extra room.

Read more here: http://www.carersuk.org/news-and-campaigns/news/new-exemptions-from-the-bedroom-tax-come-into-law

Sharp rise in rejected claims for disability benefit

Labour raises alarm over number of people being turned down for personal independence payments.

This article titled “Sharp rise in rejected claims for disability benefit” was written by Rowena Mason Deputy political editor, for The Guardian on Sunday 16th April 2017 23.01 UTC

About 200,000 people face seeing their claims for a disability benefit to help with daily living and mobility refused this year, new figures obtained by Labour suggest.

Senior MPs have called on the government to explain an apparent spike in people being turned down for personal independence payment (PIP), which is a top-up benefit with two components related to the extra costs of daily living and limited mobility for disabled people.

Read more here:http://www.welfareweekly.com/sharp-rise-in-rejected-claims-for-disability-benefit/

Unconnected and out of work: the vicious circle of having no internet

Jobseekers must spend up to 35 hours a week on online applications, or risk losing benefits. When you can’t afford a computer, this is no mean feat

….In Wigan, Lisa Wright, 47, a former factory worker who has been unemployed for three years after the food processing plant she worked for closed, is doing a mandatory six-month community work programme. Alongside 30 hours of community service each week, she has to put in 10 hours on Universal Jobmatch.

“I can only get to a computer in Wigan library on Thursday evenings, Fridays and Saturday mornings,” she said. “There’s sometimes a queue so you can hang around for up to an hour. That’s the only time I can check my emails, which means if I get sent a reply to a job application on Monday I don’t see it for days. It feels like you’re constantly doing things wrong and struggling just to keep up. I met a kid last week doing 200 hours’ community service for robbing a shop. I’m doing 780 hours’ community service and my only crime is being unemployed.”….

read more here: https://amp.theguardian.com/society/2015/apr/09/unconnected-and-out-of-work-the-vicious-circle-of-having-no-internet

 

Charities warn high number of young women working in low-paid and insecure jobs having ‘terrible impact’ on their wellbeing

Young women ‘significantly more likely’ to report symptoms of anxiety and depression than young men

Young women are “significantly more likely” to report they are suffering from anxiety or depression than their male counterparts, statistics have revealed, raising concerns that a high number of young women working in low-paid and insecure jobs is leading to a severe decline in mental health.

Figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) showed worrying levels of mental illness in all young people, with one in five men and women aged 16-24 showing symptoms of anxiety and depression, an increase from 18 per cent in the period 2009 to 2010 to 21 per cent in 2013 to 2014.

Women stood out as being particularly affected, with the proportion of young women reporting anxiety and depression having climbed by four per cent within four years from 22 per cent in 2009 to 2010 to 26 per cent in 2013 to 2014. According to the latest statistics, one in four (25 per cent) young women reported such issues, compared with 15 per cent of young men.

read more: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/young-women-anxious-depression-mental-health-ons-young-womens-trust-a7683861.html

Disability rights have regressed in nine areas, says the Equality and Human Rights Commission

Disabled people’s rights have regressed in at least nine areas since the coalition government assumed power in 2010, according to a new report by the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC).

The report concludes that disabled people are still being treated as “second-class citizens” and that rights have regressed in many areas of society, while in others progress has stalled.

read more here: http://www.disabilitynewsservice.com/disability-rights-have-regressed-in-nine-areas-says-ehrc/