Victory for disabled on housing benefit


5:08 pm - May 28th 2012

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contribution by Richard Shrubb

The Equality and Human Rights Commission has won a small victory for Housing Benefit claimants at the Supreme Court.

The Commission, which has had severe cutbacks by the current government, has tamed one of the Coalition’s key policies in reducing Welfare spending.

In Burnip vs Birmingham City Council the Court ruled that the severely disabled plaintiff be given Housing Benefit for an extra room, needed for his carers to sleep in overnight.

Under the current rules, Housing Benefit recipients are allowed one bedroom per adult or couple (the rules differ for families).

Single people and couples with more than one bedroom had to find the money to pay for this out of the rest of their income.

Many were facing eviction and hardship due to this situation but the clarification of the rules mean that local authorities must now pay for extra rooms as required by that person’s disability.

In a press release, John Wadham, General Counsel for the EHRC said, “Our intervention in the Burnip case has helped to ensure that all disabled people claiming housing benefit do not face indirect discrimination.

If it was not for the Human Rights Act, disabled people may be more likely fall into rent arrears because they cannot afford the home that meets their needs and then face eviction.”

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Reader comments


This is simply misleading. There has always been provision to allow an extra room since the inception of Local Housing Allowance. This case is isolated. Even in the event is is determined that the claimant does not qualify for an extra room under LHA, if this decision results in hardship a claimant is able to apply for a Discretionary Housing Payment to assist towards any financial shortfall.

2. Linda Burnip

both are wrong. LHA did not originally include an additional bedroom for a non-resident carer. Osborne introduced that in the June 2010 budget, but it didn’t extend to parents looking after disabled children who needed an extra room.
Also the significant bit of this judgement is that the benefit system generally can’t discriminate against disabled people who might have extra needs over and above what is provided for a non-disabled person.

The introduction of LHA was not a policy of the current government. It was introduced, in the offending form, by the last government which was not part of the current cuts.

However reducing all levels of LHA so that in only covers an amount of rent at approximately social housing levels can be credited to this lot, as can trying to pass it off dishonestly as the ‘cap’, which is something which will affect almost nobody.


Reactions: Twitter, blogs
  1. Samsara Atman

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  2. Clive Burgess

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  4. Rashmi

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  5. Amanda Wilkinson

    “@PsychoticLynx:Victory 4 #disabled on #housing #benefit http://t.co/DHvmEj4o” Most vulnerable having 2 fight 4 their basic needs #toryfail

  6. Sibel Jann

    RT @legalaware: RT @sunny_hundal: Human rights victory for disabled people on housing benefit http://t.co/j6bNMjpS

  7. Deborah Ruston

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  9. Inéz Collier

    RT @libcon: Victory for disabled on housing benefit http://t.co/dbYQ5BLr Important victory for disabled pople who need extra room for carer

  10. Legal Aware

    RT @legalaware: RT @sunny_hundal: Human rights victory for disabled people on housing benefit http://t.co/j6bNMjpS

  11. Rachael Chrisp

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  12. IpswichCAB

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  13. Alex Braithwaite

    Victory for disabled on housing benefit | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/Pk3JIcMV via @libcon

  14. Natalie Meadows

    Victory for disabled on housing benefit | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/0CIVGyUl

  15. Noxi

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  16. Janet Graham

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    RT @libcon: Victory for disabled on housing benefit http://t.co/eNDDdrHh

  18. Natalie Meadows

    Victory for disabled on housing benefit | Liberal Conspiracy by Richard Shrubb http://t.co/0CIVGyUl

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  23. Victory for disabled on housing benefit | Liberal Conspiracy « Natalie Meadows' Blog

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