Government confirms no plans to change under occupation rules to help those with disabilities

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions whether he plans to adjust the rules on the under-occupancy penalty to take account of the circumstances of disabled persons. [154319]

Steve Webb: At present there are no plans to adjust the rules relating to the removal of the spare room subsidy.

Concerns relating to disabled tenants, including those whose accommodation has been adapted for their needs has been taken into account. Applying a blanket exemption however is not the most effective or affordable approach as this would not take account of a person's circumstances.

Accordingly, discretionary housing payments are a far better way of dealing with this as it is more flexible and Local decision makers are better placed to make informed judgements about relative priorities and needs and to target limited resources more effectively.

An extra £25 million has been allocated to the £20 million baseline discretionary housing payment funding to specifically help those who live in specially adapted homes. The baseline funding is however available for other priority groups including those with long-term medical conditions that may create difficulties for those who would normally be expected to share a bedroom.

People living in social housing will be able to claim housing benefit for an extra bedroom if their disabilities are such that they require a non-resident carer (or team of carers) to stay overnight. This measure will however be monitored and evaluated over a two-year period which commenced in April this year. Initial findings will be available in 2014 and the final report in late 2015. 


Source: Hansard 14 May 2013