Disabled Daventry man hit by ‘bedroom tax’

Marie & Stephen Smith, have been told they need to pay bedroom tax.
Marie & Stephen Smith, have been told they need to pay bedroom tax.

A severely disabled Daventry man who relies on daily dialysis to stay alive, has been told he will have to pay the so-called ‘bedroom tax’.

Stephen Smith, who lives in a two-bedroom bungalow on The Severn with his wife Marie, is to get a cut in benefits of £13 a week because he is ‘under occupying’ his home.

He said: “I have diabetes, which has left me blind, with kidney failure and a range of other problems. I had to give up work and my wife had to become my carer and stop working too. We got a two-bedroom house with DDH, specifically because we needed the extra room to house all my medical equipment.

“I have to go on dialysis for three or four hours every day. The ‘extra bedroom’ has been turned into a medical room with special flooring and everything.

“Thirteen pounds doesn’t sound a lot, but when you’re on a fixed income with no other choice, it is.”

Tony Gillet, resources manager at Daventry District Council, said: “We do not discuss individual cases, however I can confirm that all local authorities have a Discretionary Housing Payment annual grant to top-up housing benefit, which is awarded on a case-by-case basis.

“People living with disability are not exempt from the rules which reduce people’s housing benefit if they are deemed to have a spare room, and in those circumstances Daventry District Council can award a top-up but it needs to be applied for.

“The Discretionary Housing Payment grant is awarded by the Government and is limited so, due to high demand, following the benefit changes it is likely all funds will be used up before the end of the financial year.”