He gave up his full-time job to look after both his terminally-ill parents who died in the family home. Mr A now lives on his own in a three-bedroom tenancy. The changes to the benefit system from April 1 as part of the Government's Welfare Reform Programme will cut his housing benefit by 25%.
As the government claims that Mr A is under-occupying the tenancy by two spare rooms, he will have to pay £16.33 per week more towards his rent. He has had mental and physical health problems since losing his parents but the Government has told him he doesn't meet the criteria for Disability Living Allowance. His only income therefore is £71-a-week Employment Support Allowance.
Mr A has a mutual exchange application to be considered for a one or two-bedroom property but due to his mental-health problems, he does not want to move away from the area. This is restricting his areas of choice for rehousing and the time it will take for a suitable tenancy to become available. He does not have a suitable lodger to move in to the tenancy to help meet the rent shortfall.
l Ms C receives £81.81 weekly income support. From April 1 she will have a charge of £16.80 per week to pay for the two bedrooms she is accused of under-occupying. Ms C recently had an illness which required a stoma bag to be put in place. Ms C is currently struggling to get back on her feet after this operation. Due to this she hasn't been going out and currently relies on family to help her with shopping and housework. As Ms C is in the house all day, her heating costs have risen and she has seen an increase in the cost of her toiletries due to her operation and condition. Ms C will struggle to meet this charge and is not well enough to move to a smaller property at this time.
l Ms D is 60 and currently stays in a three-bedroom house. For over 50 years she has lived and brought her family up there. She struggles to maintain the house as she has a pension of £39.61 a week and £39.82 a week bereavement allowance. She will need to pay around £17 a week towards rent for so-called under-occupancy as well as £7.10 towards a housing benefit overpayment. She feels she has no option but to move as she can't pay the charge.
l Mr E is a single male in a three-bedroom property where he has stayed for over 30 years. Mr E is blind and feels comfortable in his house as he is familiar with his surroundings. To move house would be a huge upheaval for him. Mr E is on a low income, receiving £71 a week Employment Support Allowance (ESA). He will be liable for around £17 a week a rent. He has already cut back on his heating and food costs, which keep rising, and is very concerned as to how he will be able to afford the charge from April 1.
l Mr F is a 37-year-old man who lives in a three-bedroom property. His weekly rent charge for what is termed under-occupancy will be £16.90 per week. He has regular access to his three children who use the spare bedrooms in his home. He is on JSA of £71 per week but only receives £65 of this due to childcare costs. He cannot move house as his five-year-old son has autism and needs familiar surroundings or he becomes distressed. Mr F has only just paid off rent arrears which his ex-partner left him with. He is going to struggle to feed his children and keep the house warm when they come to stay.
l Mr G is a single male living in a three-bedroom property. He is on JSA, having been made redundant in December 2012, and has been struggling to find employment. Mr G is actively looking and hopeful he will find something soon. He is reluctant to move to a smaller property as it has been the family home for over 50 years. Mr G receives £71 in JSA each week and will now have a new weekly charge of £17.10 to pay for two bedrooms the government says he is under-occupying. His outgoings are reasonable and shops for the cheapest deals. He does not know how he will find the money to cover his under occupancy charge.
l Mr H moved into his tenancy with his wife and three daughters 35 years ago when the property was first built. Over the years, his three daughters have moved out and he lost his wife two years ago. He suffered a bad injury at work last year which resulted in his legs and hips being damaged and he now has to use a wheelchair.
As a result of losing his wife and having to give up work, Mr H has mental-health problems and is being supported by a community psychiatric nurse (CPN). The tenancy has been adapted to suit his disability and his daughters provide the care and attention that he needs.
Mr H is in receipt of Income Support and Disability Living Allowance and does not want to move from the tenancy as his daughters live close by, which was deliberate to allow them to provide around-the-clock care. Mr H's CPN believes a move to a smaller, unadapted property possibly in another area would be detrimental to his mental health.
As Mr H is now living on his own in a three-bedroom tenancy, he will be deemed an under-occupier due to two spare rooms and will have to start paying an extra weekly charge of £16.80 towards his rent. A large amount of Mr H's income goes towards fuel costs as his daughters assist him with weekly hospital and doctors' appointments which he must attend to try to improve his health and disability.
Mr H has very little money left at the end of each week and will therefore find it very hard to try to find the money to meet the extra charge.
l Mr B is a single male in a three-bedroom property. He is on Jobseeker's Allowance (JSA), although his current income is only £107 per fortnight, as he has several deductions for loans, council tax arrears and other liabilities. He is unsure how he will be able to find the money to pay extra towards his rent.
Case studies compiled by Cosla
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