Couple in adapted home hit by ‘bedroom tax’ rules

Peter and Jacqueline Wood in their specially adapted bedroom.
Peter and Jacqueline Wood in their specially adapted bedroom.

A couple whose home was adapted for the wife’s disabilities say they are being hit by ‘bedroom tax’ yet there is nowhere smaller to move to.

Peter and Jacqueline Wood moved into their Ixworth home with three daughters in 1999 after social services spent £36,000 adapting it.

Mrs Wood has multiple sclerosis, osteoporosis and diabetes, so it has had doors widened and an extension with a large, specially equipped bedroom. Mr Wood said a smaller home would be fine but no adapted ones are available.

Mr Wood says that because two daughters have left home, they lost £12 benefits under the spare room rules.

But he added: “When I told them about the extension, they didn’t know. Then they said it wasn’t an adaptation, it was a four-bedroom house.”

That doubled ‘bedroom tax’ and Mr Wood said: “We couldn’t afford that so now they’re after us for back rent.

“We’ve applied for discretionary housing but that was five or six weeks ago and they said it takes 10 weeks.”

Philip Sullivan, Havebury’s operations director said: “Havebury offered Mr Wood appropriate advice including assistance in applying for discretionary housing payments before the changes came into effect. Havebury will continue to provide advice and support and seek suitable alternative accommodation.”

Anglia Revenues Partnership said most Discretionary Housing Benefit claims are dealt with in under six weeks.