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Disabled Veteran and Bedroom Tax - Sorted

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Hi Caggers

 

Just after your thoughts on this after a very long discussion with a disabled veteran and the issues he is experiencing due to this:

 

Disabled Veteran is in social housing and at his persent property has two bedroom but only veteran living in property.

 

Now the sticking point:

 

Previously the Disabled Veteran was placed in a High rise some floors up in a one bedroom. ( not the housings fault at all as it was the only property that at that time was available and sort of suitable but housing adapted)

 

His condition got worse was under the hospital consultant that stated in letter to housing at that time that veteran needed to be moved for medical reason due to his condition to a ground floor property that must have a minimum of 2 bedroom as the extra bedroom was required for the veterans physiotherapy equipment and in case a friend/relative/carer needed to stay over.

 

Veteran went through the housing medical process with letters from consultant and was moved to his present property which is ground floor and 2 bedrooms and has been there for a few years now.

 

Now due to these stupid welfare reform he has recently recieved documentation from the local authority as per the housing benefit changes due to bedroom tax stating as he is in 2 bedroom and only entitled to one bedroom his benefit would now be reduced by 14% from April 2013.

 

I was absolutetly disgusted at this as the veteran was moved for medical reasons to the property he is presently in and also it was not through him putting in a transfer request but medical reasons.

 

Now the big problem not one welfare officer/CAB/Free Legal Aid Centres could give him any advice why as there is not one piece of advice anywhere not even on the Service Personel and Veteran Agencies website on how these changes will impact veterans and I am horrified at this.

 

If you look at the Veterans Agency website there is no information so how are veterans meant to prepare and those veterans that arent capable of doing this themselves meant to be able to prepare with absolutely no information of how there entitlement/allowances/pensions may be affected

 

Now the veteran has a copy of the letters from his consultant stating about the move for medical reason and has also asked the housing who are happy to provide to confirm that he was moved for medical reason but he think when he sends these in in wont make a difference and that is also my concern that the local authority will stick by it original letter.

 

Any advice from you fellow cagger would be gratefully appreciated on how to approach this THANKS

Edited by stu007

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I cannot give any advice by PM - If you provide a link to your Thread then I will be happy to offer advice there.

I advise to the best of my ability, but I am not a qualified professional, benefits lawyer nor Welfare Rights Adviser.

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There are no specific rules about the bedroom tax when it comes to veterans - they're subject to the same rules as anyone else. The rules unfortunately include disabled people living in specially built or adapted housing, but an exception is allowed for those who need a non-resident overnight carer. A non-resident overnight carer is defined something like this:

 

this applies if tenant or partner has a need for regular overnight carers, has an

arrangement in place and gets either DLA (Disability Living Allowance) at highest

or middle rate of care component OR can show that there is a need for this

overnight care if tenant or partner don’t get DLA.

 

As to the scarcity of information on this, believe me, it's not just confined to veterans - nobody really seems to know how this will affect folks in the real world. This is possibly one of the government's worst thought out social security policies, and for that title it has stiff competition. But we do have people on the forum who know about military and veterans' matters, and for that reason I'm going to move this post over to our Armed Forces forum to see if those guys can offer any additional input or are aware of any other sources of support and advice that could be available.


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Hi antone

 

Many thanks for your input

 

My Apologises for posting in incorrect forum and thanks for moving to other forum much appreciated.


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Oh, you didn't post on an incorrect forum, the Armed Forces forum is new. The Benefits forum would normally be the correct one, but it may be that someone who knows about military matters may be aware of other sources of advice and help.

 

If not, we can move it back, but let's see how it goes here.


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SPVA's website isn't always particularly helpful - but have you tried calling their helpline? There are also SPVA Welfare Officers who can visit, assess and then deal with issues where necessary. Is his disability related to service?

 

 

Veterans helpline: 0800 169 2277 I've tried to post the details of the regional Welfare Offices, but am having a problem doing it from this computer.However, the helpline can provide details of the nearest office.

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Hi ScarletPimpernel

 

Thanks for asking and that is the classic question and yes the veteran has been trying to contact veterans agency for months and i do mean months but the phone line is inundated with calls even says on the website (I checked this myself last nite and it is still displaying the same problem with calls so took another screenshot) and even emailed during that period numerous times with no response at all.

 

Last week he eventually got through to veterans agency at norcross explained everything and here is the classic they passed him back to his local welfare centre who he had already been speaking to who had already informed him that it was really a norcross issue so even they were surprised last week when norcross transfered him to them.

 

My thoughts are that the veteran now needs to start rattling on councillor, MSP, MP, PM etc about this issue and the complete lack of information avaiable to veterans specifically and how are they meant to prepare for David Camerons Welfare Reform when the Veterans Agency, MOD and the Government.

 

Now this is a PDF of the screenshot that I took last nite now look at what it says about the high level of calls and veteran will tell you that is has been like that for over 9months. (SO What have they being doing for all these months they even ignore emails which veteran has copies of thats how long veteran has been trying to get prepared for these coming changes)

 

His concern is that if this is happening to him you can gaurentee that numerous veterans also will be completely in the dark and those that may not be capable of taking positive action like veteran to raise this concern.

 

The veteran concerned some years ago fought his own local authority for over 6yrs on being penalised for his disabled military pension a 6yrs of hell fight, suffered depression during this period, had all doors closed in his face and what was the end outcome he was completely correct all along and won his case which in turn changed the local authorities polices but the big thing he realised at the end was that the Government and the MOD were to blame why due to the complete lack of communication and information available as at that time anything to do with the Military was alien to the Civilian world and due to this he is now starting to see the same thing happening all over again with the serious lack of Communication and Information

Edited by stu007

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I cannot give any advice by PM - If you provide a link to your Thread then I will be happy to offer advice there.

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I've looked at the SPVA site and I agree that it's a poor situation. I will see if I can raise SPVA's woeful performance through another channel.

 

In the meantime, what about contacting the RBL, SSAFA FH and/or the veteran's single service charities? All of them should be able to offer general advice, and crucially, raise the issues with MOD at a senior level.It may be that this particular issue is so new that little information is available.

 

Are you able to say which local authority this is? pm me if you want.

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Hi ScarletPimpernal

 

That Is what I suggested to the veteran to do one big letter explaining everything from his previous 6yrs fight complete to date and to CC the letter all those mention in these posts to raise the awareness of this concern.

 

Veteran when I mentioned this just looked at me and I quote:

 

"Great so you are basically telling me that once again I have to do their job for them and go through how many yrs of hell again all because the Government and the MOD cant get its finger out its XXXXXXX and sort this what the hell are they getting paid for"

 

The above is not me but actually what the veteran said word for word and I can fully see his point.

 

Will PM you the Local Authority.


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PM seen and replied to.Not all of MOD is bad; there are some decent people working in it, but they are currently going through some major 'transformation' which is clearly very challenging. Even so, there seems to me to be no excuse for failing to treat our veterans properly.Part of the problem when there are changes to benefits is that the changes that affect veterans are not always clearly understood, or even disseminated, to those at the coal face, as it were. I can sense, and share, the veteran's frustration, but it is a sad fact that unless the issues are brought to the attention of those in charge, things are unlikely to change.

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I found out today that councils will have a "pot of money" for discretionary payments. This could cover such situations as a specially adapted property with an extra bedroom.


 

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I found out today that councils will have a "pot of money" for discretionary payments. This could cover such situations as a specially adapted property with an extra bedroom.

 

Hi caro, it is correct that each LA has a discretionary housing payment (DHP) fund.

 

Although the amounts will be increasing in April 2012. The amounts available will be only a fraction of the amount social tenants will lose when the bedroom tax comes into effect. The expectation of most LAs that I have spoken to are that the funds will be majorly oversubscribed, and there is no guarantee that applications will be successful.

 

The problem will arise when the money available runs out at which stage it will not matter how deserving a case might be.


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Hi caro

 

Thanks for that yes veteran knows about this and actually gets that, now the BUT how is the welfare reform going to effect the Local Authorities Discretionary Payments as even they dont know and cant answer that question as the Bedroom Tax seems to have overridden everything.


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I am in the exact same position. Moved to social housing disabled 2 bedroom bungalow straight out of hispital as unable to do stairs etc. Am 100 percent war pensioner.

 

Have been sending mails and emails to mp, DWP and Britrish Legion, Ssafa Norcross et al. The service chariities though cannot bother to respond. My mp and DWP do. They prevaricate but the gist is tough. We acknowledge the service of the military yarda yarder yarder...and there is the temporary payment that may be claimed, but tough. The war pesnsioner will pay the bedroom tax like anyone else. I remiinde them including a mail to Mr'Cameron of his speech to troops in Afghanistan in July, which was highly reported by media and British Legion that the benefit changes in April 2013 will not affect injured troops etc...But that as usual was just the PM's words, as usual worth very little unless taken for propoganda means. I have a bulging inbox and filing cabinet with their responses, but bascially the answer is tough.

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Hi

 

Am sitting with veteran at the moment showed him your reply and all he has said is:

 

Well if this is the way the Government want to go then so be it they have no idea the dirt I have from a previous 6yr fight with a Local Authority whos policies I changed after winning my fight. Do they really think this veteran is going to sit back and watch this sham happen to so many veterans, who will go to all the correct places for help but have the door closed saying tough your wrong we are right. Well I proved them all wrong some yrs ago and will fight this to the grave if needed not just for me but every veteran and what a shame if the media get hold of my previous fight and nothing but 6yrs of Government Errors.

 

The veteran recently got a response from SPVA as he complained about their complete lack of information on their website on the impact to veterans due to the welfare refom on the benefits veterans are entitled to through SPVA and he was shocked at the response:

 

The Veterans-UK website is intended as a portal for accessing information on the website special help and support services that are available to veterans. The website does not include information on benefits and services available from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) or other Government Departments because they are not specific to veterans, although clearly veterans are entitled to such benefits as any other individuals are. The main reason for this is to avoid a duplication of information available from the DWP through their website.

 

The above veterans feels is nothing but an excuse as he asked specifically about all the different allowances that a veteran can claim i.e war pensioners mobility supplement, treatment allowance etc in fact all the different allowances claimed or that can be claimed by a veteran via Veterans Agency website which is on their site for all to see so the above statement is incorrect infact completely wrong.

 

Now for the classic part of the letter:

 

I should mention that during 2013 the Veterans-UK website is expected to migrate over to the new Government-wide portal, www.Gov.uk. This website will provide details of benefits and other Government services all in one place, therefore all information and advice on welfare reforms and veterans support will be available from this single website once this move takes place.

 

Now veteran pointed out this is amazing that so when are they actually going to display this info on their website as he would have been in the dark about this without that response in a letter and all those other veterans that will be completely in the dark about this as well.

 

All Veteran says about this is do they know what the word COMMUNICATION means or is this info not important to veterans.

 

sorry for writing but not got access to my scanner as at veterans at the moments.

Edited by stu007

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I cannot give any advice by PM - If you provide a link to your Thread then I will be happy to offer advice there.

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Hi

 

Just had a good chat with veteran an what he has been told to do reference the bedroom tax with the reform to Housing Benefit is as follows:

 

1. Get an updated letter from Hospital Consultant again explaining his medical condition and the reason for the need for an extra bedroom whether it be for an overnight carer, rehabiliative purposes, or to store medical equipment.

2. A Letter from his own GP also explaining what is in No1.

3. Compile a complete list of adaptions done to the property for his medical needs.

 

Then once all recieved he is to forward to the Housing Benefit Section of the Local Authority.


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Bloody ridiculous state of affairs.

 

You ought to contact the Housing Dept/Social Services, and ask for a breakdown of what it cost to have this current property adapted to suit this gentleman's needs, as well as the cost of moving him from the mutli-story to this 2 bed bungalow. Then do a paper exercise, imagining the worst case scenario, which would be your friend cannot afford this 14%, and ends up having to be evicted for rent arrears. Then has to be picked up as homeless as he WILL have priority and will not be intentionally homeless (affordability). This then involves a stay in temporary accommodation until suitable housing can once again be found - which will have to eventually be a one bed property which once again has to be specially adapted! Where is the saving?

 

I hope you get this sorted.

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Hi

 

The veteran passes on his thanks to you jackieandwayne he is in a 2 bedroom ground floor was moved from multi-storey a few yrs ago due to his medical condition with the full support of his hospital consultant who was the one that actually forced the move.

 

He is just disgusted and fully understands that its not only veterans that this affects but being a veteran he takes this from that angle and is absolutely shocked that the 6yrs fight he had some yrs ago and the problems that ended up due to not on the lack of information but poor communication is resurfacing for veterans once again.

 

The veteran and myself never actually thought of that angle and you actually do have a very valid point and the veteran is digging me in the side saying well thats some more reasearch for use now.

 

Thank you for your input


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You are both very welcome. I am 100% behind your friend and anyone else who finds themselves in a mess like this. He sounds as though he has the grit to draw a lot of attention to this. I hope he does.

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Stu, if your vetran friend has need of overnight care as part of his dla etc then he is exempt the spare bedroom tax anyway.

 

If he has just daytime care then he will have to pay.

 

As for DLA, I hope he has not made my original mistake and claimed DLA. The war pension Attendance allowance is not age relatd and should be claimed at the higher lever than the civilian DLA. Still administered by ATOS, but with a totally different results orientated medical and assesment process. No targets for them to reach.

 

My Mp up until last month was the Defence Procurment minister. He got no sense out of DWP either.

 

I have nothing but prevaricated responses from DWP staff at a high level. They will not answer the simple questions I pose but go into long winded we appreciate the military and vetrans etc...Well I know that...But garner no more info than that. The fight I think is lost. Its up to you local council to decide not the DWP. That is their end story now. The fight was for the likes of British Legion and SSAFA etc as well as we vetrans...the British Legion decided not to fight this it seems and as usual refuse to even answer the queries raised by vetrans who try.

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Hi Just a Final Update

 

Veteran sent in a letter requesting information required to assist in a Formal Appeal amazingly 3 days later gets a response from council that they are disregarding the second room as they have provided evidence from hospital that they require overnight care therefore the decision has been made to award full Housing Benefit.

 

Note - They had all that evidence in Dec 2012 when they requested it and more importantly the hospital letter does not say they require 24hr overnight care it states that they require the extra room for medical/rehabilitation equipment and for and overnight carer to stay when there condition requires this as and when required.

 

Thank you to everyone for your valuable input and CAG could you please amend thread title.


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I cannot give any advice by PM - If you provide a link to your Thread then I will be happy to offer advice there.

I advise to the best of my ability, but I am not a qualified professional, benefits lawyer nor Welfare Rights Adviser.

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Great News...Yes, Overnight caring makes it exempt. One last thing though...He will be getting transferred to pip at some stage I take it? Unless not of working age..But even this is not a given for the future...I would ask him to consider coming off DLA, PIP etc...and contacting SPVA and getting a welfare officer to visit and sort out war pensioners constant attendance allowance instead. Keep it in house with vetrans agency and away from IDS.

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Good news. Glad to hear he'll not be penalised for his injury.

 

I've amended the thread title but Stu, you're on the Site Team now - you can do that! :razz:


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Many thanks much appreciated.


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I cannot give any advice by PM - If you provide a link to your Thread then I will be happy to offer advice there.

I advise to the best of my ability, but I am not a qualified professional, benefits lawyer nor Welfare Rights Adviser.

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Hi, Mac at 18 here, I heard via TV and Radio that various MP's claimed and stated that: Disabled people would NOT be included in the bedroom tax rules because it could badly disadvantage disabled veterans (& civvies).

Talk to your MP and insist that he / she contact David Cameron and ensure that a proper decision is made and then stuck to: I am not happy that Gov. officials, when interviewed, they appear to say; what the audience may want to hear and then do the other thing.

I too am disabled veteran, I don't require social housing (in that I am very lucky) but I do volunteer work and feel very strongly that the lack of recognition in this matter is very, very unacceptable.

The local authority should also take this matter up with the Government: their job (amongst other things) is to act responsibly in matters of care and welfare for their residents and tenants.

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