Cuts Watch #245: Housing Benefit and disabled children
Contact a Family, the charity for families with disabled children, has raised concerns that the 2011 changes to Housing Benefit will hit disabled children especially hard. The charity has written to the Work and Pensions select committee, which is conducting an inquiry into the forthcoming changes to Housing Benefit.
They point out that families with disabled children are more likely to be in rented accommodation and that a study they had carried out had found that, in the last year, 14% of families with disabled children had fallen behind with their rent or mortgage and 15% had had to borrow money to pay their rent or mortgage. A key Contact a Family concern is the HB rule that requires children to share a room – they point out that the disruption caused by carers, noisy equipment or challenging behaviour can simply make this impossible. They are particularly worried about the impact on families with disabled child of the new rule that reduces your Housing Benefit by 10 per cent if you have been on Jobseeker’s Allowance for a year or more.
Yesterday we pointed to evidence from Every Disabled Child Matters that the cuts are already wiping out the gains achieved under the Aiming High for Disabled Children. With the Contact a Family evidence, it is starting to look as though disabled children are one of the groups most likely to suffer under the cuts. It will be interesting to see how this is justified as “progressive”.