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housing benefit

Smiler1970Smiler1970 Posts: 1Member Listener
Without Prejudice.                                                                                                                                      To the disabled lady who is worried the housing benefit people think her son lives with her, please read housing benefit rules. As a disabled person you are allowed to have another adult living with you in the house (son, carer or whatever) and still get full housing benefit. However, they will not tell you that and happily do you if they think you don't know either.                                                                                    My autistic daughter is home taught. At 14 she got in to the Open University to study for a self funded Honours Degree in Law p/t evening and weekend continuing basic education in the subjects she was struggling with i.e. self care skills, spelling, handwriting, social skills etc during the day. Sadly this resulted in her child benefit and child tax credit stopping. She was unable to apply for any grants or loans either due to her young age.  She got nothing for at least a year and she had to take a year out, till someone had mercy on her and let her get ESA (Support Group).                                                      Although she has many associated problems (no functional peripheral vision, dyspraxia, etc etc) the PIP assessor also decided she was 'too intelligent', as he said, to get PIP never mind her care needs. (Suggests all wheelchair bound people with any intelligence can't have care needs!) Appeal has been ongoing now for near two years with no court date yet !                                                                         Five years after Wigan Council Housing Benefit demanded she (I) pay rent and council tax for her each week and that she should have paid it for the last five years back till she was 14 years old! They knew she is/ was home taught and that she and I are disabled. There was no mercy. Apart rom the twenty pounds a week rent they also wanted aprox £8,000 back payments from her - a disabled school age kid. With Wigan Council this means you are likely to be immediately be threatened with court/ possibly even eviction, disabled or not, especially if the council worker has got the 'I've got to win at whatever cost' attitude.                                                                                                                                                    The council also seem to have dispensed with any true, functional complaints procedure for cases of any significance. Avoid being sued! Most complaints being ignored, or rewritten to suit them, before only being answered informally. They will even ignore lawyers knowing the poor will soon run out of cash. Hence there's little you can do, but pray.  Press the matter and you will see how many council workers can turn up at your place 'harassing you' in to silence week in week out, bins not emptied for 11 months, etc etc. Sense of humour definitely required and if you have any sense/money some CCTV cameras.                                                                                       Thankfully we found that rule about the second adult being allowed and they had to murmuring come off our backs. I did, however, loose my single person's council tax discount which has never been re-instated despite her being home taught. Disabled children/youths can be schooled or home schooled till 25 by law. We regularly report to council with evidence of education. Child benefit till age 20.                                                                                 Despite making formal complaints by registered mail to Council Tax Office I did not get an answer for over a year and that only as a little informal note you can take nowhere. Most the time the council on purpose make replies over phone, if at all, but unless complaints go through formal stage 1, formal stage 2 and formal stage 3 you can not take it to the Ombudsman. The council takes advantage of that in my experience. If you insist on a reply they are likely to ban you from making a complaint (possibly a breach of your Human Rights!)  If the Ombudsman tell them to reply the council just ignores them. What can they do?                                                                                                                                             Ironically if my daughter had attended the local school, and they had arranged for her to do a course with the OU she would have had it all paid for and would not have lost any benefits, nor had to pay any rent, council tax etc. Transport and carers might even have been arranged for free.                              Likewise if my girl had attended school, messed about, taken drugs, got pregnant etc she would have had all those benefits (Child Benefit, Child Tax, Housing benefit etc), but because she worked hard and pursued her talent/interest despite many disability obstacles she got hammered down/lost out, getting her real down, with no money at all.                                                                                                          Children who pursue advanced Arabic, Advanced Hebrew or Advanced Karate in their spare time even to 'A' Level standard or further would not loose their Child Benefit and rightly so..                                       The royals (Queen's grandchildren - the richest children and probably best educated children in the world) qualify for child benefit, but not a 14 year old, disabled home schooled kid, from a low income home, because she was doing a self paid evening OU course.                                                               The benefits office said they would have done the same if she was six, eight, ten etc - as some home-schooled autistic, kids - are when they start studying p/t with OU. Basically they expect someone studying a p/t degree course from home -whatever age- to pay their own way in life. As they can not get grants, loans or pay in instalments either I asked what job they expected that vulnerable six year old to take up on top of school studies and uni-studies and if that was not like returning to middle ages? Should they apply for a job as chimney sweep or work on the street corner?                                                   Even people who are savant (like my daughter or Rain man) need to eat. Just because they have an intellectual ability in one area does not mean to say they can safely manage to go out to work or even dress themselves independently.                                                                                                              Also where can a disabled child get a job that pays more than the £10-£30 an hour the carer needs to go with them?                                                                                                                                                Talk about leaving a child vulnerable and desperate and discouraging a child from getting an education and hopefully one day financial independence!   Pay a bit now save a lot later!                                            Oh, for a bit of kindness and common sense from the council and DWP!!!!

Replies

  • AilsAils Posts: 454Community champion Pioneering
    Hi Smiler1970,
    Welcome to the Community and thank you for your above comments.  If there is anything we can help you with then please let us know as there will be someone from the Community or the Community Team who will be able to help.  All the best.  :-)
  • Adrian_ScopeAdrian_Scope Posts: 2,479Administrator Scope community team
    Hello @Smiler1970 and welcome to the community.
    I believe your post is meant for @teejays with regards to her son staying over a couple of times a week. 

    Thank you for your advice. :)
    Senior Online Community Officer
    Scope
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