War veteran and disabled wife saved from eviction
A GULF War veteran and his disabled wife who were facing eviction from their home because of the so-called “bedroom tax” have had a North Yorkshire council’s decision against them overturned.
The couple from Ryedale, who live with their daughter in a three-bedroom house, could have been forced to move because the spare-room subsidy policy said they did not need the third bedroom.
Ryedale District Council had decided the family did not qualify for extra cash to help them cover their extra rent, even though the couple’s disabilities mean they cannot share a room.
Neither the husband, a Gulf War veteran who was left with nerve damage and post traumaticstress disorder after serving in the armed forces, or his wife, who has MS, can work so they have no way of making up the rent shortfall created by the “bedroom tax”.
They applied for discretionary housing payments (DHP) from Ryedale District Council to cover the extra rent needed, but were turned down.
The council instead suggested that they move to smaller home, take in a lodger or find a way of earning an income to find the extra money.
But now lawyers acting for the couple have successfully challenged that decision.
They argued that the local authority did not apply the DHP policies properly, had not taken the family’s needs into account and had discriminated against them.
Fiona McGhie, the specialist solicitor in Irwin Mitchell’s public law department who represented the family, said she welcomed the ruling.
She said: “We are delighted that we have been able to help this vulnerable family to get the payments they deserve, after the original refusal had placed a huge strain on them.
“Ryedale District Council rejected the application on grounds which were simply not viable for this family – a clear reminder that local authorities need to give proper consideration to applications and apply policies to the individual circumstances of each case.
“This family, which already faced so much hardship due to disability, was confronted with the prospect of potentially being evicted from their home as a result of an application rejection that should not have happened in the first place.”
The Press invited Ryedale District Council to respond to Ms McGhie’s comments, but a spokeswoman declined to do so, saying: “We do not comment on individual cases.”