Author Topic: Under occupancy charge and exemptions  (Read 524 times)

Fiz

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Under occupancy charge and exemptions
« on: February 01, 2017, 09:53:42 AM »
I'm currently liable for one bedroom under occupancy reduction in my housing benefit for my small 6ft square bedroom. I'm just coming to the end of a 3 month award for DHP which I applied for as I am struggling financially hugely. Apparently under my LA rules I'm entitled to apply for a further 3 month DHP award, not guaranteed to get the award of course but I'm entitled to apply.

I have several MH diagnosis. One is bulimia and my 2 methods of purging are exercise and laxative abuse. When focusing on laxatives my blood results show several indications of malnutrition and so my GP encourages me to purge by exercise if I have to purge as it's the healthiest method of purging, rather than abusing laxatives which affect my physical health. So in my small room I have a spin cycle which my hips and back can cope with which provides me with the cardio exercise I crave and I've toning DVD's in there and a mat, yoga block, stretch straps and dumbell weights.

Also while last detained under the MHA I became very distressed and panicked and I was led to a sensory room where I sat in a bean bag and watched multicoloured bubbles from a lava lamp affect from a projector going slowly around the walls and ceiling. This calmed me within minutes and I stayed there a while until I was completely relaxed. I've managed to buy a second hand mathmos projector to use in my small room, in the hope that this projector will calm me when I'm distressed and greatly reduce or eliminate my self harming. It's only just arrived so I've yet to discover whether my plan works with regard to the projector.

But basically I have changed use of my one spare bedroom into a treatment/therapy room to meet my mental health needs. I am registered disabled due to mental health.

Does this mean this bedroom could be exempted from the under occupancy reduction in housing benefit?

I've tried to Google this but all information is in PDF format and I can't open them.

Thanks not advance. I put a warning up due to possible eating disorder and self harm triggers.

Monic1511

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Re: Under occupancy charge and exemptions
« Reply #1 on: February 01, 2017, 03:28:52 PM »
Hi Fiz

Its at the discretion of the local council if they grant the exemption based on the fact that the spare room is a treatment room for mental health issues.  The housing associations I deal with are too strict when it comes to telling people about DHP's and they interpret the rules very strictly,   If I were you I would put in an application and see what the council says, does your council have an online form or an email contact to the benefits / housing assessors who would be making the decision?

Monic

Fiz

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Re: Under occupancy charge and exemptions
« Reply #2 on: February 01, 2017, 06:19:40 PM »
I don't think so though I have the general 'benefits office' email address. I've asked my CPN to write a letter stating why I need this room and will also ask my GP for a letter too. Looking online I found a case where a woman went to court to object to the under occupancy reduction for a room that had been converted into a safe room that could not be broken into to protect her from the high risk of continued abuse from someone. Couldn't see the verdict but the DWP response was that that was what DHP is for, for people like her. That implies that if someone has an ongoing need for a room for their physical and mental health, then they should get ongoing DHP rather than time limited. Or maybe I've taken that the wrong way. I'm certainly going to apply for it and see what happens.

Monic1511

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Re: Under occupancy charge and exemptions
« Reply #3 on: February 01, 2017, 07:07:30 PM »
Hi
The reason my Scottish council limits dhp awards is because the Scottish government only releases the funding in small batches so to make sure they don't overcommit money they ask folk to reapply, that might be why your council does the same even though you should get automatic entitlement.

Just ask for a copy and keep the evidence so you can resubmit it when you need to
 >bighugs<

Fiz

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Re: Under occupancy charge and exemptions
« Reply #4 on: February 01, 2017, 07:42:19 PM »
 >thumbsup<

Fiz

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Re: Under occupancy charge and exemptions
« Reply #5 on: March 05, 2017, 07:12:04 AM »
My LA sent me a new application forms a few weeks back. Last time a lady came out and completed it for me but she's on long term sick. They kindly sent me that form to help me but there were chunks of explanations for various outgoings that I couldn't read the handwriting. Also despite having the form completion on my to do list daily I had terrible panic attacks over it and couldn't fill it in. I've been waiting until I've been well enough to complete it but realised that day is not going to come so I wrote a brief letter saying I have found the form impossible and that my financial situation is unchanged from my last application. I hope they accept that without the form. My cpn is off sick so I've no help available at present.

I enclosed the letters written by my cpn and GP both saying the room has been changed into a treatment/therapy room and is used daily to help manage my mental health conditions and reduce my SH. My GP requested that I get ongoing DHP to cover the underoccupancy reduction because of this.

It's a case of wait and see but I'm not hopeful, it's not as if I even managed the form. I'm low right now so a good part of me is past caring but if I rally, then I will care and having one less stress in my life will really help.  The whole thing is torture.

NeuralgicNeurotic

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Re: Under occupancy charge and exemptions
« Reply #6 on: March 06, 2017, 09:24:30 AM »
 >hugs<