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Help with Housing Costs

By: Sarah O'Hara BA (hons) - Updated: 4 Jan 2013 | comments*Discuss
 
Council Tax Reduction Housing

If you are a disabled person living independently you may be entitled to some help with paying your housing costs.

We’ve outlined some of the main sources of help that you may be entitled to.

Council Tax Reduction

If you’re disabled, or you live with a disabled person, you may be entitled to a reduction in your Council Tax bill through the disabled band reduction scheme.

To be eligible you will need to fulfil at least two of the following criteria:

  • Your home must have a kitchen, bathroom or other room which specifically meet the needs of you or a disabled person that you live with. This room must be used mainly by the disabled resident.
  • Your home must have been adapted to create extra room for wheelchair use.

Those who are eligible will have their Council Tax band lowered and will therefore pay a lower rate. For example if your home is in Council Tax band C, it will be charged at the rate of Council Tax band B. If you’re already in the lowest band you’ll still receive a reduction.

Those who are severely mentally impaired may also be eligible for a Council Tax reduction. They won’t be classed as liable for Council Tax so the household bill will be reduced on those grounds.

Housing Benefit

As a disabled person you may be eligible for Housing Benefit to help you pay your rent. In some areas of the UK this help is referred to as Local Housing Allowance and is worked out in a slightly different way.

Housing Benefit and Local Housing Allowance are for those on low incomes. You aren’t eligible if:

  • You have savings of over £16,000
  • You live with a close relative
  • You are a full-time student
  • You’re an asylum seeker

In order to work out how much Housing Benefit you’re eligible for the council will look at how much rent you pay, your financial situation and how reasonable the size of your home and price of your rent is.

Local Housing Allowance is a scheme being piloted in some areas. The amount you could receive isn’t tied to how much rent you pay. Your finances are assessed however. Local Housing Allowance rates are set by area. If your rent is above this rate you’ll pay the difference. If it’s below it you keep the difference.

You can be assessed for Local Housing Allowance and Housing Benefit as the same time as you are assessed for Council Tax liability.

TV Licence Discount

Some disabled people are entitled to a reduction in their TV licence fee. Those who are registered blind, or live with someone who is registered blind, are entitled to a 50% reduction in their TV licence fee. The licence must be registered in the blind person’s home for this reduction.

Those who live in residential care may be entitled to a reduced TV licence. These are called Accommodation for Residential Care concessionary licences. Someone at your residential home will be able to advise you if you need your own TV licence, and if you could be eligible for a discount.

As well as all the help detailed above, you may be entitled to help if you need or choose to move home. The help that’s available varies from area to area so ask your local council for details of the help they provide.

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