Housing Benefit Arithmetic

Housing benefit is a much needed lifeline to those who need it – that is simply the way it is.

I have been approached by an Edinburgh citizen whose Housing Benefit difficulties are beyond understanding. How stressful does it need to get?

This friend has a 13-year-old disabled son and the Housing Benefit authorities say her flat is “oversized” because she has a spare room. Her rent is £1100 a month. The housing allowance she should be entitled to is about £600 a month. (I’ve calculated her entitlement on the council website – it should be about £600 each month, as a single parent of a disabled child over 11.) She’s not unemployed – she works 16 hours a week for minimum wage – that’s £94.88 weekly earned income.

Overall, this person’s Housing Benefit has ranged from just over £500 per month but gradually dribbled down to an amount of just over £200 per month. How would you like to cope with that on an already stretched budget? Truly dreadful.

This “housing allowance” for Edinburgh – I can’t understand how a mother with a disabled teenage son doesn’t even get enough to cover the rent of a two-bedroomed flat. They say her flat is “oversized” because she has a spare room (the penalty for “under-occupation” in the UK government’s Welfare Reform Act which wasn’t supposed to be law in Scotland yet) but the average monthly rent of a 2-bedroomed flat anywhere in the EH1 to EH12 postcodes will be over £600.

The graph below shows what the Housing Department reckon (not to use too strong a word) that this person’s “other income” is. There are 10 sets of figures upon which to expose the flawed delivery of Housing Benefit. 4 sets of the figures were produced on the same day (all different!), then 5 sets of figures produced on another day (all different!) then another figure produced this month (different again!).

Edinburgh Council Housing Department arithmetic

Housing benefit – could this be why Edinburgh Council is in 7th place out of 10 Scottish Urban Councils for “administration of benefits “– administration?

This lady’s had two threats of eviction from her landlord because of Housing Benefit being held and not processed.

But now her housing benefit has been cut again because the housing department are claiming she’s got another source of income, which varies between twenty and twenty-nine thousand pounds a year on top of her earned income.
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