Woman commits suicide due to bedroom tax

She was found dead on Junction 4 of the M6 motorway, at the beginning of May, aged 53 and explicitly blamed the government for her actions.

She was suffering from an auto-immune system deficiency condition known as Myasthenia gravis, which impacted her ability to work, but was not receiving disability benefit.

Under the new rules she was told she had to move to a smaller property or lose £80 a month in housing benefit.

Her son said she was finding it hard to pay the extra £80-a-month on top of her £320 rent bill after the introduction of the new legislation, which reduces housing benefit for certain people with a spare bedroom.Her local Labour councillor backs this up by saying that the woman could barely afford to feed herself, let alone fund the shortfall in rent.

On Saturday May 4 she wrote a series of suicide notes before stepping out in front of a lorry. She died instantly.

In one of the notes, addressed to her son she wrote: ‘Don’t blame yourself for me ending my life. The only people to blame are the Government, no-one else.’

 

 

Bedroom tax

 

Since 1 April 2013, new housing benefit rules mean you won’t be able to get housing benefit to pay for all of your rent if your home has ‘spare bedrooms’. This is being called the ‘bedroom tax’

The new limit on the number of rooms you can claim for is based on the number of people living in your home. If you have more bedrooms than the new rules say you need, you will be treated as ‘under-occupying’ your home. You’ll get less of your rent paid for by housing benefit.

If housing benefit no longer covers the full cost of your rent, you will have to pay the rest of the rent yourself. This must be paid directly to your landlord.

 

You can’t claim housing benefit for ‘extra’ rooms that are used for:

  • children visiting a divorced or separated parent
  • couples who use separate bedrooms because of illness or disability
  • rooms used by disabled adults to store medical equipment.

 

Some disabled adults living in adapted or specially designed properties have had face to cuts to their housing benefit, but it will not be practical or affordable for them to move. Others are having to move from a home they have lived in their whole life, or are being “trapped” in an under-occupied house due to there being a lack of single bed properties.

 

How many rooms are you allowed?

  • one bedroom for a couple
  • one bedroom for a person aged 16 or over
  • one bedroom for two children aged under 16 of the same sex
  • one bedroom for two children aged under 10 (boys and girls are expected to share a room)
  • one bedroom for any other child
  • one extra bedroom if you or your partner needs an overnight carer to stay.

 

 

Please sponsor me – all fundraising is going to the charity Shelter to help combat homelessness, overcrowding, and other housing problems. 

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