June 2014 Latest Challenge on Bedroom Tax Fails

06/06/2014

In a new judgment the High Court has dismissed a judicial review seeking to allow an extra bedroom for children who need overnight care when assessing under occupation for the purposes of the bedroom tax.

In Rutherford & Ors v Secretary of State for Work And Pensions  Mr and Mrs Rutherford, argued that the new Housing Benefit regulations were discriminatory on the grounds that it allowed an extra bedroom for an overnight carer of the claimant or their partner, but did not allow one for an overnight carer of a disabled child within the household. The DWP argued that it was necessary to consider the scheme as a whole and the policy effect of the regulations could not be said to be 'manifestly without reasonably foundation'.

The claimants live in a 3 bedroom housing association house that has been substantially adapted for the needs of their grandson, who has profound mental and physical disabilities and requires round the clock care from at least two people. When the bedroom tax was first applied in April 2013 Mrs Rutherford applied for a Discretionary Housing Payment (DHP) which was refused but it was then reassessed and a DHP, fully covering the housing benefit (HB) shortfall, was awarded from 1 April 2013.

The High Court held that the discrimination was capable of being justified and that there was no disadvantage as the shortfall had been met by the DHP.

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