A loophole could protect some Lincoln residents from the so-called bedroom tax and even give them extra housing benefit — but not for long.
The loophole was discovered following a number legal challenges and appeals to the benefit reduction introduced by the government in April 2013.
In Lincoln, the City Council have identified six households who have had their housing benefit wrongly reduced.
This mean the council will now increase those households’ housing benefit, backdating an extra £3,300 from April 2013.
The council also wants other residents who think they have been wrongly affected by the tax to come forward.
Martin Walmsley, Head of Shared Revenues and Benefits Service for the council, said: “In Lincoln more than 800 households continue to be affected by bedroom tax.
“We would urge anyone affected who thinks they satisfy the conditions of the loophole to get in touch so we can look at their case and see if we can remove the spare room deduction.”
Households should not have been affected by the bedroom tax if:
- Continuously entitled to housing benefit since January 1, 1996, and
- Living in the same property during that time, except for any periods where a fire, flood, explosion or natural catastrophe meant the property was uninhabitable, and
- There was a gap in entitlement of less than four weeks, or, the gap was less than 52 weeks while a welfare to work beneficiary.
The council warns that the loophole will be short-lived, as the government has already made amendments to close the loophole from March 4.
Those who don’t satisfy the loophole criteria can still get help with money under the Discretionary Housing Payment scheme if they struggle to pay rent.
For more information, email [email protected] or call the council on 01522 873355.