Cases rise in DWP bedroom tax error

Bedroom tax protest
Bedroom tax protest
Share this article

The number of tenants eligible for exemption from bedroom tax legislation due to a loophole has increased beyond the original estimate.

An error by Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) allows anyone who has been in receipt of housing benefit continuously since 1996 to be immune to the Government cuts.

Fife Council had estimated in December that 200 tenants across Fife would qualify via the loophole but the Gazette can reveal that from 500 tenants reviewed by the authority, 283 are subject to the additional award of housing benefit for the period April 1, 2013 to March 2, 2014.

Fife House has confirmed letters have been sent to these customers and by the start of April 2014, the adjustment to their payments will be made.

DWP has taken steps to amend the regulations to end this exemption and have brought in new regulations which have closed the loophole.

David Ross, council leader, said: “We reacted quickly to identify any tenants affected by the error made by DWP when drafting this legislation and we are now correcting their awards.”

It’s understood the authority is bracing itself for the total to rise even further due to housing benefit records only existing as far back as 1999.