Philip Elliott and Elizabeth Aslett, both 56, from Bilborough, Nottingham, were told they owed £1,600 in bedroom tax after their sons moved away to university and the Army
Image: Nottingham Post / BPM Media)
A disabled couple “burst into tears” after a council told them they now owed £1,600 in bedroom tax.
Philip Elliott and Elizabeth Aslett, both 56 – who have lived in the three-bedroom council property for more than a decade – say they’ll struggle to pay the bill, triggered after their two teenage sons moved out in September.
Eldest child Ryan, 18, has gone to university and 16-year-old Lewis is away in Army training for the Guards, reports NottinghamshireLive.
Both will be coming back home during the holidays.
Their frustrated parents, from Bilborough, Nottingham, claim they were initially told there would be no issues with the change before receiving a message earlier this month to say they owed £1,667.27.
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Philip is Elizabeth’s full-time carer and previously they received £1,000 a month each through a combination of Universal Credit, ESA and PIP support.
But this was reduced to £900.
The amount recipients receive towards housing costs may be reduced when a home has spare bedrooms.
Bedroom tax means a claimant will receive less in housing benefit or housing cost element in a UC claim when living in a housing association or council house and deemed to have one or more spare bedrooms.
Mr Elliott said: “We told them in August this was going to happen in September, the lady said everything was fine.
“The money was looking a bit different in November so I was a little worried.
“When I found out it was a shock, nobody had said we owed them money.
“We’ve got welfare rights involved and it’s been sent to the appeal stage.”
Both parents explained they were unable to work due to their disabilities, meaning they will struggle to pay the money back or continue to survive off the smaller payments.
Mrs Aslett added: “I burst into tears and cried, it was so annoying.
“We don’t know what is round the corner, we had both the boys home for six weeks over Christmas, they’re coming back in the next week or so.”
The DWP has apologized for how the family’s case had been handled, saying staff had been in touch to help them with the appeals process.
The family now fears for the future in remaining in the property.
Mr Elliott added: “We’ve got two boys trying to better themselves in life, we’ve put them in the right direction and now we are getting penalized for it.
“We can’t afford to keep it anymore, we don’t want to move, we don’t have the money to move. We are stuck.”
A DWP spokesman said: “We are very sorry for how Mr Elliott and Ms Assett’s claim has been handled and have been in touch to apologize and to help them with the appeals process.
“We have also reviewed their benefits to ensure they are receiving their correct entitlement.”