Parents with severely disabled children who are unable to share a room with their siblings are to be exempt from the Government’s under-occupation penalty, or so-called bedroom tax.
Ministers will publish guidance to local authorities today which will allow them to exclude families with disabled children from the reduction in benefits for having a spare room, which is due to come into effect next month. Exemptions will only apply in relation to certain disabilities.
The cost of the allowance will be paid for centrally and not from the discretionary fund which is available to local authorities.
Tenants in the social rented sector will be penalised by having 14 per cent deducted from their housing benefit if they have one extra bedroom or 25 per cent if they have two or more.
Two children under 10 are expected to share a room, as are two children of the same sex under 16.
Iain Duncan Smith, the Work and Pensions Secretary, told MPs: “As the law stands right now where a local authority agrees that a family needs an extra bedroom because their child’s disability means they are unable to share, the family can be entitled to the spare room subsidy in respect of that extra bedroom.”