Inclusion Scotland

Working towards a society where disabled people are equal citizens

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Monday, 28 May 2012

A human rights case, in which the Equality and Human Rights Commission intervened, has established that housing benefit must take into account the extra needs of disabled children and adults.

The Commission agrees with the common sense ruling on all three cases heard by the Court of Appeal. It says the decision will help stop disabled people from being evicted if the housing benefit cap means they or their parents do not get enough money to pay all the rent for a suitable home.

Mr Burnip has carers 24 hours a day to help him as he is severely disabled. He only got housing benefit for a one bedroom flat, as that was all he was entitled to at the time, but needed a second bedroom for his carers to sleep in overnight. Ms Trengrove, who has died, was in a similar situation.

Two of the three siblings in the Gorry family are disabled - one has Down's Syndrome, another has Spina Bifida. The family could only claim for a three bedroom home, so the two disabled children would have to share a bedroom. Their disabilities made this impossible.

The government has already changed the regulations for calculating housing benefits for disabled adults, but will now have to change it for families with disabled children.

John Wadham, General Counsel, Equality and |Human Rights Commission said:

'Our intervention in the Burnip case has helped to ensure that all disabled people claiming housing benefit do not face indirect discrimination. If it was not for the Human Rights Act, disabled people may be more likely fall into rent arrears because they cannot afford the home that meets their needs and then face eviction.'

'The rulings underline our analysis of the government's 2010 spending review, published yesterday, which looked at potential effects of those decisions on women, ethnic minorities and disabled people. It calls for the development of a common model of analysis to predict the likely equality effects of policy and earlier use of the equality duties to ensure better targeting of funds and greater value for money.