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Stop the bedroom tax on carers

Some people cannot spare their so-called 'spare room'

Carers Northern Ireland thinks it’s unfair that carers and disabled people who live in social housing and need an extra bedroom are being penalised under the new Housing Benefit rules. We think the so-called ‘bedroom tax’ should exempt those who are caring for someone they live with.

There are lots of reasons why carers and disabled people need an extra room:

  • Tracey would love to share a bedroom with her husband like other married couples but Tony sleeps in a hospital bed and depends on life saving medical equipment that fills the room.
  • Dave’s wife Jan has cerebral palsy and spasms uncontrollably throughout the night waking him constantly. If he's going to be fit in the morning for his job as a Fork lift operator, then sometimes he has to sleep in the 'spare' room.
  • Stephanie is 8 and her younger sister Amy has learning and physical disabilities that mean she wakes up throughout the night, often talking or shouting. This kept Stephanie awake and her tiredness affected her school work, so now she has own room.

Government is telling us that Tracey, Dave and Stephanie all have homes that are too big for their needs and that those extra rooms are a luxury. Under new Housing Benefit rules, they will have to pay extra for these rooms or be forced to move, facing debt or isolation from the friends and family who help them care.

We’ve told the Government of our concerns but so far they say carers should be treated the same as everyone else.

We want you to write to your MLAs and ask them to scrap the 'bedroom tax' altogether or make an exemption for carers when they are discussing the Wefare Reform Bill in the Assembly.

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