Liverpool City Council is issuing guidance to tenants who are challenging the spare room subsidy, also known as the bedroom tax.
Around 11,000 people in the city are affected by the welfare change, which results in reduced housing benefit payments for people of working age.
Following feedback from tenants who are requesting information to help them submit an appeal, the council is issuing the following guidance:
• There is no charge for submitting an appeal or asking for information from the Council to support the appeal (eg: correspondence between the council and their landlord)
• The council will be writing to people who have requested information asking them to set out their case for an appeal, and will extend the time limit to lodge an appeal for a further month
• Where landlord and tenant dispute the number of bedrooms in the home the Council will treat any such cases as appeals and look carefully at the circumstances to review the decision
• If people believe we have assessed their claim using incorrect or out of date information, eg: the number of people living in a property has changed, they should contact the Benefits Service
Deputy Mayor and Cabinet member for Finance, Councillor Paul Brant, said: “I fully appreciate that people are extremely concerned about the financial impact of the Government imposed welfare changes, and I am determined we do all we can to help people through the process.
“This is the biggest change in the administration of benefits for a generation and we are constantly reviewing what we are telling those affected and making tweaks and changes to improve the system.
“We have taken on board the feedback we’ve had from tenants and are making a number of improvements.
“We are working closely with social landlords to help and support tenants who find themselves in financial difficulty to help them out.”
The council has already allocated £400,000 in Discretionary Housing Payments since the start of April to people in the most need, with the majority of it being set aside in relation to the bedroom tax .