March 23, 2014 Leave a comment
I met with a resident this weekend.
Husband and Wife have lived at their address for nineteen years. Husband was diagnosed with hairy cell lymphocytic leukaemia in December 2013. Husband and Wife are both 59 years old.
Wife has degenerative osteoarthritis. Both are now registered disabled. Both have enhanced rates of disability.
As a result of Husband’s illness he has lost his job; he was a baker for thirty years. He is now in receipt of housing benefit. His home is owned by a housing association and is a three-bedroom mid-terrace. It is now described as under-occupied, and this means the bedroom tax kicks in, costing them £30 per week.
They are not opposed to the idea of moving to somewhere smaller, but do not want to live in a tower block or in a care home. Unsurprisingly, with such a bleak outlook quality of life figures high in their priorities. Wife struggles with stairs and needs an adapted bath.
I had a long chat with Husband, a long and difficult chat. His diagnosis in December is a death sentence, and the added stress of the bedroom tax is hitting him hard. Seeing a grown man reduced to tears is not something anyone would enjoy.
They are quite prepared to live anywhere in Essex, although it seems that this is not a possibility as they have no family outside of the borough. It does strike me as peculiar that potential properties are denied them because of where they live, yet legislation is attempting to make them move anyway.