Disabled husband’s battle over benefits

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A couple have been left frustrated by the new bedroom tax after council administrators listed their home as three bedroom instead of two.

The blunder meant disabled Anthony Styles and wife Catherine would have had around £160 knocked off their housing benefit under the government shake-up.

Their home in Manan Close, Hemel Hempstead, was converted into a two-bed property when a lift was installed before they moved in almost three years ago.

But council chiefs still insisted on visiting the property to take pictures last month to prove it and even then multiple sclerosis sufferer and wheelchair user Anthony said the home was still listed as three bedrooms.

“It is their cock-up and they finally admitted it after a month of me telling them,” he said.

Dacorum Borough Council revenues group manager Chris Baker said: “Our records do have this property as a two bedroom now and the housing benefit will be amended accordingly.”

He said staff have been reallocated from the council’s benefits, council tax and housing teams to deal with the government changes, which means from this month housing benefit is being cut to tenants with empty spare bedrooms.

Last week the Gazette reported on how a couple Sandra and Keith Hampton were facing the cost of two spare bedrooms because the council was unable to downsize them.