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Housing Benefit Regulations

Volume 124: debated on Thursday 10 December 1987

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To ask the Secretary of State for Social Services (1) in what circumstances accommodation is considered to be particularly suitable for elderly, sick or disabled persons by virtue of (i) size and (ii) heating system for the purposes of schedule 1, paragraph 1(c)(ii) to the Housing Benefit (General) Regulations 1987;(2) in what circumstances accommodation is considered to be not particularly suitable for elderly, sick or disabled persons by virtue of (i) size and (ii) heating system for the purposes of schedule 1, paragraph 1

(c)(ii) to the Housing Benefit (General) Regulations 1987;

(3) by what criteria other than size or heating system accommodation will be assessed as particularly suitable

for elderly, sick or disabled persons for the purposes of schedule 1, paragraph 1 (c)(ii) to the Housing Benefit (General) Regulations 1987.

The Housing Benefit (General) Regulations 1987 provide that a charge for an alarm system may be met through housing benefit where the system is provided in accommodation which is occupied by and has been specifically designed or adapted for elderly, sick or disabled people or is otherwise particularly suitable for them. In deciding whether accommodation is particularly suitable, the regulations require authorities to consider the size, heating system and the other major features or facilities of the accommodation as a whole.The question of whether accommodation is particularly suitable is a matter for local authorities to decide. The factors we would expect a local authority to take into account in reaching its decision include the number of bedrooms, the overall amount of floorspace, the number of rooms which are heated as well as the location of the accommodation, its proximity to health and social services facilities and its accessibility.A one-bedroom ground floor property with heating in the bedroom and living room and which is close to shops, health and social services facilities is likely to be considered suitable for an elderly, sick or disabled person; whereas, for example, a property with several spare bedrooms, heating only in the living room, and which is at a distance from such facilities would be considered unsuitable.