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Housing: Disability

Volume 704: debated on Monday 27 October 2008

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Why no disability impact assessment was carried out prior to introducing the local housing allowance; whether the provision of extra housing space for disabled persons with live-in carers is classified as a housing need or a social care need; and how many people have applied for discretionary housing payments. [HL5618]

During the Welfare Reform Bill regulatory impact assessment it was acknowledged that the majority of disabled recipients lived in the social rented sector and would not be covered by the local housing allowance (LHA). It was, therefore, not appropriate to carry out a detailed disability impact assessment prior to introducing LHA. It is estimated that 5 per cent of pensioners and 10 per cent of working-age people who are disabled live in the private rented sector.

In circumstances where disabled tenants are limited in the type of property they can rent in the private sector, because they may need certain additional facilities, local authorities are able to consider the use of discretionary housing payments (DHP) to ensure that tenants can find decent accommodation that meets their need. The DHPs are entirely at the discretion of the local authority concerned, and are subject to annual cash limit. As they are administered by local authorities, the number of customers who may have applied for DHPs is not known.

The provision of extra housing space for a disabled person with live-in carers is not automatically classified as a housing need or a social care need. The LHA rate that a disabled person is entitled to would be based on the number of people who occupy the property in the same way that it is for other people.